IT Knowledge BaseGeneral TopicsSecurity Spear PhishingWhy Should I Be Careful When Opening Attachments?

Why Should I Be Careful When Opening Attachments?

This article covers why it is important to be careful when opening an email attachment, even when you recognize the sender.

Protecting Yourself From Attachments

Opening unverified files attached to emails can be dangerous. These files can easily infect your computer with viruses or malware.

To protect yourself, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it work-related? Is it from a person or organization that you recognize and do business with? If not, it could be a phish.
  2. Did you expect this file from this sender? It's a good idea to call the sender directly on the phone and verify they sent it before opening it.
  3. Did you scan the file for viruses before opening it? Contact the IT Help Desk at helpdesk@fullerton.edu or 657-278-7777 to get help with scanning your email attachments.
  4. What is the file type? While all files can be potentially dangerous, files with .exe, .bat, and .com extensions should be treated with extra suspicion.

Taking a minute to think before downloading and opening attachments can help you stay safe and secure!

Attachment Alternatives

Consider using an alternate way of sending a file to other users as a way to help protect yourself and your co-workers. If the standard for your office is sending links to files rather than attachments, that will make emails with attachments more suspicious.

CSUF offers free, unlimited storage Dropbox for Business accounts for active employees. These accounts allow you to send a link to a file stored in your Dropbox to anyone anywhere, even if they are not affiliated with CSUF. View more information and sign up for an account at the IT website.

Need More Help?

To learn more about phishing, view the chapter on Spear Phishing.

Contact the IT Help Desk at helpdesk@fullerton.edu or 657-278-7777 for additional assistance.

For more resources, view the Spear Phishing Help & Resources article.