Can you get malware by merely opening e-mails?

I open up spam in my inbox but I don't click on any links or open any attachments. I just open the e-mail message itself. Can I get any viruses or trojans from doing so?

8 Answers

  • Trish
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Best Answer

    Yes you certainly can, I never open spam emails, unless it`s something I`m expecting that`s gone into spam by mistake.


    For those mistakenly saying you need to click a link in the email to become infected, this isn`t true.

    Sometimes merely opening the email is enough to flood your computer with viruses.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Certainly, under the correct conditions.

    If your Windows OS is left in 'stock' configurations, chances are you've got all kinds of stuff enabled (to give you that 'rich Internet experience') which would include 'active scripting'; Adobe Flash' and who knows what else.

    These items have far reaching, powerful functions, which the bad guys know most Windows users are unaware of, and promptly take advantage of.

    As some above answers imply, never open unknown mail; and in reality, all mail should be opened in a "sandbox" in order to deflect malware sent by your friends compromised system.

    "Sandboxie" has this capacity, but I think it's confined to browsers, or perhaps on a limited time offer kind of thing.

    (With Linux, you don't have nearly the Windows paranoia from these unknowns)

  • 9 years ago

    It's a simple as this..

    if you're using something like outlook that will not download content unless you authorize it, then you can not get infected by simply clicking on the email, and previewing it...

    The problem is with the providers that will automatically download the content when clicked on it..

    If i'm not mistaken, not even hotmail will do that now.

  • Mike S
    Lv 7
    9 years ago can't get infected by opening spam e-mails...but you can get infected if you click on any links or attachments that are with that e-mail....Most AV products have a right click built in to the Explorer settings that will allow you to scan the link and the attachment for viruses......and also your AV product has a inbound/outbound mail scanner......but just to be safe....if you don't know who it from or say anthing like "congratulations" or "need your help"....those are probabably Nigerian Scam letters...just delete them without opening....and also if it says (NO SUBJECT) delete that one also...that is a Viagra scam going around...

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  • 9 years ago

    In theory yes, there is at least one way I can think of where a malicious application can be dropped into your system by simply opening the E mail. Why would you open this crap anyway?

  • 9 years ago

    In that case its not entirely possible for the malware to attack your pc but in some cases its documented. With the current security innovations its impossible to get any malware without opening those links or attachments.

  • 9 years ago

    yes, you can get malware, or trojan just opening email.

    examples: if you remeber ILOVEYOU, NIMDA trojans had infected 100,000 machines in matter of 24 hours. when unsuspected people had opened that email and infected their computers.

  • 9 years ago

    as long as you're not using an ancient version of windows outlook, you're fine

    I also suggest using a good email provider, such as gmail. they have a very good spam filter.

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