Can a mac get a virus from opening an email?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Joe123-Help, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. Joe123-Help macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2017
    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?

  2. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    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.
  3. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    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.
  4. 960design, Feb 27, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017

    960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    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.
  5. Joe123-Help thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2017

    Thank you for all the responses.

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