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Virus Warnings

Please go to the following sites and read info on virus alerts.

These "Virus Warnings" are the only true email viruses -- they get themselves spread all around the Net. NO email can create ANY of the effects described. The only thing that you should watch out for is an executable program that comes as an attachment to an email post. Downloading and running any program of dubious origin is dangerous. Viruses do come in programs.

The only other thing you have to watch out for is "Virus Warning" posts. Any post that asks you to "pass it on" to everyone you know is a virus, a scam, has the credibility of a chain letter. Just Say No.

Basically, there are only two ways you could get a virus from an email: if the email had an attachment that was an executable application, and you ran it; if the email had a link to a website with an activex control, causing a program to automatically run on your computer when you accessed the site. Preventing these two infections is easy. To stop activex controls from running, set your browser security to "Medium" and view active content before you allow it to run. Never run a program that comes from an unknown source. Use a dependable virus-detection program like Norton on all new disks or software, even if it does come from a dependable source. If you are still anxious, invest in Eudora 4.0, which automatically scans incoming email for attached viruses.

Those safety precautions will prevent ALL viruses. Alert notices on individual types of virus are not necessary. The "alerts" are the true viruses, forcing people to propagate them across the Internet.

Some things to check whenever you get a "virus warning":
Check the sites listed above:

When you read "Microsoft just announced this", check the Microsoft Home Page. That is where any such announcements would be made.

Try a search engine like Altavista. Entering BUDSAVER.EXE into Altavista got me a list of 90 info sites -- all about the hoax of the BUDSAVER.EXE

What angers me most about the Virus Alert Virus is that it uses the generosity and caring of its victims to get itself spread on. The people who pass on such email alerts usually have the best of intentions, but the people who invent them are careless or malicious pranksters.

Thwart the little buggers, please. Educate yourself about viruses, spread accurate information about viruses, inoculate all your friends against the Virus Alert Virus. The next time you get a Virus Alert, check it out, send the results back to the person you got it from -- and Just Say No.


Chainletter Appeals to Help

This, to me, is the most despicable kind of hoax. Most con jobs take advantage of the greediest aspects of human nature -- these hoaxes take advantage of the desire to help, to act as a community. And they damage that.

Please read this page on such hoaxes, including the Jennifer Mydek chainletter, and the American Cancer Society's response to that hoax.

Remember that any honest charitable agency has many ways to contact you directly and ask for your help. The next time you get a chain letter, Just Say No.

"Let That Be Your Last Chainletter"

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