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Opening a suspicious email

This is a discussion on Opening a suspicious email within the Other Browsers forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I got an email inviting me to open a Dropbox link from someone I've known in the past. It seemed


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Old 03-04-2020, 08:32 AM   #1
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I got an email inviting me to open a Dropbox link from someone I've known in the past. It seemed to have an intriguing document in it. I emailed the person and didn't hear back. I would really like to open it but I was considering how to do so to avoid risks of a virus. How about if I opened it on my phone? It seems like there is no such thing as a virus on an iphone. At least, I've never heard of such a thing. Or I could open it on one of my classroom computers. Ideas?
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:38 AM   #2
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If the sender (or purported sender) is not responding to an e-mail inquiry as to whether the link actually originated from them, then I'd not open it, period.

If you absolutely must then using something like the computer at a public library (which generally get automatically re-imaged every night) is an option, but I'd have to be insanely curious to do that.

If the purported originator of a link doesn't respond, then they're probably not the actual originator and/or someone's spoofing their e-mail address to send malware or something unsavory.
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:44 AM   #3
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If the sender (or purported sender) is not responding to an e-mail inquiry as to whether the link actually originated from them, then I'd not open it, period.

If you absolutely must then using something like the computer at a public library (which generally get automatically re-imaged every night) is an option, but I'd have to be insanely curious to do that.

If the purported originator of a link doesn't respond, then they're probably not the actual originator and/or someone's spoofing their e-mail address to send malware or something unsavory.
The link came from their email address. I sent an email inquiry to that same address (which is their actual address). They probably just haven't responded out of incompetence (i.e. not checking and responding to emails regularly).
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:36 AM   #4
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If you were not expecting any such communication from them and they are not responding to your enquiries, I don't see the urgency in wanting to open it. Send it to trash and leave it there. If it's something important that urgently needs your attention, the sender will be following up on it soon. You can also scan the file's url on virustotal and see what the results are. They are definitely not sharing a cure for corona!

Note: just because the sender's address appears legit doesn't mean their system or email account is not compromised. Malware is often spread through compromised email accounts of people you know.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:22 AM   #5
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If you were not expecting any such communication from them and they are not responding to your enquiries, I don't see the urgency in wanting to open it. Send it to trash and leave it there. If it's something important that urgently needs your attention, the sender will be following up on it soon. You can also scan the file's url on virustotal and see what the results are. They are definitely not sharing a cure for corona!

Note: just because the sender's address appears legit doesn't mean their system or email account is not compromised. Malware is often spread through compromised email accounts of people you know.
How do I use that site regarding url? How do I get that off the email? It's a Dropbox link. If I click on it it will take me to a potential virus won't it?
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:38 AM   #6
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Try looking on the site https://www.virustotal.com/gui/home/upload you might try right clicking on the link and copying it then pasting into the box on the site.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:50 AM   #7
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How do I use that site regarding url? How do I get that off the email? It's a Dropbox link. If I click on it it will take me to a potential virus won't it?
Right-click the link and select copy link location, then paste that in virustotal url part
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:56 PM   #8
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Anyone getting suspicious Email from a known contact, should notify that person to change their Email and possibly all passwords. Don't copy and paste, but tell the "sender" what the topic was.
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:58 PM   #9
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You could always create a live Linux disk on USB, boot to that, and then access the e-mail. You'd also have to set up the e-mail client on the live USB.

Lot of fuss just to access an "interesting" e-mail, but it's as safe a way of doing so as I can think of.

If anything gets compromised when you open it, you can just shut down, and reformat the USB. As the OS on your hard drive is not booted, it can't be compromised.

What I actually advise you to do though, is to curb your curiosity, and just bin the e-mail.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:15 PM   #10
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Try looking on the site https://www.virustotal.com/gui/home/upload you might try right clicking on the link and copying it then pasting into the box on the site.
Ok, I did a search under URL and I don't know how to read what it came up with. There's a column for "detection" with a long list and then under community it all says "clean" except the first thing which says "phishing".
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:32 PM   #11
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If you don't already know what it is, phishing.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:36 PM   #12
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If you don't already know what it is, phishing.
Is that proven by what I just wrote that that website came up with after scanning the link? Oh, by the way when I right clicked and saved the link then pasted it in it was a url for some organization. The email from Dropbox indicated a pdf. What's going on?
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Is that proven by what I just wrote that that website came up with after scanning the link? Oh, by the way when I right clicked and saved the link then pasted it in it was a url for some organization. The email from Dropbox indicated a pdf. What's going on?
Don't be fooled. PDF documents may run embedded scripts! They may also contain fillable forms fields whose contents can be submitted, plus links to further dangerous sites! As has been said, BIN it and forget about it. Alert the sender about this, or use a live Linux session to open the link/pdf as has been suggested.
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