Friday, August 17, 2007

Use webmail wisely

How to use web-based email accounts safely

Webmail, such as Hotmail or Yahoo! mail, means using an internet browser to read your mail. It allows you to stay in touch using different machines. However, it needs the same caution as a desktop mail system and it has a few security risks of its own.

General webmail safety tips

Don’t lose your old email messages

Remember that some webmail clients may delete email messages if you exceed a storage quota or don’t access your account for an extended period of time. If your archive of email messages is important, consider a paid-for service or using a webmail service without these restrictions.

Block HTML format emails

Some emails are formatted using plain text but some are sent using HTML, like web pages. These can contain pictures, clickable web links and, potentially, viruses and other nasties. Consequently, if your webmail client allows it, block HTML-formatted emails.

You should be able to view this content on an email-by-email basis depending on whether you trust or know the sender or not.

In Hotmail, click on Options then Mail Display Settings. Then click on the Automatically suppress Internet content in messages button and then the Warn me whenever I click a link that is not known to be safe button. Finally, click OK to save the changes.

HTML content is automatically suppressed in Google Mail.

If you use another webmail client, look for similar security options and enable them.

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