Re: Attachments in emails


That may be to a poingt and under certain conditions.  But generalizing is misleading.  I can think of one or two examples where it is safer to download a file.  Let’s say you have a Word attachment that has some sort of malicious code that may use Word to infect your computer such as malicious macros.  Some macros are malicious, others’ aren’t, but malicious macros in a Word document is a common technique to infect a computer when someone opens an attached malicious Word document. 
To be infected in this way, you would first have to have Word set to run macros automatically.  In most cases, Word doesn’t do so by default.  I don’t know when it may.  Or you would have to tell it to when opening this document.  But if Word is set to run them, then it would do so if you open the attachment directly or if you save it first.  From the very little I’ve read, the statement is made that in most cases it doesn’t automatically run macros.  So its better not to take the chance unless you know when it will and won’t.  To avoid the rissk, you would save the attachment and open it in Wordpad.  Wordpad can’t run macros and I doubt it is capable of running malicious code of any kind.  So in that sense, if you know enough to do these things and you are unsure of an attachment, that would be safer.  I would say to open any Worde file you receive as an attachment in Wordpad unless you are sure it is safe.  So it would be safer to download the attachment first, then open it in Wordpad.
Being attached to the Internet is irrelevant.  You are attached to the Internet anyway.  If a malicious attachment wants to use the Internet to take malicious actions, it will do so, whether you open it as a saved file or whether you open the attachment directly if you open it in a program that can be made to take malicious actions whether you download the file first or not.  In other words, the safety advantage is that if you download the file first, you can open it in a safer program. 
So I agree that if you know certain things, that a lot of people don’t, and if you do them, it is safer to download files.  But if you save a file and open it as you would open the file if you just opened the attachment, it is no safer. 
I’m discussing this both because I think the statement that it is safer to download files is so general that it is misleading.  Also, people may thing that they are being safer just because they download an attachment before opening it.  That isn’t necessarily true and may give some people more confidence and they may be less careful about opening attachments.  It is only safer to download an attachment if you do certain specific things such as in the Word example I gave or if you have a program without real time protection and you run it through that program.  If you have an antivirus and/or antimalware program with real time protection, that program will analyze the file no matter how you open it.  But you are safer if you do have another program without realtime protection if you download the file, then run it through that program before opening it. 

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2021 3:58 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Attachments in emails
Hi all,

Gene, it is more dangerous to open a file while it is still on the web.
If you download it, you have more control over it.  If you open it from
your email, no matter who sends it, even if it is your mother, you're
connected to the net while you're viewing the file.  this is not good. 
I always save attachments.

Ann P.

Ann K. Parsons
Portal Tutoring
EMAIL:  akp@...
Author of The Demmies:
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Skype: Putertutor

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost."

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