Regardless if it is your personal email or your work email, you have probably noticed an increase in the number of spam and unwanted emails being delivered to you. These messages could be harmless advertisements to malicious threats trying to obtain your login information or other sensitive data. You may also wonder why they keep re-appearing even after you have deleted the message from your inbox. One way these spammers are able to identify that you opened or read the message is by using the automatic picture download feature that your mail client may have configured. If your Outlook and Mobile Device is configured to automatically download the images, when you open the email a notification goes to the spammer informing them that you opened the email and you may be targeted more since you did.
So what can you do to protect yourself? A quick way around this is to delete any messages you don’t recognize the subject and sender. This might be not the best solution since its often to difficult to determine if the message was truly spam from the initial details. With that being said, another option we recommend is to disable the Automatic Picture Downloads in your mail client (Outlook and Mobile Device) to help limit this check in from the images in the email. Below are the steps on how this security feature can be configured within some common applications we have seen our customers use. Keep in mind, you can also apply these settings to your personal accounts to help mitigate threats; For example, Gmail has their own security options found here.
Outlook for Windows: Block Automatic Picture Downloads
Save Current View
NOTE: If someone is in your safe senders list, the pictures will continue to be downloaded for those emails. If you would like to add someone to your safe senders list, here are the steps:
Outlook for Mac: Block Automatic Picture Downloads
iPhone/iPad : Block Automatic Picture Downloads
NOTE: After this setting is disabled, you should now see a banner at the top of emails saying “This message contains unloaded images”. You can tap the Load All Images option to download the remote images if you know that the email is legitimate.
Outlook for Android : Block Automatic Picture Downloads
Samsung Mail for Andriod : Block Automatic Picture Downloads
Growing you’re knowledge with the best security practices is the strongest protection against malicious attacks.