Email viruses - which account for the majority of computer viruses - are activated when a user either clicks on a malicious link, downloads a malicious attachment or interacts in some other way with the body of an infected email and not just open email.
Is it really safe to open an email & not get a virus?
Previously few email clients allowed scripting, which made it possible to get a virus by simply opening a message but computers aren't infected just by opening emails anymore. Most viruses, Trojan horses, and worms are activated when you open an attachment or click a link contained in an email message, inshort just opening an email is safe. Viruses are commonly delivered in phishing, spam or malware emails.
Emails are essentially text or HTML documents (web pages). Just like opening a text file or web page in your browser should be safe, opening an email message should also be safe. Whether you are using Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird, or another web-based or desktop email client, opening an email – even a suspicious looking one – should be safe. However you need to beware of phishing link in emails. Read this blog if you have clicked on a phishing link in email. There are a variety of problems you could encounter with email if you accidentally opened a dangerous file attachments, or clicked on a phishing link to suspicious websites. However, just opening an email shouldn’t cause any problems.
Although it is an important component in protecting against email viruses, antivirus software alone is insufficient in combating today’s advanced attacks. Defense in depth is imperative to securing email accounts. In order to be effective, this software must be implemented as part of a comprehensive, multi-layered email security solution like EnGarde Cloud Email Security.