Identifying an infected link or attachment

Hackers and cybercriminals want to infect your computer system with their tailor-made malware. By tricking you into opening a malicious link or downloading an infected file, they can gain access to your computer system. Holding your data and files hostage, or impersonating you for their own gains.


The way that criminals trick their victims is constantly evolving. As common scams become more widely known, they will become less successful, meaning that the scammers behind them will need to update their techniques.


We want to help you spot an infected link or dangerous attachment before it becomes a problem for your computer system. So we’ve put together these top tips on spotting problematic messages.

Remember, by downloading anti-spam software from MailCleaner you won’t need to worry about identifying a scam, as our computer virus protection will do that for you.


Who sent the email?

If you don’t know the sender, or aren’t expecting the email, always be on guard. Phishing emails often come from users pretending to be an address you know, so scrutinise the address carefully. Is your bank email usually Or is it .com? Keep a note of these.

Remember, a phishing email could be coming from a user you know if their computer is infected, so be vigilant.



Spelling mistakes are possible from credible sources, but they aren’t common. Spelling or grammatical mistakes are red flags for scams.


Not using your real name

For example “dear user” or “customer” implies that a correspondent doesn’t have access to your name. A legitimate sender with access to your email address would more than likely also have access to your name.


Hazardous file extensions

  • EXE is one of the more problematic file extensions. It has the ability to disable your antivirus app.
  • JAR: They can take advantage of Java runtime insecurities.
  • BAT: Contains a list of commands that run in MS-DOS.
  • PSC1: A PowerShell script with commands.

Also be very wary of .zip etc as these can be hiding anything within them.


If you want to really make sure that your computer isn’t vulnerable to infected links or viruses from phishing emails, make sure that you’re using MailCleaner anti-spam software and that it is kept up to date. Find out more here