Never open Email attachments in DOC, PDF or ZIP format!

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Why You Should Never Open Email Attachments!

They look tempting, don’t they? Underlined words signaling a link that takes you somewhere you really want to go. What harm could it pose to click on it?

Plenty. And you will open your wallet wide if you must have your system de-bugged, so save yourself from expense and stress by putting yourself on an email-opening diet. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Genie in the bottle?

Oh, yes indeed. But the genie in the cyberspace bottle is no benevolent spirit eager to grant your wishes. Links invite unwanted spirits instead: Trojans, malware, viruses, spear phishing and other surprises that can turn your world upside down.

This includes links brandishing innocent tags like DOC, PDF or ZIP. Bad dudes go to great lengths to hide their piracy and one of the best ways to do that is to add tags you are most likely to open because you use them every day.

But, I got the mail from a friend!

Of course, you did; a friend who may have had his address book stolen by some shark who is drinking a pot of coffee as he plunders friends’ and relatives’ addresses looking for bites.

Yes, you have software installed on your system that protects you from invasions, but your fingers are as much to blame for malware plantation as hackers. As a society, we’re quick to respond to links. Do yourself a favor and get out of the habit!

The Big 8

What can you invite into your system if you click on a malicious link? A scary list of culprits that seems to multiply daily, but if you become familiar with the big 8, you’re ahead of the game:

1. Malware
. Short for malicious software, this is an expansive category; software capable of depositing worms, spyware, Trojan horses, viruses and rootkits guaranteed to mess up your computer big time.

2. Trojan horses. Forget Helen of Troy. This infection can run roughshod over your system grabbing your passwords, penetrating your webcam and settling down to watch you live your life.

3. Viruses. Like their medical counterparts, viruses crawl through systems and go about deleting, corrupting and stealing data. A virus can erase your entire hard drive. Talk about feeling sick!

4. Worms. These software programs are like an advancing army, copying themselves as they move from one system to another so stealthily, you won’t have a clue it’s “wormed its way” into your life until it’s too late.

5. Spam. Of all the threats on this list, this one is the most benign. Just keep your fingers off your keyboard and ignore that link to protect yourself from a malicious software installation.

6. Phishing. This is the preferred software of cyber criminals because it’s so effective and insidious. You receive what looks like a regular email message from a familiar address, but in fact, someone’s trolling for your private information by pretending to be legitimate.

7. Spyware. If this software finds its way to your hard drive, crooks can read every keystroke you make. Since parents have begun to use this type of software to keep tabs on their kids, it’s widely available.

8. Bots. Think Zombie apocalypse played out on your system! Software turns loose a bot created by a hacker and it roams your system in search of mischief. Even Google and Twitter have fallen victim to bots; if they don’t see them coming, you might not either. ‘Nuff said?