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E-mail w/ no subject listed
Old 08-28-2013, 07:11 PM   #1
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E-mail w/ no subject listed

I know it is possible to innocently forget to put a subject but somehow my experience has been that when someone's e-mail has been hijacked, their account ends up sending e-mails w/ no subject so I'm somewhat paranoid about them.

Some questions:

1) if I open the e-mail but don't touch any links within them, is there any risk?
2) Is the risk to my e-mail account or to the computer I am using?
3) If I use a different computer e.g. at a public library, is my e-mail account at risk?
4) anything else to be aware of?
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:19 PM   #2
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It should be OK to view if you disable all scripting in your mail viewer (javascript, ActiveX, etc.) and turn off display of images. If you leave images turned on, the sender can detect that you saw it as well as when and where you viewed the message. You may not want them to know their spam or malicious message got past all filters to your address.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:43 PM   #3
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All my spam has subjects. And OMG has it ramped up the past couple of weeks with .me, .us, .biz, and a few other domains. Hope they catch that guy soon. Only my brother seems to send out emails without subjects.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:48 PM   #4
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I end up building my own filters with something like mailwasher. No subjects get auto deleted, along with .me,.biz, anything country specific like .ru,.cn, etc.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
It should be OK to view if you disable all scripting in your mail viewer (javascript, ActiveX, etc.) and turn off display of images. If you leave images turned on, the sender can detect that you saw it as well as when and where you viewed the message. You may not want them to know their spam or malicious message got past all filters to your address.

Can scripting be disabled for web-based email such as Gmail, Hotmail, etc?
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:42 AM   #6
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I generally delete them but I have a sister who sends no subject messages all the time. I have given up reminding her to add a subject and just read her messages.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:02 AM   #7
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A lot of spam, especially spam which contains harmful attachments, will contain a subject line to grab your attention and try to get you to open the attachment or link.

From what I have heard over the years, you can open an email without risk but don't click on any of the links or attachments. This is especially true for emails which claim that your online banking has been suspended, for example, and you have to "click on this link to reactivate it by entering your password."
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
and turn off display of images. If you leave images turned on, the sender can detect that you saw it as well as when and where you viewed the message.
This can be pretty important.
Many don't realize that even messages that don't seem to contain any images actually do. The image may be only a single pixel, and buried where it's not likely to be noticed.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
It should be OK to view if you disable all scripting in your mail viewer (javascript, ActiveX, etc.) and turn off display of images. If you leave images turned on, the sender can detect that you saw it as well as when and where you viewed the message. You may not want them to know their spam or malicious message got past all filters to your address.
Thanks to all for your replies. Other than sender detecting my viewing of the message, is there any real damage that can be done. All subsequent messages would then be deleted by me w/o viewing them. I googled and discovered how to turn off javascript which seems like even I could do that.
Wasn't clear about activeX and wouldn't even know what the etc. was.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:30 AM   #10
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A malicious email could exploit a vulnerability in an email viewer, but that's rare because it's not easy to exploit such vulnerabilities and each viewer has different ones (and the sender probably does not know which viewer you will use).

For more protection delete flash from your computer (note it can be a challenge to get rid of), or at least use a flash blocker, for the same reason you turn off images.

If you download your emails to your computer before viewing them, for still more protection you can disconnect from the web (yank the cable?) before reading them.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:07 AM   #11
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Worse than no subject e-mails, are the ones that discuss important matters under an old subject. The first e-mail starts with a subject like "Pick up a quart of milk on the way home". However, the discussion morphs into how to handle mom's dispute with the LTC insurance company, but the subject is still about the quart of milk. GRRRR... How easy it is to delete an important message with the wrong subject.

Then there are the subjects like "I need help" or "Can you fix this for me?" or "I'm confused". I feel like giving an equally meaningless answer.
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