I get an occasional email from someone I do not recognize and the ISP spam filter doesn't stop it. If I right click on it and select properties I can see where it came from and any text. Does that actually open the email just the same as double clicking to open it? If there happens to be a virus or malware embedded will it unload in the properties window same as opening the email? I don't know if I'm protecting myself doing it this way or not. If it gets past the ISP filters and my NOD32 AV it's not likely to have any baddies attached but you are never 100% sure.
How about if I go to the ISP web mail and open it there? Is it the same as opening it on my computer or is the computer protected by opening it this way? Questions have been kind of bugging me for awhile now.
select properties I can see where it came from and any text
If all Properties does is enable you to see the header and text on the server without opening the e-mail itself you should be safe. That's how Mailwasher works. Ok, then if you don't know the person delete it. If you officially open an e-mail, even on the cloud, you are opening a direct link between it and your computer. Theoretically a well-written virus can use that to access your computer, traditionally if you open an attachment that it has. However, with the sophistication of these malware out there now, who knows? That's why I use a local client (Outlook) and Mailwasher. They can keep their cloud, eventually it's going to rain on them. Of course, if ISPs stop using POP3 architecture, that is the end of local e-mail clients.
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As far as I know when Windows Live Mail checks for new mail it downloads the mail from the ISP to my computer. I just wasn't sure if checking properties was the same as opening the email as far as activating any hidden malware.