Virus to my dell through email: ISP account and Web based account

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Leigh, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Leigh

    Leigh Guest


    I know that lots of viruses can come with email attachments and in the email

    Here is my question.

    When I read my email that comes from my ISP email account I believe the
    email is downloaded onto my Dell computer and is taken off of the ISP's

    Now I am not sure about Web based email accounts like Yahoo! G mail, etc.

    When I read an email from my Web based account am I reading the email from
    the Web based server? I know that if I download and attachment from a Web
    based email the attachment will come onto my hard drive, but what about just
    a letter. Will that be downloaded onto my computer or am I reading letter
    from their Web based servers and the letter is not downloaded to my

    I hope you understand my question.

    Thanks in advance for your help and support.

    Leigh, Jan 15, 2010
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  2. Hi!
    Generally speaking, that is 100% correct. Most people retrieve their e-
    mail over a POP (post office protocol) connection to their ISP's e-
    mail server. And when you download those messages, everything attached
    to them usually comes along for the ride.

    There are some mail programs that can be set to download only message
    bodies without attachments, or with attachments that fall under a
    certain size. Some mail programs may also be set to leave messages on
    the server (in case you plan to retrieve them later from another
    Yes, that is correct. The web mail service will only serve what you
    requested to see--so if all you ask to see is the message, there's no
    point in delivering the attachment. Everything there is delivered upon

    This can mean that there is an increased measure of safety in using
    web mail services to read your mail. On a conventional POP mail setup
    (as described above), you download everything by default. It can then
    be assumed (by the writer of a virus) that since both pieces of the
    message are together, an attack could be attempted. It would only be
    successful if they knew what mail program you were using, knew of a
    security vulnerability within that program or if they took a guess on
    the two previous points and got lucky. Mail clients (especially
    Microsoft's Outlook product) have become a lot more hardened since
    such exploits were demonstrated many years ago.

    It would be at least theoretically possible to do the same from a web
    mail account. But I'd expect it to be much harder, as the attacker
    would likely have to know the URL that should be sent back to the web
    mail provider to retrieve the attachment. They'd also have to do a lot
    of fancy trickery with scripting and exploiting security holes in your
    browser to force an action to be taken with the malicious attachment.
    You are reading the letter from their servers...but...unless
    specifically instructed not to, your web browser will cache a copy of
    whatever web page you are presently viewing. That includes the pages
    served by your web mail service. The cache is stored on your computer,
    but it probably won't stay for very long as the space occupied is
    small and gets used over and over again.

    It will only contain web pages that you have chosen to view.

    William R. Walsh, Jan 15, 2010
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  3. Leigh

    OG Guest

    Can I jump in here and recommend Mailwasher.
    This downloads the header and the text only parts of the mail from your ISPs
    mail server. Using this program, attachments don't get downloaded until you
    have already had a chance to preview the message. Any you don't trust or
    with unexpected attachments can be deleted from the mail server before they
    get anywhere near your precious Dell.

    As the program shows the text content only, it means you can easily identify
    phishing emails, as any links within the text are shown with their true
    target urls. So if a email claims to come from your bank and has a link that
    claims to be to you can see if it really links to

    If you install this and set your mail program so that it downloads only on
    demand (rather than automatically) you'll have a first line of protection
    OG, Jan 16, 2010
  4. Leigh

    Leigh Guest

    Thanks for your responses
    Leigh, Jan 29, 2010
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