In response to our article about the types of files that most often carry viruses, a reader wrote

“Maybe there aren’t enough of us that are using LibreOffice or OpenOffice, but I’ve assumed all those file types are vulnerable (.ods, .odt, .odg, etc.). What about .txt files and .csv files?”

Great question. You’re absolutely dead on about LibreOffice and OpenOffice files. In fact, ODT files are often more vulnerable because they are actually zip-archive files. Many anti-virus products don’t check them as thoroughly as they do office files. So, it’s important to always remain vigilant no matter what programs you’re using.

Now, an actual plain text file cannot carry malware. But scammers often disguise the true nature of files and can make an executable file appear to be .txt at first glance. And yes, there is such a thing as a malicious .csv file.

What’s the lesson here? Always be vigilant. Don’t open files if you aren’t absolutely sure where they come from.

Never open anything unexpected without checking with the person who is supposed to have sent it to you. Always keep your security software updated. Just assume everything is malware until proven otherwise.