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Can my PC be infected with a Spyware by simply opening an email in Hotmail or would I have to open an attached file or click on a link? Obviously, I would not do that, but I am not sure if I can be infected by simply opening an email.

I have been working on this deal with a guy through eBay. We've talked via cell phone about the item and I sent him some additional questions via eBay with my email address hidden. He called awhile later to ask if I had gotten his response via eBay. I checked eBay and had no mail. That's when he asked for and I gave him my Hotmail account.
Chris
 

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Can my PC be infected with a Spyware by simply opening an email in Hotmail or would I have to open an attached file or click on a link? Obviously, I would not do that, but I am not sure if I can be infected by simply opening an email.

I have been working on this deal with a guy through eBay. We've talked via cell phone about the item and I sent him some additional questions via eBay with my email address hidden. He called awhile later to ask if I had gotten his response via eBay. I checked eBay and had no mail. That's when he asked for and I gave him my Hotmail account.
Chris
With the monetary incentives to compromise PCs, nothing should be deemed impossible. However, just opening the mail in Hotmail should not cause you a problem. Hopefully, you have good anti-virus software and keep your system patched.
 

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Yes, I think this is possible, though I'm not a hotmail expert. If an html-encoded email is sent, it's basically like viewing a webpage, and thus if there's an exploit affecting your browser, then I believe it could be triggered by viewing the email (which is really then viewing a webpage). There may or may not be security precautions in place in hotmail to guard against this. If you can change the settings to NOT view things in html, to view them in plain text instead, then it'd be safe.
 

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The premise is anything that executes on your machine in a trusted environment can be detrimental. Active X, Java, etc., can insert malicious shell code. Spyware, bots, backdoors, key loggers. Lots of things can be present in the payload.
 

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In a word, yes.

However, if you've been having phone conversations with the guy and you found him on eBay, you're probably ok. Consider:

1) If he's a h4x0r, he won't be asking for email addresses and sending them by hand. In the same amount of time, he could send thousands or millions emails.

2) You have phone records.

3) There is some type of trail through eBay. Even if he's been fooling them, evidence will likely be left behind (I.P. addresses and other technical details).

4) Lastly, the skills necessary to create such a trap are pretty l337. There are probably fewer than 5,000 people in the world that could do it, and I am guessing that they all have something better to do than set up fake eBay accounts and scam individuals.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the responses. Knowledge is power and I am clueless when it comes to this sort of thing. I am trying to be extra careful. I've bought new vehicles thru eBay from dealers before, but this is my first used purchase from a private party.
Chirs
 

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I am told a router with a firewall provides good protection.
 

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Can my PC be infected with a Spyware by simply opening an email in Hotmail or would I have to open an attached file or click on a link? Obviously, I would not do that, but I am not sure if I can be infected by simply opening an email.

I have been working on this deal with a guy through eBay. We've talked via cell phone about the item and I sent him some additional questions via eBay with my email address hidden. He called awhile later to ask if I had gotten his response via eBay. I checked eBay and had no mail. That's when he asked for and I gave him my Hotmail account.
Chris
It depends on your mail settings. Most mail clients default to pretty well shut down. But if you go in there and open everything up you could be highly exposed. Of course, it only takes one hole.
 

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best way to find out for your, go download yourself a FREE version of Adware (www.lavasoft.com) and scan your computer.

I like Adware, b/c Adware has one of hte best reviews and it picked up stuff that other anti-spyware stuff missed.
 

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best way to find out for your, go download yourself a FREE version of Adware (www.lavasoft.com) and scan your computer.

I like Adware, b/c Adware has one of hte best reviews and it picked up stuff that other anti-spyware stuff missed.
Spybot is good, too. For whatever reason, Ad-aware and Spybot seem to catch different things.
 

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I like Webroot Spysweeper. I use it to clean alot of garbage on clients pc's that aren't picked up by others. Anything it can't catch usually means I either roll up my sleeve and get going with Hijackthis or save what I can and reinstall.
 
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