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Important! Do Not Open All Email Attachments

Aug 17, 2007
Not only could people send messages to practically anyone all over the world, they can also send digital files such as pictures, sounds, and programs. However, much caution must be taken when opening such attachments because the internet is teeming with malicious minds that craft ways of inconveniencing people, or even getting something of value from them.

What are the dangers of opening email attachments without caution?

While a lot of email attachments, especially those that come from your contacts, may typically just contain innocent stuff such as pictures of your friends, the latest music from your favorite band, or spreadsheet reports from your colleagues, email attachments may also come with things that could damage your computer. Among such things are viruses and spyware.

Every day, people in the online community discover new viruses, worms, and Trojans: software packets that are designed by malicious hackers to do damage to your computer. These programs usually attach themselves to unknown files that are sent to your inbox, and when you open them, you are often unaware that you are already triggering some damage to your unit. Sometimes, seemingly innocent files come up and since they seem so harmless, you just go on and open them without worry, but a lot of such seemingly safe files can actually be very damaging.

Why do people do such a thing?

Some hackers make viruses just for the heck of it o just for laughs. Such hackers just want to prove to the world how good (or rather bad) they are about the computer. But some hackers have more motives other than making pranks. There are hackers that are out there to get something from you that they can use for criminal activities.

A lot of viruses that are distributed through email typically get access to the infected computer's list of contacts or address book to look for email addresses to which it can distribute itself to. There are viruses that can even forge your name and appear as if that you are the one sending it to your contacts. By doing this, it can replicate and spread itself all over the world to do its damage.

There are also viruses that get vital information from your computer which its creators may use for themselves. Critical data such as your credit card number, social security, and addresses, among many others may be maliciously obtained and used for crimes such as fraud or identity theft. While most of the viruses would not automatically retrieve this from your computer, they could lead you to give the information yourself, without you knowing that you are actually falling prey to those cunning malicious minds.

But are people not protected by security systems and antivirus programs?

Indeed you may get a certain level of protection from firewalls and antivirus programs, you may even get a very good level of security. However, multitudes of viruses are created each day, and there is not telling if what you receive is the latest one. Your computer might be equipped to fend of millions of viruses that have infected people in the previous days, but when you catch a new virus, the chances that your program may be able to fight it could be pretty slim.

What should then be done with such danger lurking in emails?

The most that you can do is to be cautions about your online activities, particularly when opening file attachments to the email you receive. Be very cautious when you are opening email attachments, particularly for computers that are using Microsoft Windows, because such computers are what most viruses target.

Before opening an email attachment, be sure that it comes from a trusted source. However, do not be too complacent about opening attachments from friends and colleagues because as said earlier, viruses may mimic your contact's information to make it appear that these attachments come from them.

Do not open file attachments that you did not expect to receive. If you get an unexpected email with an attachment from one of your contacts, ask them if they did send something and what is inside that file. Avoid opening attachments with file extensions such as .cmd .scr. .pif .bat and .exe, because such files are the easiest for viruses to attach to.

You can never be too careful in such an open channel as the internet. As the old people would say, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
About the Author
James Yee Owned a Web Hosting Business and shares about PC security. Protect Your PC Now!
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