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Security I: How the 2007 Office system helps you to stay safer

Outlook Reading pane and Inbox with attachments

One of the more hazardous areas for picking up viruses and other nasties is e-mail. An attachment to an e-mail message is the most likely source. Sometimes just opening the message can trigger a virus.

Even when you have antivirus software, a new virus could have been released since your antivirus software was last updated. So always be very wary of attachments. Be especially suspicious if the message is from someone you don't know (or aren't expecting to hear from), or if the subject line or the attachment name is strange.

Note    Outlook 2007 also has certain behind-the-scenes security measures in place to help deal with attachments. For example, common file types that can be used to spread viruses are blocked so you won't receive the attachment.

Once you've decided an attached file is one that you want to open or save, you can do that by right-clicking its icon in the Reading Pane.

However, if you are still concerned that the message is infected with a virus or contains other malicious code, and if the sender is a friend or colleague, you can always ask for confirmation before opening it. If the message does turn out to be viral, delete it without opening it — and then delete it from your Deleted Items folder.

Tip     Pressing SHIFT+DELETE will delete the message completely in one quick step.

Note     You should never open or reply to a suspicious e-mail message from someone you don't know — you'll only confirm that your e-mail address is an active and valid one.

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