We all face it before; I am very sure. That x number of unread emails in the junk/spam mailbox. Very tempting to find out what it is, yet very scared to do that.
This might seem like a risky move but for me, I open it anyway. The reason because I have once been told by a cybersecurity expert that, as long as we don’t click on any attachments, links and all, we are safe. Although they can track if we open the email or not, they can’t inject any virus to us. Well, that was what I am told, but is it really true?
Not to say that I don’t trust my friend, but my web safety is my responsibility, so it is best for me to study this matter on my own. Below are my findings.
Is opening Spam mail safe?
The answer is yes, to a certain extent. Just view the email won’t actually bring much damage, as long as the person is wise enough to differentiate which is a genuine email and which is a phishing email. But if one decided to open an attachment or click on a link, there is a high chance of getting a virus or hack. The reason behind is simple, the trojan horse, malware, or any virus will be required someone to click on it to activate. So, as long as we don’t do that, it’s technically safe. Also, it is advisable to view email using plain text option instead of HTML. Just to be sure.
It was a different story last time
Last time, emails are allowed to contain HTML code. What this means is that hacker can put some code to run whenever you open the email. This is a security flaw that affected many people as although email client can filter spam, but there will always be a missing case.
What to do to make ourselves safe when opening an email?
Well, there are many things else that we should do to make sure we are safe when opening an email. Below are few
Do not open an unknown attachment
Suspiciously attachment should not be open, let alone attachment from an unknown email. It’s more to the cybersecurity culture of a company because although the email you received is from your colleague, there are still risk that their device is being compromised. So, if it looks suspicious to you, don’t open first. Reach out to your colleague and get them to confirm if they have sent you the attachment. Of course, it is wise to not open any .exe file as usually, these kinds of file come with a virus.
Links, just don’t click it
Again, if it looks suspicious, don’t click it. It does not make sense if your CEO sent you a link telling you that it is funny and ask you to view it (other than your CEO is playful and often do this kind of thing).
Keep yourself updated
Whatever it is, one must make sure the mail client, web browser, and operating system are always updated. Usually, updates will come with the latest and safest security features, and outdated software will result in some very nasty consequences. So, keep yourself updated for the sake of cybersecurity.
Antivirus is a must
It can’t save you from everything but at least it helps to filter out those common ones. Plus, usually, antivirus software is the first to know about the latest virus and will immediately rectify it. So, get a good one and stay protected.
Spam mail is harmless to a certain extent. What we need to make sure is that the cybersecurity culture of the company is right. Cybersecurity awareness course is one of the ways to build the right culture that can handle spam mail well.