A Word on eMail Viruses

Sent 3/19/2004


Yesterday I got the following email and since it is probably a topic that many of you are concerned about I thought I would take a minute of your time to answer it and provide some recommendations.
Two days ago I got 2 viruses through email, what can I do to make sure I don’t get another one?”

The short answer to making sure you “don’t get another one?” is to stop using email. Of course that is unrealistic so what can you do?

The first line of defense against a virus is for you to practice “safe computing”. That means that you should follow these simple steps to help reduce your risk.

1. When you get an email with an attachment you should treat it as potentially hostile.
2. Just because you “think” the email is from someone or someplace you know does not mean it is safe to open. Modern Viruses and Worms use the copy of Outlook on infected machines to mail themselves to the people who are in that address book. They also open “back-doors” that can turn your computer into a slave for spammers to control and
use to send additional spam to others.
3. The first thing you should do before opening an attachment would be to “really” read the actual message in the email. Is it personalized to YOU and describes the actual attachment and what it is for.
4. If not either delete the message and the attachment or at the very least simply reply to the person that sent it to you to enquire as to the nature of the attachment – don’t just open it. If they reply with an explanation you are probably good to go, if they don’t you know to delete it.

We have implemented screening for most attachment types when they are received by the server and are blocking most at that level. Still, attachment types that we are not blocking may continue to carry infected files (.zip primarily). Therefore the other line of defense that you need to have is do install anti-virus software on your own machine and make sure that it is configured to obtain updates from the manufacturer at least a couple times a week (every day is
best). There are a lot of different manufacturers of this type of software and you will find links to some of them below – including the ability to download “trial” versions of their software.

Computer Associates




Panda Software


Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image