Guarding Against E-Mail Hacks
by Don Webb
Bewildering Stories has a high volume of e-mail, and I regularly receive suspicious-looking messages that ostensibly come from contributors or editors. I’m used to this sort of thing, but a contributor’s e-mail recently contained a virus that infected my own mail. It’s a nuisance but, apparently, no more than that.
However, not all our correspondents are familiar with such traffic. I figure a little explanation is in order.
The bogus messages may have a note appended similar to “Gmail error code: 7569 (Fri Apr 8 15:39:32 ART 2016).” If you see that, you can safely delete the message without further action.
The content of the messages may vary:
- You may see “Click here” for an undisplayed message.
- Or the mail may pretend to offer you something if you click on a mysterious link.
- Or you may get something like a “mugged abroad” message. I once got an e-mail purportedly from a friend of mine who said he’d been mugged in London and needed money. I had to laugh: I knew he wasn’t in London, and he was big enough to play center in pro basketball. Any would-be muggers would turn and run.
If you receive such a message, apply standard procedure:
Don’t open any unfamiliar links. Any link containing www.bewilderingstories.com will be okay. Our “mailto” link is also secure; any information you want to send us has to go through the Managing Editor, who is a “grey eminence” but by no means a shadowy one.
Don’t open any zipped attachments. We don’t send any, and we don’t open any we receive.
Don’t reply to the mail. The “reply-to” address may not be the same as that of the purported sender anyway.
Sorry for the aggravation. Dogs have fleas, and our pet Internet has its nuisances.
Copyright © 2016 by Don Webb
for Bewildering Stories