Protecting Your PC From Malware: Attachments

Protecting Your PC From Malware: Attachments

Protecting Your PC From Malware: Attachments

When thinking about what can be done to protect your PC from Malware, specifically by looking at e-mail you receive, there are a number of things to look at. In the last post on this topic, we discussed links in e-mail and how to hover over the links to see what web address it really was linking to.  This post will discuss attachments in e-mail.

Attachments in e-mail come in all different types, from picture files to text documents to presentations and many others. There are some specific types of attachments to look out for to protect your PC.

  • .zip – This is a very common file type used in e-mail to compress more than one file into a “zipped” file so it can be more easily sent. There is nothing inherently bad about zip files, but the key is to look for e-mail you receive that contains an attachment with a .zip file extension from someone you don’t know or even someone you do know. Often times, people we know will get an infection on their computer that automatically sends out e-mail messages to all of their contacts. You may receive an email from a close friend or family member, but pay close attention to the message text. If the message text is blank or some sort of gibberish, you certainly do not want to open any attachment on that e-mail. Contact them with a direct message or phone call to verify what it was they sent. They may not be aware that their computer has been compromised.
  • .exe – This file type is an extremely common file found on Windows computers. It is an executable file and basically is a program designed to run some task. Most e-mail clients will not allow someone to send or even receive an exe file, if by some chance one does come your way, be sure not to open or run it. Taking the same level of caution with this message as with the above would be recommended.
  • .pdf – “Wait!” you say.  “That is a PDF file normally opened with Adobe Reader. What harm could there be in this type of file?” People who write malware are quite intelligent and are good at finding security loopholes even in the products we use on a regular basis. There have been many instances where individuals have embedded malware programs or files inside a PDF. As is the theme with these statements, use caution when dealing with e-mail from senders you do not recognize and pay close attention to messages from those you do.

The best thing you can do to protect your PC is to be aware of what you do with your computer. Don’t just open every attachment from every e-mail you receive. Take a moment to verify the sender as someone you know and exercise caution especially towards those you do not know.

Keep your PC updates current.  Pay particularly close attention to Windows updates, Java updates, and Adobe updates.  Whenever you see that any of these are available, install them at your earliest convenience. Always use a good anti-virus and anti-malware program to keep it running in tip-top shape. If you need a recommendation on products for your business not only to protect the PCs, but also to stop the spam from getting to your inbox in the first place, contact BEMA and we will be happy to help.


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