Can opening an email (in Gmail) plant a virus on the computer

gmailspam-preventionvirus

Gmail recommends sending the full message header of a spam email to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov. Source

However, in order to get the "full header" you need to open the email Source

My question is: can opening the email give me a virus??

Best Answer

  • The short answer is: Yes.

    Using software to interact with untrusted data is inherently risky. There are all kinds of software problems from browser bugs to image processing bugs, and there are very naughty people out there. Once upon a time I made a statement that image files were just data and weren't at all risky w/r/t malicious software. At the time I was right. That was a long time ago.

    You've got to balance the risks versus the rewards. Reporting spam to the FTC might be a worthwhile reward to balance the risks involved; I won't tell you it isn't.

    The likelihood of being infected by looking at the source of a suspicious email using Google is relatively low, but the possibility exists.

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