Footballus vita est
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Portland, OR
Bikes: Trek 4500, Kona Dawg
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She's fine. Plain text can't do anything. There could have been an invisible picture embedded in the email via HTML, which can be used by clever spammers to determine which email addresses are active, but that won't directly compromise your security.
Every now and then, some social reject figures out how to make an exploit that embeds a virus in a picture, but as far as I know, there's no unpatched exploits at the moment, especially not for linux.
As far as horror stories go: One of those jpeg-based exploits was discovered about two months ago in Internet Explorer. I just happened to need to use IE the day it was announced to visit a website that didn't support Firefox, and I hadn't gotten the news about the exploit. Since I already had IE up, I also used it to search for some random info that led me to a somewhat sketch site. I'm guessing an ad on that site was where the infection came from. I was only vulnerable for a couple of hours before I read the news and patched it, and I just happened to use the vulnerable program during that window. I've had the computer for about two years, and that was the first problem I'd had, even though most of the time I didn't even use anti-virus software.
I forget exactly what I got, but it was a pretty deep one. It did browser redirects (my first clue of the problem), key logging, pop-ups, and self-replication. I Ended up having to turn off system restore and run scans in safe mode to get rid of it. AVG got part of it, and Malwarebytes finished it off. Whatever it was, it was one of the better written bugs out there, even though it wasn't as prevalent as the big worms like Sasser and Blaster.
"The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad