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Question about the Gmail app.


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10 replies to this topic

#1 aaandy

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 10:36 PM

Hi everyone,

 

 

 

I've had some great help on this forum before so here's hoping you can help me with this.

 

 

 

I have the Gmail app on my android phone. I recently noticed in the settings that the box 'auto-download attachments to recent messages over wi-fi' was ticked as enabled.

 

 

 

Now I wonder: does that mean that ALL attachments on my email were downloaded? Including, God forbid, the spam email (with malicious attachments) that arrives in my spam bin (which automatically goes to the trash and I never open, I’ll hasten to add)?

 

 

 

Here’s the weird thing, though: I get a lot of legitimate attachments over email, and I’m on wi-fi a lot. I’ve never seen ANYTHING get downloaded. Not that I want them to – I like to control what goes on on my phone.

 

 

 

Any ideas?


Edited by aaandy, 25 January 2016 - 02:12 AM.


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#2 ScathEnfys

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 12:41 PM

I use a OEM mail app rather than the gmail app, but in my experience only the inbox is synced by default. Other folders are synced manually.
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#3 ljohnson588

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 01:24 PM

My experience w with the Gmail app is that it only does the ones in your inbox and not spam. However after a period of time I just disabled it completely because I didn't want to download every single attachment to came to my inbox.



#4 aaandy

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 04:59 PM

Thanks.

Does the message have to have been clicked on as well, or would it download attachments to unread messages as well?

Edited by aaandy, 25 January 2016 - 05:26 PM.


#5 ScathEnfys

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 05:23 PM

Probably download unread messages too, but not any HTML or attachments
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#6 aaandy

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 05:27 PM

Sorry, I mistyped that last message - I'm up too early!

I meant 'Would it download attachments to unread messages?' - not download the messages themselves.


Edited by aaandy, 25 January 2016 - 10:21 PM.


#7 aaandy

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 12:19 AM

Hi everyone,

 

I’m kind of worried. I posted the same questions in an Android community and I got a single response. The gist was this:

  • Unread emails with attachments, even in the spam inbox, could be downloaded. And to add insult to injury, the gmail app on Android doesn’t scan for viruses.

I appeal to the Bleeping Computer wizards: am I screwed???

 

I have run Avast and Malwarebytes on my phone – nothing evil discovered.

I’ve looked at my phone bill too and there doesn’t seem to be any high usage, major phone calls, etc etc – anything that indicates someone else is using my phone.

But still… I’m worried. Any thoughts?



#8 ScathEnfys

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 09:34 AM

They might be downloaded, but you should be fine as long as you don't open the messages.
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#9 aaandy

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 01:07 AM

That's some good news!

 

Any idea as to whether the gmail app scans for viruses? Seems crazy to me that the desktop version would and the app wouldn't, but I'm not really an expert...

 

Thanks!



#10 britechguy

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 06:56 PM

That's some good news!

 

Any idea as to whether the gmail app scans for viruses? Seems crazy to me that the desktop version would and the app wouldn't, but I'm not really an expert...

 

Thanks!

 

Not that attacks on Android aren't increasing, but compared to Windows platforms the number is quite small.  I have had two Android smartphones, use the Gmail app on both, and have never felt I needed an antivirus on my Android device.

 

I don't know that the "client side," meaning your Android Gmail app or the web interface on PCs does any virus scanning.  That has always been a function on the server side.  I have uploaded several huge files to Google Docs and when people attempt to download them Google Docs tells them that the files are too large to be virus scanned, which strongly suggests Google does this on the server side.  Of course, those specific files were virus scanned I can't begin to count how many times before I zipped them up and uploaded them.  I always tell those that they will get this warning from Google and that these have been virus scanned before they were ever uploaded.

 

As others have already mentioned, most issues occur only if and when you actually open an attachment, not at the moment of download.  There are exceptions, but they are rare, and if Google is doing scanning on the server they've already been checked.

 

In the end, you best defense is "knowing the source" and knowing that source to be trustworthy.  I can't even count the number of attachments I've received over the decades from many sources, but I knew all of these sources, knew that they had antivirus on their computers, knew that I had antivirus on mine, and that the probability of infection was small.  It's no coincidence that I've had virtually no infections (I think none, but I can't remember if the few issues that have occurred over the years in my household were strictly my partner's machines or involved my own - that's how infrequent any have been) because I never open attachments from individuals or organizations that I don't know and trust.

 

Addendum:  This Google support page entitled, Anti-virus scanning attachments, pretty much confirms that scanning is a server-side function and happens more than once.


Edited by britechguy, 28 January 2016 - 08:05 PM.

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#11 aaandy

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 12:14 AM

Great news. Thanks for your help with this, it's helped put my mind at rest. 






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