Can a mac get a virus from opening an email?

Joe123-Help

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
2
0
If I send or receive a gmail from someone I have not met, is it possible to get a virus or give a person access to my computer without clicking on any links or attachments? Just normal sending and receiving?

Thanks.
 

chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,740
1,293
Fort Worth, Texas
It is possible to get a Windows virus from an email that you received, however, a Windows virus can not harm your Mac since it can not execute. And no it's not possible to give someone access to your computer by just normal sending and receiving of mail.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,898
410
Inside
Yes, it is possible to get malware on a Mac just by opening an email. There is a very small chance of it actually happening though. So small, it almost never happens.
 
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960design

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2012
3,014
961
Destin, FL
If I send or receive a gmail from someone I have not met, is it possible to get a virus or give a person access to my computer without clicking on any links or attachments? Just normal sending and receiving?

Thanks.
Difficult to answer without knowing your exact use case. I'll give you the generic answer:
1) If your current OS and email client are up to date, then NO. You cannot endanger your system just by opening an email. As you mentioned, accidentally clicking on a link, button or image ( sometimes hidden as text ) may infect your OS.
2) Otherwise YES.

Back in the day, Outlook would run inline JS just by opening the email, this is no longer true. We now have webmail, many webmail solutions, it would seem that most block JS by default, but I can by no means speak to ALL versions of webmail available.

NOTE: a virus is a self replicating application, some do harm, some collect data, some use resources. By all definitions of an electronic virus a mac or linux system is safe from propagating malicious code, hence safe from viruses. This DOES NOT mean that you cannot damage or destroy your UNIX based system by clicking on something, it just means that your system will not automatically forward it through the local network and automatically damage other like systems. If you own a mac, you can still click and agree and enter your admin password and finally agree to destroy your system or hand it over to someone else.
 
Last edited:

Joe123-Help

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
2
0
Difficult to answer without knowing your exact use case. I'll give you the generic answer:
1) If your current OS and email client are up to date, then NO. You cannot endanger your system just by opening an email. As you mentioned, accidentally clicking on a link, button or image ( sometimes hidden as text ) may infect your OS.
2) Otherwise YES.

Back in the day, Outlook would run inline JS just by opening the email, this is no longer true. We now have webmail, many webmail solutions, it would seem that most block JS by default, but I can by no means speak to ALL versions of webmail available.

NOTE: a virus is a self replicating application, some do harm, some collect data, some use resources. By all definitions of an electronic virus a mac or linux system is safe from propagating malicious code, hence safe from viruses. This DOES NOT mean that you cannot damage or destroy your UNIX based system by clicking on something, it just means that your system will not automatically forward it through the local network and automatically damage other like systems. If you own a mac, you can still click and agree and enter your admin password and finally agree to destroy your system or hand it over to someone else.

Thank you for all the responses.
 
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