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Some emails are suspected to be viruses; Because of that, the email service store categorizes them as spam. Or some pages are suspected to be viruses, and new browsers classify them as harmful pages. As you know, many viruses and malware can't run on Linux (like Ubuntu). Here is my question: Can harmful pages or those type of spam (junk) emails harm my data? Maybe by phishing, data transfer (from my HDD), attacking cookies, or any other types of hacks?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by AJ Henderson, Adi, Xander, schroeder, NULLZ Aug 6 '13 at 23:11

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A virus or any other form of malicious email may "harm your data" only by exploiting a vulnerability in the overall system, leading to execution of attacker-controlled instructions.

The "overall system" includes both the user's computer, and the user himself. In a phishing attempt, the primary vulnerability is the meat bag: the email contents induce the human user to take actions which are in accordance with the pursuance of the attacker's goal but ultimately detrimental to the user himself. This is not new and such attacks have far preceded the invention of computers. However, a recent twist is the realization that many users seem to lose their common sense when dealing with a computer, making them easy targets for con-artists.

Linux-based operating systems, generally speaking, have proven less vulnerable to malicious code in emails than Windows, for several reasons:

  • The Unix ancestry of Linux has promoted a rather strict philosophy of secure data handling, which might help prevent really dumb things such as automatically running incoming executable files.

  • The Linux ecosystem is very varied, both for OS particulars (emplacement of binaries, versions of libraries...) and for email applications, making exploits less universal.

  • Linux's share on the desktop market OS being what it is (1.29%, according to StatCounter), most attackers don't deem it worth the effort. Attackers are no less lazy than anyone else, and prefer to concentrate on the about 85% of Windows, which are much more likely to result in profits for them.

However, remember that the OS and its applicative software can only have limited success at fixing vulnerabilities in the human side of the system. Software can try to avoid "dangerous" situations in which humans have been known to take really wrong decisions with alarmingly high probability, but ultimately the user MUST demonstrate a less-than-absolute gullibility. Otherwise there is no possible security.

Therefore, malicious emails harming your data are improbable (but at least theoretically possible) if you use Linux and if, as a human user, you do not do anything foolish.

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Improbable unless he is targeted for some reason. It's probably worth noting that it is certainly highly possible that a targeted virus could be a problem, but that is unlikely for most users. – AJ Henderson Aug 6 '13 at 18:27

SPAM isn't always viruses or even always malicious. SPAM just refers to unwanted e-mail and is often advertising or get rich schemes or similar. Normally e-mails with viruses attached aren't forwarded, they are simply deleted or the attachment removed. Links in e-mails may go to viruses, which may or may not include Linux compatible versions (because viruses and exploits do exist for Linux, even if it is targeted less often).

More likely however are phishing attempts. These are e-mails that look like a valid page but actually are not. They don't try to do anything to your local computer, so the OS you are running doesn't matter, they can still report whatever information you enter on them to an attacker.

Some javascript and plugin based attacks can also work across multiple systems potentially. You shouldn't rely on your use of Linux to protect you and should be careful what links you click in e-mails and what websites you visit.

I'm not sure what you mean by bad sectors. Bad sectors are a physical problem with a hard drive, not an attack against a computer.

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I told Some emails are suspected to viruses; Because of that, the email service store categorize them as spams. Linux cannot recognize many viruses – user29154 Aug 6 '13 at 17:29
@MohammadRezaTayyebi - your question is rather hard to follow. It has technical inaccuracies in the description and the title of the question is asking about opening spam emails on Ubuntu. I chose to answer the questions as broadly as possible to get whatever your meaning may have been. As I indicated, some viruses will still work on Linux OSes as viruses do exist for Linux. If you are targeted, you could be infected though general messages probably won't work unless you are careless and unlucky. – AJ Henderson Aug 6 '13 at 18:25