Can you get infected from opening e-mail without attachments?

I believe that opening e-mails that have attachments that you open or imbedded links that you click on can cause havoc. I think that’s because you’re potentially opening up your harddrive to malicious software. I also think it’s true that when you click on an embedded image or link, you are confirming that you exist, for the benefit of spammers, etc.
My question is this: suppose I open an e-mail that does not have an attachment, and all I do is read the e-mail. Most of the time, I suppose it’s going to be an advertisement and I would just delete it. Do I become more vulnerable to anything dangerous by just opening the e-mail?

It depends on your e-mail program and what settings you are using.

You can’t get infected using a text only e-mail program. As far as I am aware, no one has ever figured out how to embed anything bad in a text message.

E-mail can request confirmation when you’ve read it. Some e-mail programs automatically send back this confirmation, which lets the spammers know you exist just by you reading the e-mail.

Most e-mail programs these days will display images and text. Just by letting the images load you can tell a spammer that you exist. You don’t have to click on the image. One common technique used by spammers these days is that they embed a single pixel image in with the text. If your e-mail program loads that image, you don’t notice it (since it’s just a dot on the screen somewhere) but the spammer’s computer sees your computer request that image and now knows you exist.

That just lets the spammers know you exist, though. That won’t cause any malicious code to execute on your computer.

Most e-mail programs have settings that you can enable/disable to prevent the program from automatically loading images.

Opening up an attachment can cause malicious code to execute on your computer, which is much worse.

agree that an email program if set to auto get images allow a vector for infection.