(1/29/2002) Once again, a real virus threat has spawned a flood of e-mailed warnings that resemble the hoaxes. Unfortunately, true or hoax, most e-mailed virus warnings miss the point.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
W32.Myparty@mm is a mass-mailing email worm. It has the following characteristics:
Subject: new photos from my party!
My party... It was absolutely amazing!
I have attached my web page with new photos!
If you can please make color prints of my photos. Thanks!
The worm sends email to all contacts in your Windows address book, and to email addresses that if finds in the Outlook Express Inboxes and folders.
In addition, the worm sends a message to the author so that the author can track the worm.
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Most of the e-mail warnings I have seen about this one are excerpts from virus news articles, but the source is most often dropped (the above is from Symantec, makers of Norton Antivirus). Some give only the warning with no helpful information such as how to protect yourself or cure infection. Others give bad advice - just ask all the poor souls who inadvertently deleted an important system file because a warning told them to.
Here's my rant: Relying on anonymously forwarded e-mail messages to protect you from viruses is akin to hiding from an assassin's bullet behind a plate glass window. The only reliable way to protect yourself from viruses on the Internet is to install anti-virus software and keep it updated. The software is inexpensive and well worth the investment for the piece of mind. You'll never have to rely on a forwarded warning again. Check out our list of the most popular anti-virus manufacturers. If you are unwilling, unable, or just too cheap to buy virus protection, Trend Micro's free House Call online virus scanner still provides more protection than e-mail warnings. Break this Chain!