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Dear friends,
 
This is VISWANATHAN, one of the moderators,  writing to you all about some important computer virus information that will be helpful to you!
 
Since last few months, there has been a lot of computer viruses going around.
 
Since February 2004, after the arrival of 'MyDoom' series of viruses, the Internet has become
a place of large scale confusion and misunderstanding.
 

This page is to help you to know a little more about how these viruses work and how to avoid your being irritated with your innocent friends for no reason from their side!


 1. How these viruses act?
 
These viruses act in a particular method.
 Suppose careless@hotmail.com  has a PC which is affected by such a Virus.
 Now without careless@hotmail.com's knowledge, this Virus will create a new e-mail message.
 
It will pick up one of the e-mail ID from his address book and put it in the FROM: field of the message.
And attach the virus itself to the message.
 
And then send this message to all other e-mail IDs in the address book.
 
All this without careless@hotmail.com's knowledge.
 
Now let us say, the virus picked up innocent@yahoo.com  as the From: address.
 
And it is sent To: Abdu@rediff.com, Balu@hotmail.com , Carole@yahoo.com , Devi@whatnot.com etc.
It can also be sent to tecnetkwt @ yahoogroups.com, kefgroup @ yahoogroups.com etc.
 
 The message as it arrives their mailboxes will all look as though coming from innocent@hotmail.com.
  
i.e. The e-mail will look like this:
 
*******************************************************
From: innocent@hotmail.com
To: Abdu@hotmail.com
 
Attach: (TheVirus.ZIP) or something like that.
 
Message:
Hi, Here is your document!
 
*******************************************************
 
In fact, innocent@hotmail.com   has no part in this e-mail transaction.
 
However, the recipients will all get an impression that this virus is being sent from innocent's PC!
 
What a sad situation!
 
 
Recently, many of my friends have started complaining that they get virus mails from me. While nobody can ensure that they will never send any virus, I DO always try to avoid getting caught by a virus and sending it to my friends.
After every such complaint, I thouroughly check and recheck my systems to  make sure there is no virus.
 
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THERE HAVE BEEN NO VIRUSES SENT FROM MY PC, AT LEAST  DURING THIS LAST SEVERAL MONTHS!
 (as on 23rd July 2004)
 

 


 2. How to avoid these viruses?

It is very difficult to avoid these viruses.

However, there can be some ways to limit the injuries to the minimum. The best method is prevention and extreme vigilance.

 

A. Be careful when you open attachments! 

Do not open attachments that end with extensions such as .pif, .scr, .vbs etc. If you find these extensions are not the ones we normally use (such as .doc, .xls, .ppt, .pps, .htm, .jpg etc.),. Chances are that these may be actually viruses.

Even when you see a normal extension like .doc, .exe etc, be sure that these are sent KNOWINGLY / INTENTIONALLY by the sender.

 

Even if, seemingly, the sender is a friend of yours, PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT HE IS MENTIONING ABOUT THIS ATTACHMENT specifically in the mail.

 

B. Send your attachments with a personal touch! 

 
One way to send clearly clean e-mails with attachments is to PERSONALIZE the e-mail.
 
For eg: see the mail below:
 
From:viswaprabha @ yahoo.com
To:  myyahoogroup@yahoogroups.com
 
Message:
Hi,
This is Viswam from Farwaniya, kuwait. Aachi is fine. I am attaching a file ( Aachi'sphoto.jpg ) etc. etc.
(My personal words: Thrissur, Hamming, GECT)
 
Attach:
AachiDSC0113.jpg

 
Here, you will find the words viswam, aachi, farwaniya, hamiing, GECT, Thrissur  etc. No Viruses will be able to make up such words, because these are all very personal to me, identifiable to you and yet different from an electronic address book. Viswam is different from viswaprabha.
 
 
 

C. Watch out for familiar types! 

Most of such viruses come in a particular fashion. Mostly they are 20 to 70 KB in size. Their attachments will be ZIP, DOC, VBS, SCR, PIF etc. The actual message and heading will be only a few words such as "your info", "Thanks" etc. As you keep getting such mails, please try to get familiar with  their style so you know when they arrive!

D. Keep a good Virus Scanner and UPDATE! 

Many believe that they have a good trustworthy anti-virus scanner in their PC. In my experience, I have not seen any PERFECT anti-virus software so far. Even if you have the best, you MUST configure it in detail and you MUST KEEP IT UPDATED on a daily or weekly basis.

With my experience, I would say, the best antivirus is our own common sense and ability to discrete good from bad!

 

There are many more strategies to avoid viruses in your PC. Hope I will add more to these as the need arises and if i can get some time.

 

-Viswam