by David Gracey
On a nice, late summer afternoon, my next door neighbor, I’ll call him “Barry”, heard a loud, ear-splitting shriek from his wife, “Amanda,” who was out back in the driveway. “Barry, get out here!” she screamed as she came flying through the back door into the kitchen. “There’s a snake in the garbage!” she said, out of breath. Barry, being the brave, strong man of the house, grabbed the nearest weapon he could find to do battle with the reptile.
Since Barry outsources his yard work he was short of shovels, pick axes, rakes or other tools that could slay such an animal. So he picked up his son’s Lacrosse, long stick D-pole (you don’t want to get too close to these snakes) and prepared for the fight. Once he reached the area of the garbage can, sure enough, there was the snake, coiled up near the base of the big green hurbie-curbie.
Barry quickly sent the snake on into the next life by repeatedly bludgeoning it with the D-pole. One can never be too sure that the snake won’t jump back up and bite you after it has been pummeled. (He ended up having to buy a new head for it the next day at Dick’s Sporting Goods). The six inch copperhead was no more.
As Barry was telling this story to me, it dawned on him that there is a connection to the IT world. Threats are everywhere. What kind of viruses and threats are lurking in your email trash can? That is, how many of the emails, both legitimate and spam, you have received and deleted over the years could contain viruses, links to bad websites or other threats that could harm your computer? They are just lying there, ready to strike. You need a D-pole.
The good news (with our blogs, there is always good news) is this is an easy problem to remedy. It just takes a bit of habit building.
- Delete emails you don’t need. Unless it’s really important, there is no need to keep hundreds of emails in your Inbox. (My wife doesn’t even know how many emails are in her Inbox, and it doesn’t bother her. But that’s a blog for another day)
- Empty your recycle bin regularly. Once a month is a good frequency.
- Set some rules. If you don’t want to take care of it manually, you can easily enable some automatic rules to keep your email clean. In Outlook 2010, go to FILE > INFO and click on the Cleanup Tools button for several good options.
Threats are everywhere, both in the real world and the virtual world. They can do damage so it’s best to build habits that minimize your risks.