The ongoing pandemic has proven very beneficial for cybercriminals as we continue to see numerous phishing attacks that trick people into opening malicious links and attachments. Today we shall be discussing the complete process of what to do if you open a suspicious email attachment by mistake and how you can prevent yourself from severe harm.
With the rising popularity of the Internet and social media, Phishing emails have become an unavoidable threat in the digital age. Our best protection against such fraudulent emails is to be self-aware and alert at all times while responding to any digital communication.
Steps to follow if you have opened a suspicious email attachment
If you ever come across an email that seems kind of sketchy or generating a sense of urgency or asking for sensitive details, do not hesitate to click the “Delete” button immediately. A legitimate organization will never ask you to share your sensitive and personal information via insecure channels such as email, text, or pop-up messages.
One of the most common types of phishing attacks is through an email with attachments that are infected with viruses. If somehow you have opened such an attachment, do not panic. Just keep your calm and follow the below steps to ensure the safety of both your device and your data.
Step 1: Check your PC for viruses
The most crucial step after you have opened a suspicious email attachment is to check your device for viruses. Disconnect your device from the Internet (to prevent any malware spread) and run a complete antivirus scan on your computer.
After the scan completes, follow the steps provided by your Antivirus software to remove or quarantine any suspicious files that are found. If you are still unsure and want a proper checkup of your system, you should definitely take it to a professional.
Step 2: Delete the email
Although simply keeping the email in your inbox would not do any harm to your system, but it is preferred to delete the suspicious email along with any attachments that have been downloaded and opened. This way you can ensure that the same suspicious attachment is never opened again even by mistake.
Step 3: Use Malwarebytes
Many times, if you open a suspicious email attachment, the malware might enter your system and stay there in the form of legitimate files. Most of the antivirus software are not able to detect such malware, but Malwarebytes is an anti-malware software that can detect such malware and remove them by doing a deep analysis of your system. It is a free-to-use software and compatible with all systems.
Step 4: Reset Passwords
If a malware has entered your system through the email attachment, it might gain sensitive information, including online usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other identifying information.
Thus, if you feel that you have opened a suspicious email attachment, immediately change your online credentials and never make the mistake of having the same username and password for multiple accounts since it just makes it much easier for criminals to steal data from multiple accounts.
Step 5: Backup your data
If the email attachment consists of a virus that infects your files, you shall lose all your precious data. Thus, it is always suggested to keep a copy of your data so that if you have a copy of your data if you lose it somehow. Keeping a backup of your data in secure locations such as the cloud is considered to be the best practice here.
These were some of the immediate remedies that you can do in order to minimize the effect of the suspicious email attachment.
Frequently Asked Questions: What to do if you open a suspicious email attachment?
What is malware?
Malware refers to any computer software which is designed with the intention to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network.
Can you get a virus by just opening an email?
No, you cannot get a virus by simply opening and looking at an email. All suspicious emails contain infected links and attachment which are used to spread the virus. So, until and unless you don’t click on a link or open an attachment you are safe.
How to prevent malware?
Preventing malware from entering your system is totally depended on your awareness. You should keep your software updated especially your Antivirus program. Also, always think twice before opening any email link or attachment and refrain from opening suspicious links and attachments.