Boulder-WADG.org

The Boulder Colorado World Affairs Discussion Group

Meets Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at the Meadows Library

Some comments about the dangers of opening email by Marc Rochkind

It used to true that your computer could get infected if you merely opened an email, even if you never opened an attachment or clicked on a link within the email. If you're running an old system, such as Windows XP, you might be vulnerable.

But if you're running a modern Windows or Mac system, you can't get into trouble merely by viewing an email message.

So, my suggestions:

1. Run Windows 7 or later, or Mac OS X, or Chrome OS, and make sure updates are turned on. If your computer is too old to run Windows 7, it's time to replace it.

1a. If you use a phone or tablet, and you install updates as soon as they're available, you're safe.

1b. If you don't want to upgrade your system, use Google mail instead of Outlook or Apple Mail. If you do this, it doesn't matter how old your computer system is. (It's possible to use Google mail with a non-Gmail account, but setting it up requires some computer skill.)

2. Don't click on a link in an email unless you're expecting the email and know who it's from. Example: You just bought a gift card from Amazon and the email from Amazon has a link so you can print it.

3. Same as #2, but for attachments.

I doubt that the problems affecting WADG people were caused by merely viewing an email, although, as I said, it's possible. Most likely something else bad was going on, such as the computer already having been infected.

Hope this helps!