As vital as email is, it has some ugly sides. In addition to spam and phishing, one more threat associated with it is email bombing. In this article we’ll discuss what email bombing is and how to protect oneself from being attacked with an email bomb.
What Is Email Bombing?
According to Wikipedia, email bombing is “a form of net abuse consisting of sending huge volumes of email to an address in an attempt to overflow the mailbox or overwhelm the server where the email address is hosted in a denial-of-service attack.”
As you see from the definition, fortunately email bombing is very resource-intensive and as a result it is more difficult to implement than a spam campaign, for example. Also, unlike spam and especially phishing, email bombers gain only satisfaction and rarely money, which coupled with its high resource demands, makes it a less popular choice for online criminals.
In fact, in your lifetime you might never become a victim of an email bombing campaign, while you can’t avoid phishing and spam. This is good news for sure but still it won’t hurt to know how to protect yourself against email bombing.
How to Protect Yourself Against Email Bombing
The following lays out what you can do to protect yourself from email bombing.
1. Choose a Reliable Email Service Provider
If your email provider has done their homework to prevent email bombing on a network level, ninety-nine percent of the job is done. If they haven’t, there is still something you can do, but it’s not much. Therefore, it’s vital to go with a good provider – one that has a good spam filter, reliable servers, and competent staff to deal with such an attack.
2. Be Careful Who You Give Your Email To
In order to get an email bomb, an email bomber needs to have your email address. As with spam and phishing, just be careful whom and where you give your email address. It will help if you have multiple email addresses for different purposes – e.g. work, friends, banking, shopping, etc. – so if an email address of yours gets compromised, the damage will be narrowed down to only one aspect of your life.
3. Report the Attack
Your provider might have already discovered the suspicious activity in your Inbox, but if they haven’t, file a report to notify them. They might be able to stop the attack immediately at server level.
4. Check Your Online Banking Accounts
One of the ugliest sides of email bombing is that it could be used as a cover as a diversion tactic to distract your attention so that you don’t notice an important email – for instance, a notification about a withdrawal from an account of yours. So if you become a victim of online bombing, check your online banking accounts immediately for any suspicious activity. If there is a breach, the sooner you discover it, the better the chances to minimize damage.
Though it is certainly not pleasant to become a victim of email bombing, for you as an individual email bombing isn’t as much of an issue as for your email provider. Aside from making illegitimate payments from your online banking accounts, the worst consequence from an email bomb is that you can remain without the email account for a while. If you have other email accounts or other ways to be contacted, this isn’t the end of the world.
Email bombing is a bigger worry for your email provider because a bomb targeted at your mailbox can crash their servers; though with today’s advanced defense mechanisms, it’s not very likely a single email bomb to one mailbox will crash the entire network – the system is more foolproof than this!