What are the risks of opening an email attachment?

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The risk is the spread of malware. Malware is anything that affects the functionability of your system or executes commands that are not wanted by the user. You can get anything from viruses to trojans to worms, spyware, adware, grayware. The best way to help avoid these dangerous attachments is to really chose your email account wisely. Yahoo is the best free email because it scans all of the files you want to send as attachments and before you open them it scans them again. This helps to stop the spread of email. The next is to use common sense. As your self am I suppose to get this email. also ask your self these questions. was I expecting it, do I know the sender, does me getting it help me in any way and why would I need the email and the attachment

Email viruses and worms are common. If you've not received one, chances are you will. Here are steps you can use to help you decide what to do with every email message with an attachment that you receive. You should only read a message that passes all of these tests.
  1. The Know test: Is the email from someone that you know?
  2. The Received test: Have you received email from this sender before?
  3. The Expect test: Were you expecting email with an attachment from this sender?
  4. The Sense test: Does email from the sender with the contents as described in the Subject line and the name of the attachment(s) make sense? For example, would you expect the sender - let's say your Mother - to send you an email message with the Subject line "Here you have, ;o)" that contains a message with attachment - let's say AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs? A message like that probably doesn't make sense. In fact, it happens to be an instance of the Anna Kournikova worm, and reading it can damage your system.
  5. The Virus test: Does this email contain a virus? To determine this, you need to install and use an anti-virus program. That task is described in Task 1 - Install and Use Anti-Virus Programs of "Home Computer Security."

You should apply these tests - KRESV - to every piece of email with an attachment that you receive. If any test fails, toss that email. If they all pass, then you still need to exercise care and watch for unexpected results as you read it.
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