Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Reader Question | How did they get my e-mail?*

Disable the Preview Pane For Safer Computing & Less Spam

A recent article on spam (e-mail) prompted a reader to send in this good question,

Q: “Hi Paul –
You wrote “don’t even open e-mail from unknown sources.. doing so can/will mark your e-mail address as a “live” person, …”.
How do we delete without opening a specific email message?   Even while deleting in bulk the first email in the highlighted selections opens.  I’m using Outlook Express.  Thanks for your help!

* What is being referred to is the feature common to e-mail clients called the “Preview Pane”.”

A: Dear Reader–
You’re correct that most webmail settings, and e-mail clients, (by default) have what is called a “preview pane”, which opens the first (topmost/most recent) e-mail in your Inbox, and shows you the first few lines of the e-mail. Yes.. this will trigger whatever the spammers/hackers are using to verify receipt (such as downloading an invisible jpeg). Because of this, I always turn the Preview Pane off.oe_new
To do this in OE, click on the View menu and select Layout.
Then in the Preview Pane Properties, uncheck the “Show preview pane” checkbox.

BTW– by exploring Properties/Options/Settings/Preferences (different names for the same thing), you can disable the preview pane in every e-mail viewer.. (i.e., Thunderbird), and webmail (i.e., Hotmail, Gmail, etc).

Tip of the day: While many people find the preview window a convenient way to skim their incoming mail, using it automatically opens your machine up to security risks — especially if you are allowing HTML, and/or images, as the OE pictured above does — and tells anyone who’s interested that yes, your.name@isp.com is a valid address: suitable for spamming.
The spammers (and advertisers) collect lists of these validated addresses and sell them to each other.

I advise disabling the feature, and doing without the ’speed enhancement’ of previewing. Doing so will reduce the amount of spam you receive, improve your privacy, and close the door on one of the methods hackers can use to infect your machine.

Today’s free download: Open Office 3.0 A new version of very popular free office suite is now available. Support for Office 2007 formatting and improved PDF creation in Writer highlight the big additions for business users. A new Start Center provides a launching pad and makes it easier to switch between tools.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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March 6, 2010 - Posted by | advice, e-mail, how to, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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