Email Viruses & How to Respond

Virus Alerts Not True (
Wed, 04 Nov 1998 22:40:29 -0800

E-Mail Viruses

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:

  1. If you ever read a mail message and you get a warning that alerts you that the mail contains macros, make sure that you select the option to disable macros before you continue.
  2. If you ever receive a mail message from someone you do not know and that mail contains an attachment, do not open the attachment till you have made sure the attachment does not contain a virus. There are programs on the market that can be used to check such things.

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: