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Best Practices for Avoiding Malware through Email and Internet Usage

There are several layers of security to help protect against viruses and malware. Firewalls and Antivirus programs help, but even with these security measures in place, computers are still vulnerable. It comes down to you to help keep workstations safe.
“If in doubt, do NOT click!”


  • If an email is from an unknown source, delete it. Do not open it.
  • If you receive an email from a known source but are unsure of it, contact the sender before opening the email to see if it is a legitimate email. The sender could have a virus that attached to their address book and sent out the virus to all people in the senders’ address book.
  • If an email looks like it could be from your bank, an airline, Fed Ex, etc. but you did not do business recently with them, it is likely malware or spam. Look very carefully at the email address to insure it is legitimate before clicking on it.
  • FedEx, UPS, DHL, and banks will never send you a .ZIP attachment or ask for your password. These emails are typically filled with malware and are harmful to your computer.
  • Be aware of emails that send you links to other websites. These links will be underlined and in blue. If you weren’t expecting one, do not click on it.

Here is an example of how an email might look which has potential malware:

Title: “Fed Ex International Ground Shipment”

Your order is complete. Please see the attachment for any details

If this were a legitimate notice from Fed Ex, the end of the email address should be from “” FedEx would never send this information in an attachment either. These are both giveaways that the email should be deleted.

Internet Browsing:

  • In general, when performing a search (ie: Google), the first page or two of search results that are displayed are generally legitimate websites. Avoid anything that is not on pages 1 & 2 of the search results.
  • Avoid any URL that does not end in .com, .us, .edu, .gov, or .org unless you are absolutely sure of the validity of the URL.
  • Watch out for pop ups. Never click “I agree” or “OK” on an internet pop up. Look for the red X in the upper right hand corner and close the pop up.
  • Don’t install free software unless you know it is safe. Free software is one of the top ways malware spreads.

Finally make sure you are applying Microsoft security updates as they are released. This may require a restart of your workstation. These updates are a crucial part in keeping workstations secure.

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