Frequently Asked Question - Can you get a virus from opening an email?

Getting a virus from just opening an email is thankfully an incident of past. An Outlook vulnerability allowed emails to run JavaScript code and infect your computer and some people still believe that just opening an email is dangerous.

Can you get a virus from just opening an email?

Although you can no longer face the impact of a virus by opening emails with malicious content, these messages can still inflict detrimental damage on individuals, employees, organizations, and clients. Let’s discuss the basics of email viruses and how you can approach messages carefully.

What is a Virus?

When an individual opens a spoofed email, there could be links with malicious codes that can infect user computers, systems, and servers. A spoofed email refers to a compromised email address, altered subject header, or misleading links that cybercriminals utilize in a phishing email attack. An email virus is a damaging type of malicious coding that can install itself in a victim’s system once the user downloads or opens the attachment.

Can Opening an Email Be Dangerous?

Emails can be compared to text or HTML documents and web pages, as they are just as safe to access as those files. Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird, and any other web-based or desktop email client have made it safe to open even the most suspicious-looking messages.

Can You Get Malware from Opening an Email?

email malwareIn the past, opening an email would have been enough for threat actors to install malware, ransomware, and other email viruses. For example, Outlook cybersecurity vulnerabilities permit hackers to run JavaScript and infect computers after a victim opens the message.

However, email protection software is now in place to prevent phishing email attacks from damaging a server just by opening the message. Scripting has enabled users to approach emails and conduct virus scans safely before moving forward with threat mitigation.

What is Scripting?

Scripting is programming that automates a business task so employees can focus on other demands. In email security, organizations use scripting to automatically run email virus scans and other vulnerability analyses on incoming messages.

Unfortunately, with scripting in place for most companies, cybercriminals have started to develop tactics that involve convincing users to open viruses, Trojan Horses, and worms through downloaded or installed attachments in an email. These types of email attacks are more prominent now since opening an email alone is no longer a risk.

Is Antivirus Software Enough to Prevent Email Threats?

Stay aware of phishing email attacks through suspicious links and attachments in an email. You could face damaging impacts if you accidentally opened spam emails, dangerous file attachments, or click on phishing links.

Installing antivirus software on your server could be helpful, but such components are insufficient in combating modern attacks. Therefore, you must consider each email carefully, looking for spoofed email addresses, altered subject headers, and urgent message requests that could indicate you are facing an email threat. It is critical to secure email accounts with a defense-in-depth email protection software solution like Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security.

Can I Scan Email for Viruses?

Every email platform has its approach to email security, so check with your provider to see if you have the scripting and email virus scanning implemented into your server.

Does Gmail Allow Scripting?

Gmail does not support virus scans and scripting.

Does Outlook Allow Scripting?

You can set up Outlook to perform scripts, but this requires configuring the server to abide by certain scripting rules.

Does Yahoo! Mail Allow Scripting?

Yahoo! Mail cybersecurity platforms have resolved their Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) cybersecurity vulnerabilities, as hackers had manipulated these weaknesses to execute account takeovers. Fortunately, there was no data loss due to these email security breaches, as security professionals patched the SQL injection hole following its discovery by Jouko Pynnonen.

Next Steps: How Can I Protect My Business Against Email Viruses?

cybersec tipsPreventing phishing email attacks, malware ransomware, Business Email Compromise, and other email threats requires various best practices for email security. Here are our email protection suggestions for detecting and combating the latest phishing email viruses:

  • Install signature-based detection, malware URL scanners, and antivirus software.
  • Test your servers with sandboxing malware, data mining, and heuristics analysis.
  • Quarantine email links and files that contain malicious coding and software.
  • Ensure you patch all email security issues to prevent vulnerabilities from permitting a cybercriminal to enter the server.
  • Hold email security awareness programs to teach employees the best email protection practices that can keep your organization safe.
  • Employ third-party software like our Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security solution, which can act as your IT team so your employees can focus on daily operations rather than their online risk.

Guardian Digital also offers a wide array of email security articles, resources, and a weekly newsletter to help you better understand what is required to secure email against viruses and other malicious threats.

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