Do Execs Open Email Attachments?

A new “safe email” study from The Economist has some journalists in full finger-wagging mode. The headline on TechWeb says it all: “Execs Still Open Attachments”. A sub-head goes to state that a “Survey says that 75% of senior executives still open attachments from unknown senders.”

It would be strange and worrisome if executives were still opening email attachments in the face of all the havoc that can cause. So is it true?

It’s doubtful. While the original study questions aren’t included in the article, the key sentence is the following: “But [78%] also admitted that they’ve opened file attachments received from people they don’t know.”

In other words, many executives have opened attachments from unknown senders; that is very different from saying many execs do open email attachments. The gulf between having once done something and doing it as common practise is vast indeed, despite the best efforts of headline writers to prove otherwise.