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Recognizing malicious emails

It would be a foolish thing for you to believe that every email you’ve ever received has gone through your email security filter before opening it. The risk of getting a malicious email is high enough that EVEN if you received an email from a “reputable” company or someone from your contact list (a friend for example), you should always beware of this kind of harmful virus that could easily come attached on a usual email thread. Some of the malicious emails might be obvious at first sight, and some of them are a little harder to recognize. That’s why we’re providing you with some basic safeguards you should practice before opening your email messages.

What are malicious email attachments?

Email attachments are the best way to share files with other users and often are one of the most common ways of transferring data. But sometimes, they can be unfriendly emails and come as a so called, junk email, or unwanted emails. These emails are usually received from unknown senders and may contain links to malicious web sites or have harmful attachments that contain malicious software. Keep in mind that even if the email comes from someone you know, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe, because these kind of emails could be fake, and might only appear to have come from someone you trust.

How to recognize malicious email viruses?

A suspicious email attachment, as mentioned before, is normally received from an unknown sender. As for the subject or the email body you will usually find a “call to action” button or some special offer that should motivate you open the attachment.DO NOT open the attachments and DO NOT reply to the email. Delete it immediately!

Inspired eLearning made an infographic that could be very useful with all the information it offers. On the image below, you can see the anatomy of the malicious emails and therefore, learn how to recognize them and prevent unnecessary future trouble.


Risks of opening these emails

If you open any infected email that you received (accidentally or intentionally), it could cause you some technical problems such as installing a virus or a keylogger (to record your keystrokes). They are made to trick you into clicking on the links in the email that will lead you to untrustedwebsites where they can get their malicious programs on your PC and once it’s installed, it can easily monitor your online activity.

General tips:

  • Install software that will keep your PC safe all the time, in order to defend against malicious attachments
  • NEVER click on a link or open an attachment that looks suspicious to you, even if it’s from someone you know
  • DO NOT trust links that are in emails you receive
  • DON NOT reply to an untrusted email
  • DO NOT use the phone numbers in the emails
  • Remember to check it out before you click on it!

Have you ever had a problem with this kind of email before?

Are you careful when opening your emails?