Sometimes all you have to do is open an e-mail and malware is deployed. Many times clicking a link in a spam message will cause malware to be downloaded to your computer.
You can stay ahead of the curve by checking the message header before you open an e-mail.
Message headers is information that travels with an e-mail and is chock full of information about where an e-mail came from. It doesn’t take long to zero in on the key information. The Reply To field (if you clicked reply) is often a dead giveaway. Looking at the routing information is another.
Previous versions of Outlook had a really handy tool to help you look at the message headers by selecting a message, right-clicking, and selecting Options from the contextual dropdown menu. In Outlook 2010, Message Options are still there, you just have to create a shortcut manually.
- Go to the File Menu
- Select Options. This brings up the Outlook Options dialog box.
- Click on the Quick Access Toolbar (that’s where we will put the Message Options icon)
- In the Choose Commands From dropdown, select Commands Not in the Ribbon
- Scroll down to Message Options and select it
- Press the Add button. Message Options will now appear in the Customize Quick Access Toolbar side.
- Click OK.
You will see the new Message Options icon in your Quick Access toolbar that appears at the top of Outlook.
Now you can select a message (but don’t open it!) and then click the Message Options icon to see the message headers.
Analysis of a span header will give you an idea of how to interpret the information. If you are in the United States and see a domain name with a country extension like .cz (Czech Republic) or .ru (Russia), and the company does not have an office there, chances are very high that this is a nasty malware waiting to happen.
If you have an Exchange Server-based network, ask us about installing a spam firewall.