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Avoiding Virii

Get a good anti-virus program

It is just part of the cost of being on-line. We wish it wasn't, but it is.

IMHO Norton Anti-Virus WAS the best. After 2004 it became a joke. There are page long lists of virii that it does not detect. It can be disabled, while still appearing to be active. Its a bloated pig, can slow down your computer and may actually have a vulnerability of its own. (See: http://www.grc.com )

Another option is FPROT:
http://www.f-prot.com It doesn't have the same level of email scanning that Norton does, but it is much faster and seems very competent at stopping any virus that did make it in through the email. Configuration is a bit more complex than Norton, but most people can get it done. It can also be disabled without any indication that it is not

Cost is not an excuse: There are FREE Anti-Virus programs. Try http://www.avast.com or http://www.clamwin.com

Don't EVER open EMAIL attachements. Period.

Save them to disk, then use your anti-virus program to check them out. Even if you know who sent it, or you requested it or whatever... Get in the habit.

Your friend can get infected just as easily as anyone else, and they may very well not realize that they are propigating the virus. The head of anti-virus research at a major government agency once got infected with a virus and sent it to a bunch of people... and he really did know what he was doing.

Only after this procedure, and only if you know who the person is who is sending you the attachement and you wanted it, then open the attachement.

Don't forward virus warnings.

A) First off, if you must send any email to a list of people, don't put the email addresses in the To or CC lines because you have now advertised my (and other peoples) email addresses to everyone else who got the email. Who I give my email address to is my business, not yours.

Also, spammers work hard to collect "multiple address" emails like this so that they can send emails to all the people on the list saying things like "James Newton said you would be interested in this." I've been the victim of that twice now and its getting old.

Instead, use the BCC line, which is available in almost every email program out there. Some require a little work to find... Search the help file or talk to your local computer geek. In outlook, when you are composing a new message, pull down the "View" menu and check "Bcc Field".

Also, edit messages to remove email addresses in the message itself.

B) All these virus alerts are B.S. Period. Not one in the last 5 years has turned out to be true. Prove me wrong by looking each of them up at

http://www.symantec.com/enterprise/security_response/index.jsp

you will find, for example

http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/jesus-hoax.html

which clearly shows that this virus warning is a hoax. Now, think about this,

...the virus warning IS the virus...

it replicates using the resources of its host, it costs money in terms of bandwidth, download time, space on the email servers, and human resources to read about it and forward it on.

You have "exposed" all the people to whom you sent the warning to the virus and some number of them, who have not been "inoculated" with information like what I'm supplying to you now, will be "infected" and pass it on again.

I don't mean to be harsh, because I have done this in the past as well, which leads me to my last point...

C) Even if you are right, people don't want to know. The one time I sent a valid warning including what to do and everything, I got pissed off replies from half the people I sent it too. They already had norton or macafee or whatever and didn't need me wasting there time. They people who didn't have an anti-virus program didn't care.

The best thing you can do is forward this information to the people who you just "exposed" to this virus warning in the hope that A) they will not be "infected" and B) they will also know not to do this in the future and C) if they forward this message, we can create an ANTI-VIRUS virus (I believe that would be called a retro-virus) which will keep running around the internet, sucking up bandwidth, but hopefully using less than all the hoax virus warnings...

But that is your decision.

Be ready for the inevitable... YOU WILL BE INFECTED.

No matter how carefull you are, at some point, you will be infected. Be ready.

Don't take any guff from anyone about what happened. Things go wrong, humans make mistakes, and as long as you took care of your system and let everybody know to be careful, they should have been able to take care of themselves.

Also:

See also:


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