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How To Check An Email For A Virus Before Opening

Last Updated Jun 6, 2022
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When opening an attachment to an email, you can accidentally expose your computer to viruses that have the potential to cause serious damage to your operating system. The malware and bugs you can pick up from email attachments are a serious problem, from ransomware to worms. 

Below you’ll find a guide for checking an email for viruses before opening any associated attachments. Using operational antivirus software like Norton, Bitdefender, or McAffee on your computer can help prevent your computer from picking up viruses when you open suspicious emails. 

Checking an Email for a Virus Before Opening

Before you open an email, you should always check the email to make sure you won’t be introducing a virus to your computer when you open it. Most emails that contain a computer virus or malware include that virus as an attachment to their email. Here are the steps you should follow to check an email for a virus before you open it: 

  1. Check the email address the email came from
  2. Make sure your antivirus software is activated
  3. Click on the email attachment
  4. Verify that the email attachment is safe

Continue reading to learn how to successfully complete each of these steps to ensure your computer’s safety.

Check the Email Address

If the email is from a person you know and trust, it won’t contain a computer virus. Don’t just look at the subject line of the email either. Check the email address itself to ensure it is the same email as the person you trust. 

Activate Your Antivirus

If you have it, activating your antivirus software should automatically trigger it to scan the attachment of any email you decide to open. 

Click on the Attachment

When you click on an email attachment with antivirus software on your computer system, the computer should pop-up a prompt for you to scan the attachment for any computer viruses or malware. Click Yes or Accept to initiate the antivirus scan of the email attachment. 

Verify that the Attachment is Virus-Free

After antivirus software runs, the computer should show the scan results and determine whether or not the attachment is safe to open. If the antivirus attachment shows that the email is safe to open, the attachment can then be downloaded safely. 

Email attachments are one of the easiest ways you can accidentally download a virus or malware program onto your computer. Antivirus software is crucial for safely downloading email attachments without damaging your system.  

Checking Emails can Introduce Viruses to Computers

If you do a lot of work on your computer, you might find yourself opening many emails. Thanks to advanced techniques by professional phishers, or online hackers who phish for personal information through attacks on computer users, sophisticated viruses are sometimes connected to email attachments that can severely damage your computer if you open them. 

The best defense against a virus attack through email attachments is to install antivirus software on your computer. This software will automatically kick in whenever you move to open an email attachment and scan the attachment for any potential viruses or malware. 

Aside from screening your incoming emails, antivirus software is the best way to check an email for a virus before opening it. Since email attachments are the origin of sixty percent of all infected computer systems, antivirus software is one of the most important programs your computer can run. 

If you’re wondering if you can get a virus on your phone from checking your email, there are certain steps you can take to prevent it.

Best Antivirus Software to Check an Email for Viruses Before Opening

If you want the best protection against viruses when opening emails, installing antivirus software is smart. These are some of the best antivirus software programs you can install on your computer or laptop if it doesn’t come with a native antivirus program: 

  • Norton: Norton is one of the most famous names in digital antivirus software in the world and with good reason. This company’s software works by creating a firewall between the computer’s network and any incoming downloads, allowing them to be assessed and neutralized before encountering the system.
  • Bitdefender: Bitdefender puts a strong emphasis on email safety. This program can protect against incoming spam, viruses, and malware. Like Norton, Bitdefender can check incoming emails in real time for suspicious activity related to viruses or malware. 
  • Vipre: Vipre is a useful tool for scanning incoming emails for malware and malicious software attacks. The email security feature of this program offers many advanced cloud-based solutions for staying up-to-date on incoming email-related threats.
  • Panda: Panda comes with both paid and free versions of its antivirus software. Panda also gives users the option to download a separate email scanning software program rather than a comprehensive antivirus suite. 

No matter which version of antivirus software you go with, having an antivirus program ready to go is the safest way to check emails before downloading any attachments. By doing so, you can prevent devastating attacks on your computer systems from ransomware, malware, and more. 

Emails Are a Serious Security Risk for Computer Systems

Since most viruses and malware that end up on computers are left there by malicious email attachments, checking your incoming emails for viruses is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your computer’s security. 

Thankfully, there are dozens of available antivirus programs to help prevent a breach in your system security from accidental email downloads.

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