Let me give you some tips on how to quickly and easily detect suspicious e-mail attachments. We receive so many emails every day that some can easily slip through the network. You must be on your guard at all times, especially when opening attachments.
Hackers often use email attachments to target unsuspecting users. Attachments may contain Trojans and viruses, but they can also be used to infiltrate mobile phones. They’re constantly finding clever ways to fool our automatic email security and filters into getting to our inboxes first. When they arrive in your mailbox, opening the attachment can cause major problems.
If you receive an e-mail from an unknown source, never open its attachment. Although you can read emails without hesitation, if your computer is up to date you should avoid attachments. While email service providers usually scan and remove dangerous attachments with their own virus protection, some manage to sneak in.
Even emails from supposedly reliable sources can be disguised as phishing emails designed to compromise your phone or computer with attachments.
Detection of suspicious attachments via extension
If you are viewing an email attachment, you should first consider extending it. The extension can help you define the file type of the attachment. For example, if your file ends in .jpg, it is an image. If it’s .avi, it’s video.
One extension that should normally be avoided is .exe, which runs the installation, and this program can be malicious. Although most email providers block these files, they can sometimes slip. Several other extensions to avoid are .jar, .cpl, .com, .bat, .msi, .js, .wsf and many others. If the extension seems strange to you, you should be careful.
This appendix may be malicious.
What if it’s just a desk file? Everything should be fine, but you need to take some precautions. It may contain macros, i.e. a set of instructions to perform a task. If your Office file ends with m, it contains macros. These include .docm. pptm and .xlsm. Although some secure files use macros, you should not use them unless you can verify that they come from a trusted source.
As a general rule, only open extensions that you can trust. Image files, macro-protected Office files and PDF files are generally accepted, provided you have all security updates under control.
Is this an encrypted archive?
Archive files are useful for many reasons. They allow you to compress multiple files into a single package, which simplifies shipping. However, they can also be used by hackers. If you receive an email with an archive extension such as .7z, .rar or .zip and you need a password, you may be suspicious.
Why are they password protected? It encrypts the archive so that it cannot be accessed by a virus scanner. You can do it to hide the malware. Of course it can also be because it contains confidential information, so you never know. Again, before you open it, make sure it comes from a reliable source.
Who is the sender?
As we should know, you can usually trust someone who sends you affection if you know them. If you don’t know a person, it could be malware. However, someone you know may be infected themselves, and the malware will send you a file with that person’s name to inspire trust, so be careful. If someone you know sends you a Mac Office file without telling you, be careful.
You should contact this person to find out if they have sent a suspicious attachment. If they’ve done that, you can open them, but if they haven’t, you throw away their e-mail and tell them they’ve been hacked.
What’s in the email?
Read the letter before opening the attachment. If it turns out to be a reliable source, but the content does not look like something they could send, it could be a sign that it is malware. This is usually done by phishing scammers who disguise themselves as a bank or website with your payment details and ask you to enter your details because your account could be compromised.
These letters can be badly written, with typos and uncomfortable sentences everywhere. If you receive an email from Amazon asking you to download and then execute something, it may be a sign of fraud. Most businessmen wouldn’t force you to do that.
If your email comes from a major service provider such as Yahoo!, Gmail or Hotmail, they will scan your attachments and alert you to potential threats so you don’t want to open them. Of course, the email may claim that the antivirus warning is due to a bug or something else, but this is clearly a lie.
If you have still downloaded the attachment and your own antivirus program tells you not to do so, listen. Apparently, they’re discovering something bad. However, sometimes your antivirus program doesn’t say anything. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe, because the antivirus software ruined everything. Use your best judgment when opening files.
Be careful and be safe!
When looking at an attachment, you have to be skeptical about its contents and believe that it can be dangerous. Never open an attachment unless you are sure it comes from a reliable source and you expect it to. See also appendix. PDF files, images and videos should be fine, as long as you have updated them. Still, you should take a little walk.
Usually your email service allows you to view attachments without downloading them, so use them to your advantage. Take a look at the content and if everything seems normal, download it. While we shouldn’t be afraid of everything we get, we should be vigilant.
Read it: Analysis of e-mail headers
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