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What To Do About...
Warnings in Your E-mail

(This often applies to Hoaxes as well)

Get Anti-Viral: Protect Yourself !

Has a friend or relative ever sent you an e-mail warning that some terrible virus/trojan/worm will soon destroy your computer? How about an e-mail offering you money ' if you send their message to all your friends right now ' ?

Here are some things that you (and everyone else!) should do:

  1. Do NOT (and I cannot emphasize this enough!) forward the message to everyone you know!

    There have been numerous FALSE virus warnings on the Net (and "hoaxes" abound!); do you really want to help people, or just add to the confusion?

  2. Reply immediately to the sender asking them how they verified that the warning (or any other undocumented information) is real.
    Here's a brief example of the points you could include:

      Thank you for warning me about the _______ virus.
    Obviously you have good intentions, but since there have been
    so many false e-mail warnings and hoaxes on the Internet, how
    do we know this one is real?
      Even the CIOs of some corporations have been 'taken-in' by
    rumors, so I simply wish to confirm the facts.
    Can you please send me a link with info about this new virus?
    (Some anti-virus company should already have data about it!)
    I'd like to have some reference to pass along as verification
    before telling anyone else about it.
    Appreciate your time and concern.

  3. Study these pages from other sites for reference to the virus name you were warned about (or a hoax name related to the subject title); hoaxes have been flying through e-mail servers for years, circling the globe over and over again, so I recommend that you begin your search with the "hoax pages" -- you'll likely find variations in the wording between any warning you received (if it turns out to be a hoax) and recorded copies of the original from long ago:

    Note that all links to other domains will open in a new window.

    Computer Virus detection + removal Guidelines:

    Virus Hoaxes, Myths + Scares links:

  4. If you do identify the warning as a hoax, then direct its sender to the site(s) where you found it. But please do not embark on a writing campaign trying to inform everyone on the Net!  (The only people who really need to hear from you are those whom you may have already told yourself and obviously the person who passed the hoax along to you!)

    Any message which contains something like, "please send this to all of your friends," should be thought of as a "chain letter." And as far as most ISPs and Routers are concerned, these are often worse than any SPAM ads, because they have a tendency to never die out! Without proper controls, such as a closing date after which no one should relay a message, people simply keep on sending these chain letters!

  5. If the sender writes back with a reference, but it is from some magazine, newspaper, or local "virus expert," then realize that this does not actually verify that the virus exits! (It's a definite lead, but they may have been deceived by a cleverly written message themselves.)

    The bottom line here is that only someone who spends time researching viruses, and has tested this particular virus on a computer, can actually be trusted as an authority on it.

    Too many people "cry virus" whenever anything they don't understand happens on their computers! Verification must come from a recognized Anti-Virus authority.

Further Comments from The Starman

I've had this page here for years, and quite frankly it's starting to bug me that so many people who should know better continue to use their e-mail programs UN-wisely! Not only do they pass along rumors without ever checking them out; or, ask me LATER and then have to admit to others they goofed, BUT far too many users are opening executable file attachments (actual VIRUSes!) without ever thinking about the damage it might do -- EVEN AFTER they've been warned! Why?! The author of one of the last big e-mail worms to hit the Internet said something like: 'Well, if they opened an attachment and ran it, that shouldn't have anything to do with me; it's their fault for doing so!' I have to admit that I kind of agree with him when it comes to all the people who REALLY DO KNOW BETTER! I mean, come on... Why, for example, should someone who 'claims' to be an upright moral person, even think about opening pornographic picture attachments?! The only legitimate purpose might be if a trained PC tech were trying to find out how a virus/worm operates for an Anti-Virus company, or similar reasons. If not, then in effect, they really did get what they deserved didn't they? FOR ALL OF the NEW Internet computer USERS: I may have a great deal of sympathy for YOU depending upon your particular situation and circumstances... To help YOU out further, read my page(s) here on "Surfing the Net Safely".

Just remember: Don't Open E-mail Attachments or run any programs from un-reliable sources[*] without a very good reason to do so (!) and you can avoid almost all of the REAL viruses 'out there' today!
[*] Even a good friend can be 'very unreliable' when it comes to computer viruses! And most of the infected file attachments sent by e-mail today are actually sent by the worm itself to everyone in some friend's address book! So what looks like an e-mail from a friend may often be a worm/virus that he doesn't even know about yet.

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