Risks of Downloading Email Attachments
Are there really that many risks of downloading email attachments?
Yes. Email attachments have become the easiest way for hackers to get their “foot in the door.”
It does not matter whether the email is from your relative or coworker.
Here’s the risks you’re taking when opening and downloading email attachments.
1. Viruses / Malware / Ransomware
Viruses are the most biggest risk of opening an email attachment. They can cause immediate problems or slowly run in the background wreaking havoc later. (sometimes months later) The amount of damage a virus can cause greatly varies. Some viruses have been known to shut down companies such as ransomware. Many companies even ban workers from opening email attachments. An email attachment that seems legitimate from a relative or coworker can have a virus on it too. Many times, a virus can hijack your email address book and disperse itself to all your contacts. These contacts see the email is “from you”, trust it and download the attachment spreading the virus further.
Related: 5 Signs you have a computer virus
Hackers love using email attachments to sneak into your computer. These email attachments install hidden files as soon as you download them. Hackers sometimes hand craft viruses to get into a system to create the most damage. There they can access your stored passwords for sites such as banking, email, and valuable data. Many use this for identity theft. Hackers are so advanced, they can use your computer at your expense and even make it unusable. Hackers have been known to research and target specific people and companies by email this is called “spear-phishing.”
Related: 7 proven ways how to protect yourself from phishing scams
3. Trojan Horses
Just when you think an attachment looks safe such as a Microsoft Word or common software attachment, it’s not. It can be a masked impostor. When you download this risky email attachment, it takes the form of .EXEs (executive files) creating a backdoor on your computer. This backdoor gives a remote user complete access to your computer and system.
Related: What are the Top Email Security Solutions?
Email Attachment Protection?
Yes! Hosted spam services scan and store your incoming email in the cloud.
Only safe emails pass through and enter your network.
This prevents the Risks of Downloading Email Attachments that can cause problems.
The current leader in email security is Proofpoint Essentials. They’re a cloud based email security solution.
We highly recommend Proofpoint Essentials to all business owners for peace of mind.
Trojan horses: https://www.symantec.com/security_response/glossary/define.jsp?letter=t&word=trojan-horse
Email Threat Protection: https://www.proofpoint.com/us/solutions/needs/threat-protection