How Can Opening an Email Crash My Computer?

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How Can Opening an Email Crash My Computer?

Opening an email will not crash your computer as long as you don’t open any attachments that accompany the email. Emails that specifically ask you to open the attachment should automatically serve as a red flag, since that attachment probably contains a virus or worm that will infect your computer within seconds of opening the attachment.

How Do Viruses Get Into My Computer Through an Email Attachment?

mail-1102034-mViruses are essentially computer programs written with the intent of instructing a computer’s hard drive to perform malicious actions, such as accessing personal information or deliberately disrupting a computer operating system. Viruses are self-replicating, meaning they spread from one computer to another by copying itself onto another computer’s hard drive. Often the infected user is not even aware that a virus is sending dangerous emails to everyone in their email address book until it is too late.

When a particularly destructive virus is written into an attachment and you open the attachment, the virus is immediately released into your computer’s hard drive. Since the person spreading a virus or spyware usually wants to obtain data for fraudulent purposes, it is not the intention for most viruses to disable a computer. If you open an email attachment containing a virus that ultimately gives you the “blue screen of death”, then the virus was probably not written correctly.

Recognizing “Buggy” Emails

warning-3-776465-mNever open an email attachment sent by people or companies you do not know or recognize. Attachments ending in .exe are especially suspect, since these “executable” files are installed instantly on your computer upon opening them and can erase your hard drive within minutes. Emails that insist you open an attachment to see something “amazing” or “exciting” should be deleted immediately. Also, attachments accompanying emails with subject lines that contain misspelled words, words containing symbols or words in ALL CAPS are just attempting to entice you into opening an infected attachment.

Remaining wary of email attachments and keeping your antivirus software up-to-date is the best way to guarantee your computer stays clean and never crashes due to a virus infection.

By Shawn Perry