Two Simple Rules for Avoiding the Dangers of Email Attachments

MB900442155While email attachments are frequently used to share documents between lawyers, law firm staff, and clients, they are also one of the most common delivery mechanisms for malware. While most messages that have infected attachments will be stopped if your anti-malware software and/or spam filter are working properly and updated, some will make it through. For this reason, staff and lawyers at every firm should follow should follow these two simple rules:
1. No matter how interesting or enticing they appear to be (e.g., jokes, celebrity gossip or pictures), never open attachments from strangers.
2. No matter how interesting or enticing they appear to be, never open attachments unexpectedly sent to you by people you know.

The reason for Rule #1 should be obvious – enticing attachments from strangers usually have a malware payload. The reason for Rule #2 might be less obvious: to trick you into feeling comfortable about opening an attachment, some types of malware will send an email with an infected attachment to all the address book contacts it finds on a computer that it has just successfully infected. This is done intentionally with hope that people getting such a message will be comfortable opening the attachment as it came from someone they know – and bingo – the person opening the attachment will become infected and all their contacts will get a similar message.
Avoid the headaches of dealing with a malware infection by making sure everyone at your firm follows the above two rules.

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