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Hour 6. Working with Email Attachments > Outlook and Attachment Security

Outlook and Attachment Security

Some of most common attachments you receive, such as JPG and GIF images, are entirely safe. Others, such as Word or Excel documents, are usually safe but could carry macro viruses. Other attachments, including those with .exe, .js, and .pif extensions, might be safe, but they're just as often viruses. Because it's impossible to know for sure, it's important that you not only install a virus scanner, but also use its autoprotect feature and keep the virus signatures current. You should never open files you aren't expecting, even if your antivirus scanner gives them a clean bill of health—the virus might be too new to be in your virus definitions.

Just in case you're lax when it comes to keeping your antivirus scanner up-to-date, Outlook offers some built-in protection against email viruses, including blocking all file types that have the potential to carry viruses and are executable. Although you can unblock any or all the file types, you should unblock only the file types that you really do need or use other methods to retrieve the attachments.


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