Is opening spam email risky?

cosimo, May 20, 10:48am
Everyone knows (or should know) not to click the links in an email unless you are certain it's from a reliable source. But does even opening the email create any risk? For example, if the spam sender has a read receipt, will opening it be enough to confirm they have found an active address?

-bookzone-, May 20, 11:06am
I disable the automatic 'image display' option, as well as the 'display HTML' option, in my email accounts, which should remove any risks associated with opening suspect emails.

You can toggle between the options to view said info, if so desired.

king1, May 20, 11:37am
not normally, these days all email clients block external sources (images etc, gmail enables them but is done in a 'safe' way), and read receipts need to be OK'd before they are sent. These are default behaviours as long as you haven't overridden them.

lythande1, May 20, 12:36pm
If running Windows, yes it sure can be. Sepends what is at the other end, some can do downloads when you do, viruses or just browser hijackers.

If running Linux, you can still get browser annoyances, but mainly nothing happens cause the code is wrong for the o/S and the way Linux works.

But I recommend never doing it, whatever o/s you have,

ianab, May 20, 3:45pm
There is a risk if the spammer has found a new bug in the OS that lets them run a script inserted in a email.

Just opening the email "shouldn't" allow a script or program to run, yet it continues to happen. Then the bug that allows it gets patched, until they find a new one.

The risk is small if your system is all up to date, but it's not zero.

black-heart, May 20, 6:19pm
why would you want to?

cosimo, May 20, 7:58pm
I don't. But others say you are safe as long as you don't click any links. I am trying to clarify whether I am being paranoid or appropriately cautious.

friendly_prawn, May 20, 10:46pm
i often open spam mail. Done it for decades. My system is always well up to date and I often run scans with various anti-virus anti-malware software. Im wary of clicking any links Im unsure of though. That is where the real danger lies.

I have never had a problem with opening spam emails yet. Your isp should be sorting out anything dodgy before it gets to you any way. These days a virus getting through via email is very rare. I haven't seen one getting past the isp in a very long time. I think you are safe opening spam. Its the links I would be worrying about.


richard112, May 21, 10:01pm
We run a tiny newspaper registered as such. About 30% of emails we receive are spam of some sort. We have to open most of them to check whether they are useful or not. It's several years since we had a problem. So that's about 15-20 spam emails per day. Just think before click.

gerry90, May 22, 10:28am
Our inbox has become the target for up to 20 spam emails a day just lately. I am looking for a 'free spam filter' currently but there are so many tricks. Just when I think I've got a good one I find its only free for 30 days, even though the heading was 'FREE and never runs out. I have free Avast virus protection but their 'free spam filter' is only if you get the premium virus protection which costs.

nice_lady, May 22, 10:30am
get Mailwasher
It's got a FREE version
It's created by a Kiwi !
It works very well.

nice_lady, May 22, 10:31am

gerry90, May 22, 10:48am
thank you nice lady, I will. . just went through the procedure again and again it tells me I have to purchase a licence after 30 days. Am I going silly?
Mrs G

nice_lady, May 22, 10:53am
What proceedure ?
Installation of Mailwasher ?

king1, May 22, 12:50pm
maybe installed the pro version

nice_lady, May 22, 12:55pm well that's the link I downloaded the program file from after install I got this little message in the lower panel of the main screen but of course all you need to do is completely ignore it and carry on !

theres no costs involved.

gerry90, May 22, 8:13pm
Sorry for delay, had problems. I did begin the download and there's a description of all the details on the free one, and on the list it tells me that after 30 days free trial I'll need to buy a licence. I used the link you gave me, and chose the free one. I'll try to get a copy of that screen.

gerry90, May 23, 7:01pm
All good, installed and going great. The bit about licence is there but I thought it applied to the free one when of course it doesnt at all. Thanks nice lady.

nice_lady, May 23, 7:03pm
Ah finally.

Mailwasher has for many years had a free version - and they still do.

nice_lady, May 23, 7:06pm
Use the right click on the mouse (1 single click) on any email in the list to get some easy block etc functionalities, also goto settings/spam tools/filters/add filter and you can setup some really GOOD auto blacklist/block rules.

gerry90, May 24, 5:32pm
I am so grateful to you for your help. Thank you.

namtak, Nov 21, 2:11am
Nah go right ahead. What could possibly go wrong?

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