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  1. #1
    bs baffles brains b....'s Avatar
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    Question Using forward to safely see email contents in MS Outlook

    At work we have been told not to open suspicious emails, but to forward them to our company IT help desk for checking.

    I did this to an email from a company I had not heard of this week.
    The email contents were then displayed on my screen, without me actually opening the email?
    I could see that it was a legitimate email from one of my suppliers advising that they were setting up another company to supply a new range of products.
    I cancelled the forward operation and opened the email normally.

    Is this a safe way to view emails without opening them?
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  2. #2
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using forward to safely see email contents in MS Outlook

    No not really, if the mail has a embedded "bug" simply selecting the mails can activate it. BUT --And its a BIG BUT any reasonably good AV that is scanning mail will pick up that sort of content.

    What does work are programs like Mailwasher - it reads the mail from the server and shows its content, BEFORE its even downloaded to computers.

    All the PC's that get infected with the latest rounds of ransomware are unpatched, XP, W7 etc ( the fixes have been out for months) . The latest one ( Petya) is using the same exploit as wannacry. BUT its got more of a kicker in it. It actually attacks the Master Boot.

    The ransomware locks the computer's master boot record which is key for the machine to locate where the operating system and files are. Locking this makes the computer more or less unusable.
    If your organization is running a vulnerable version of Windows that hasn't patched (updated with the latest fix) then your business could be at risk.
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  3. #3
    bs baffles brains b....'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Using forward to safely see email contents in MS Outlook

    Thanks for reply.

    I work for a nationwide company with probably about 100-150 computers running W7 or W10. As far as I know, all the PC's, tablets, and laptops have MS Update turned off. The IT Dept. does this so that they don't get lots of calls with update issues.
    I do manual updates on the 4 computers I use, and all the service division laptops sent to me for installing or repairing the diagnostic software we use. Most haven't been updated for months or even years. Can take quite a while to download and install all the updates.

    A few months ago one of the drives on our server got trashed. This was caused by someone opening a dodgy email or link. Probably only time before this happens again?

    I use Mailwasher at home for our main email address.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Using forward to safely see email contents in MS Outlook

    Doesn't sound terribly proactive too me, and it sounds pretty slack not to have email and system protection operating at optimal!

  5. #5
    Senior Member 1101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using forward to safely see email contents in MS Outlook

    Quote Originally Posted by b.... View Post
    At work we have been told not to open suspicious emails, but to forward them to our company IT help desk for checking.
    ?????
    I suspect that was decreed someone in management, rather than a recommendation by any IT company
    Its not unusual for OCCASIONAL emails to be forwarded for checking , its normal just to delete them instead (or move to spam folder).

    It used to be , way back, just clicking the email & autopreveiw could infect the PC (that bugs closed ?)
    Im pretty sure forwarding opens the email. Its usually the email web links & attachments that cause the infections .
    Better not to do it though unless really necessary , just my opinion .

    A commercial quality(is $$) Spam Filter system is the better way , some companies choose not to implement a Good Spam Filtering System .

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Using forward to safely see email contents in MS Outlook

    Not patching is idiotic. Your IT department should be fired.


    Quote Originally Posted by b.... View Post
    Thanks for reply.

    I work for a nationwide company with probably about 100-150 computers running W7 or W10. As far as I know, all the PC's, tablets, and laptops have MS Update turned off. The IT Dept. does this so that they don't get lots of calls with update issues.
    I do manual updates on the 4 computers I use, and all the service division laptops sent to me for installing or repairing the diagnostic software we use. Most haven't been updated for months or even years. Can take quite a while to download and install all the updates.

    A few months ago one of the drives on our server got trashed. This was caused by someone opening a dodgy email or link. Probably only time before this happens again?

    I use Mailwasher at home for our main email address.

  7. #7
    Senior Member fred_fish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using forward to safely see email contents in MS Outlook

    Quote Originally Posted by nmercer View Post
    Not patching is idiotic. Your IT department should be fired.
    If your chef keeps putting you in hospital regularly, do you keep eating the same "mystery meat" just because they tell you 'not eating is idiotic', or should you maybe use another kitchen.

    Someones 'IT department' should be fired...
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  8. #8
    amateur expert dugimodo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using forward to safely see email contents in MS Outlook

    It's fairly standard practice for large corporate IT departments to lock down company PCs and only apply updates as they deem necessary rather than automatically. They also tend to have web filters, corporate anti-virus, a regular backup policy, company guidelines for dealing with spam, users with no admin rights, and a standard set of PC images that can be restored if needed. So no not patching is not idiotic, but rather part of a considered policy. Of course implementation of these things often falls down and can bite them in the ar$e.

    My company only upgraded from XP to windows 7 late last year and have windows 8 on some portable devices only because windows 7 was not an option. IT departments like to stick with tried and true and things they know how to deal with. It can be bloody frustrating when you run into compatibility issues occasionally though. I expect a few years after windows 7 reaches end of life they will consider upgrading again.
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