An email attachment is any sort of computer file, such as a Word document, music file, picture, video clip etc, which is enclosed with an email. Many email programs and services use a paper-clip symbol to indicate an attachment in an email.
Why should I be careful with email attachments?
Email attachments are an easy way for friends, colleagues and family members to send you photos or videos etc, so they can be a good thing. Unfortunately, they can be used by criminals to install harmful programs on your computer. If you receive an email containing an attachment, make really sure that it’s a genuine email from someone you know and trust. If it’s not addressed to you personally, (i.e. the email starts simply “Hi” or “Dear Friend”), or you don’t know the sender’s address, DON’T open the attachment. Even if you do recognise the sender’s address, remember that a friend’s computer/webmail account may have been hijacked. Look for unusual style in the text of the email; does your friend/family member normally write like that? Have they forgotten your name, or has their competence in spelling/ punctuation/ grammar suddenly deteriorated dramatically? If in doubt, phone and check. The picture below shows a malicious program, disguised as a video clip, sent as the attachment to an email.