Can You Get Infected By An Attachment In Gmail?

Detecting Viruses Is Not 100% Perfect

Learn about common types of viral scans used to detect computer viruses

Episode #12-12 released on November 12, 2021

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Today's question come from Thunderin11 on YouTube, and he had a debate with a white hat hacker, who claims it is impossible to get infected by attachments opened through the Gmail service. If you look up if Gmail scans email attachments for viruses, they claim they scan all attachments. The question is, can you still get infected by attachments in Gmail?

Antivirus software is separated into two distinct types, we have the types that use virus definitions, which would normally scan for known viral threats. And, we have the viral heuristic algorithms, which allow for the detection of unknown and unidentified viral threats.

Antivirus software that scans for known viruses are probably faster at scanning files, but they require access to an ever-growing library of known viruses. For this reason, it is impossible for any antivirus software using viral definitions alone to scan for every virus.

Antivirus software that scans using viral heuristic algorithms can detect unknown threats, usually by analyzing the entirety of the operating system and how various processes are interacting with each other. Being able to detect the unknown threats is extremely useful in mitigating threats.

It is without a doubt that Gmail uses a combination of both methods, viral definition recognition and heuristic scanning. However, neither method is perfect by themselves. And even when combined, it is still possible for an initial attempt to be successful if the virus is crafted in a way that will not be detected by heuristic scanning and is still unknown.

Therefore, it is possible, no matter how low the risk currently, to be infected by novel computer viruses, if coded in a way that is both novel and does not alert heuristic scanners. It is for this reason, that you must always keep your antivirus up to date, like Gmail probably does, and to never open attachments from anyone you do not know, and to be sure the person sending you an attachment that you do know, did in fact send you an email with attachments. Because even if the odds are low, the odds of getting infected by attachments, even over the Gmail service, are never zero. And they will never be zero either.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net

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