Viruses distributed by email

If you have a good internet filter in place, it is very unlikely you will be able to access a website that could infect your computer with a virus, but viruses can be distributed by email in attachments, which what we look at in this article.

This article is based on the ESET antivirus, but the instructions will be similar for most other professional anti-viruses as well.
A Virus as an attachment
Unlike many people think, as long as you are using an up to date version of Outlook, simply opening or reading an email in the preview pane is unlikely to infect your computer, but opening an attachment with a virus will certainly infect your computer. The emails themselves are designed to trick you into opening the attachment using all sorts of different stories and techniques. Some examples are emails making out to be from a post office with a form attached you need to fill out to receive a package that has been sent to you, or another common email is one with an invoice or statement attached saying payment is overdue. There are many variations, but the one thing in common is that they have an attachment with a virus in it.
Make sure Email protection is turned on

ESET and many other antivirus programs can scan your emails in Outlook and detect a dangerous email as it is received and delete the attachment. To make sure this is working on your computer, locate the antivirus icon next to the time on your computer and double click it to open the antivirus settings. In Eset click on the Setup menu and select the “Web and email” tab.

Now click the cog icon next to the “Email client protection” option and make sure the “Integrate into Microsoft Outlook” and “Enable email protection by client plugins” options are ticked. Next go to Outlook and click on the File menu and select Options. On the left side, select Add-Ins and select “COM Add-ins” from the “Manage” drop down list, then click the “Go” button and make sure the “ESET Outlook Add-in” item is ticked.

If one gets through, scan it manually
If you receive an email with a suspect attachment, do not open it. Instead right click the attachment and select “Save As” and save it to your desktop. Now go to your desktop, do not open the file, but right click it and select “Scan with Eset”. The antivirus will check the file and very quickly tell you whether the file is safe to open or not. If the file does contain a virus, it will most likely be deleted by the antivirus program, but it will need to be immediately deleted from Outlook manually. When deleting the email in Outlook, press the Shift key with the Delete key so it is completely removed rather than just sent to the Deleted Items folder.