Can malware infect from inside PST file?


  1. Posts : 22
    Various
       #1

    Can malware infect from inside PST file?


    As part of backing up an Outlook.com email address, I want to ask Microsoft to generate a PST file for the whole mailbox that I can download. However the mailbox is large and is getting spammed quite a bit, so I'm assuming that there will be some emails mixed in that contain malware inside them. This makes me wonder how I am going to handle the PST file, as I am concerned that just downloading it onto my PC might allow any malware to infect the computer from inside the PST file - even if I don't try to open it. Should I be worrying about this, or is the PST file safe?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  2. Posts : 275
    Microsoft Windows 10 x64
       #2

    hello,

    if you do not open attached document inside the email (whatever it is..), you will not infect your computer
    the pst is a kind of huge database containing documents.

    Daniel
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  3. Posts : 22
    Various
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Thanks for the reply. For my understanding, could you explain why the presence of malware inside a database file means it cannot infect the PC? I'm assuming the file contains enough information to recreate all the emails in the mailbox, and therefore contains the full programming of any malware too?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 275
    Microsoft Windows 10 x64
       #4

    if you have a malware inside inside the pst, it can infect your pc only if you execute it
    it could an attached file in one email that you will read (.doc, zip, .xls, .ppt, etc...) through another program
    the most obvious one is a *.exe but the execution is blocked by outlook itself
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 7,844
    Windows / Linux : Centos, Ubuntu, OpenSuse
       #5

    Win20Win said: View Post
    Thanks for the reply. For my understanding, could you explain why the presence of malware inside a database file means it cannot infect the PC? I'm assuming the file contains enough information to recreate all the emails in the mailbox, and therefore contains the full programming of any malware too?
    Hi there
    easy way to think of it is --imagine you have a bottle of cyanide - say Prussic acid or whatever --deadly poison but only would kill you if you opened (or smashed) the bottle in an enclosed space etc. While left in the bottle it's harmless.

    Since windows usually needs an .exe , .cmd or a .bat file to execute anything you'll find sites that are known for malware will offer you .rar, .zip or other compressed types of files to mask an executable inside when you extract the files -- so if using torrents don't touch anything that has .exe, .rar,.zip etc unless you are 100% certain the torrent is safe. With bat and cmd files you can have a look at the source script to see if it's ok.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 

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