Malicious Email Attachments

Email attachments are a way for a sender to transmit files to another user via email. In a similar way to junk mail coming in your door at home, email users regularly receive unsolicited emails from unknown senders. These emails can often contain links to malicious web sites or have attachments containing malicious software.

How do you recognise it?

A suspicious or malicious email attachment is typically received from an unknown sender. The subject line or the email body typically contains a “special one-time offer” or a “call to action” to induce the recipient to open the attachment.

What risk does it pose?

If you open a malicious attachment it could do a number of undesirable things such as installing a key logger to record your keystrokes, installing a virus, or even providing an intruder with remote access to your computer.

What to do if I opened a malicious attachment?

If you suspect that you have clicked on a malicious attachment:

• Immediately disconnect the computer from the internet.
• Scan your machine with up-to-date Anti-Virus software.
• Do not input any sensitive information into the machine until the Anti-Virus scan is passed.

How can I avoid it from happening?

• Keeping an Anti-Virus product installed and up-to-date is the best defense against malicious attachments.
• As a general rule of thumb you should never click or open an attachment which seems suspicious, in any circumstances, even if it is from someone you know.

Top Tips

• Be suspicious of any email attachments from unknown sources or with offers that seem too good to be true.
• Never open an email attachment you are unsure about.
• Keep an Anti-Virus program installed and up-to-date.