I'm sure you have all received e-mails warning you of dire consequences if you read an e-mail whose subject is "Good News!" or "AOL4FREE" or "Win a Holiday" or something like that. These are *hoaxes* intended to damage free communication by making people afraid to use e-mail. When you consider the time wasted reading and forwarding such things, they are as destructive as the real thing.
It is not possible -- NOT POSSIBLE -- to get a virus by just reading an e-mail, unless the e-mail contains a macro or attachment that you then execute.
Here are two simple rules that, if followed, will protect you from any e-mailed virus:
You should also be aware that both Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word have a built-in macro checker that will automatically alert you to the existence of a macro in a file that you open as long as you do not disable this function.
The next time you get one of these hoaxes, don't panic. And, instead of forwarding the email to all your friends, please reply to it with this article to help educate and stop the unnecessary panic.
For more information on virus hoaxes, try these sites: