Should I run an update or patch I receive via email?

Updated 11/13/2018 from

Nowadays, many viruses and worms are spread via email. To help them spread, the virus or worm may appear to be from a legitimate source such as Microsoft. The following boxes provide some examples of what these malicious emails might look like.

Warning, we have detected that your computer does not have the latest Microsoft updates. To keep your computer up to date and secure, run the attached patch.exe file to update your computer. Microsoft support group
[email protected]


Warning, we have detected that your computer does not have the latest Microsoft updates. To keep your computer up to date and secure, visit the link below. Microsoft support group
[email protected]

As you can see, the previous email examples use various techniques to try to appear legitimate. From appearing as an official signature to sending from a Microsoft email account to pointing to a URL containing the word “Microsoft”. Although these reports may appear genuine, there is a high probability that they are not.

The fact of the matter is that a large company (e.g. Microsoft, Norton, McAfee, Dell or Compaq) is not going to distribute bulk email to users, especially email containing a file. If you think your computer, operating system, or software needs updates, visit the company’s official site to get those updates. Consult the list of computer companies if you want to find a company’s official website.

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If you sign up for a company’s newsletter or mailing list, a company may send you emails. However, it is still very unlikely that the company will distribute any attachments with the email.

What can I do to stop receiving these messages?

Unfortunately, these messages are sent from computers infected with a virus or from the creator of the virus who wants to spread it. Since your computer is not the infected computer, it is difficult to prevent these messages from arriving. However, we have listed some recommendations below that may help to fix the problem.

  • Many internet service providers (ISPs) help their users by filtering out virus-infected emails or spam from the mail server. You can contact your ISP or the company hosting your email to request that the mail server block or filter these emails.
  • Often this virus comes from the computer of a contact, friend or family member who is infected with the virus. You can send a message to your contacts asking them to make sure they are up to date with their antivirus programs.
  • If all else fails, set up an email filter or rule with your email client to automatically delete these messages. This saves you from manually deleting emails, but it may not solve the problems that arise when your email inbox on the server is full.