Email Attachments Are Trouble

Far too frequently our willingness to open email attachments – leads to malware infections.–PC Pitstop.

Email Attachments Are Trouble

By Leo Notenboom

This week, a report about the most common vectors for data breaches and related issues was released.

You and I are the weakest link.

For at least one large segment of malware attack, it’s our propensity to download and open email attachments that gets us into trouble.

A couple of scary numbers from that report: 1 in 10 people will download and open an attachment attached to phishing email or spam. The average time between a phishing email being sent and the first victim taking the bait is 22 seconds.

What the heck is it about email attachments that makes them so darned irresistible?

Attachments are useful

The problem begins with the fact that email attachments are darned useful.

I have a file, and I want to get it to you. Often the quickest and easiest way to do so is to simply compose an email to you, attach the file and press Send. After that, magic happens.

For example, it’s not uncommon for folks to want to submit a screen shot with their Ask Leo! question. The best way to do that? Submit the question, and then reply to the confirmation email message with the screen shot image as an attachment. Nothing could be simpler. Taking the screen shot was probably the hardest part of that process.

Given the rate at which we exchange data with friends, co-workers, and even tech support sites, email attachments have become a cornerstone of our digital life.

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