The Worms Crawl In...
Date Added: Sept. 2, 2001
Probably one of the most dreaded effects of an e-mail worm on its victim is the embarrassment of having all your friends and family instantly know you were gullible enough to get infected. Protecting yourself only takes a little bit of common sense. Too bad this incredibly popular preventive technique completely misses the point.
From The "Putor Tutor"...A Way To Stop Sending Viruses
This is a good idea and very easy to do... Trick your address book!
I received this from a friend of mine today... and it sure makes sense.
Thought maybe some of you would want to do this, to help avoid passing on those email virus's (Worms) that we get sometimes, with no knowledge that we have them!
It's time to STOP this from happening by TAKING CONTROL of your email program!
For those who are unaware, many computer viruses spread themselves by sending themselves to everyone in your address book. Well, if you want to avoid this sort of thing, here's a great tip:
This tip won't prevent YOU from getting any viruses (you have to scan those attachments yourself before opening them to do that), but it will stop a virus from latching onto your address book and sending itself out to others.
To avoid spreading computer viruses, create a contact in your email address book with the name : 0000 (or similar) with no email address in the details. This contact will then show up as your first contact in your book. If a virus attempts to do a "send all" on your contact list, your PC will put up an error message saying that:
"The Message could not be sent. One or more recipients do not have an e-mail address. Please check your Address Book and make sure all the recipients have a valid e-mail address."
You click on OK and the offending (virus) message would not have been sent to anyone. Of course no changes have been made to your original contacts list. The offending (virus) message may then be automatically stored in your "Drafts" or "Outbox" folder. Go in there and delete the offending message.
Problem is solved and virus is not spread! However this does not mean the virus is not still on you computer and needs to be properly removed. Try this and pass on to your email contacts. The more people that use this technique, the less vulnerable we will be to viruses that spread in this manner!
Virus Protection The following was sent to me by a friend who's taking computer classes. I've already done it, out of an abundance of caution. You might want to do the same. I receive and sent a lot of email, sometimes and in order to protect my friends, I have learned a computer trick, that's really ingenious in its simplicity. As you may know, when/if a worm virus gets into your computer, it heads straight for your email address book and there, thus infecting all your friends and associates.
Well, this trick won't keep the virus from getting into your computer, but it will stop it from using your address book to spread further, and it will alert you to the fact that the worm has gotten into your system. Here's what you do: first, open your address book and click on "new contact" just as you would do if you were adding a new friend to your list of email addresses. In the window where you would type your friend's first name, type in AAA in the window below where it prompts you to enter the new email address, type in "/ym/compose?To=Worm_Alert@skyenet.com&YY;=83070ℴ=down&sort;=date&pos;=0". This is a bogus non-working address. Then enter, OK, etc. Now, here's what you've done and why it works:
The "name"AAA will be placed at the top of your address book as entry #1. This will be where the worm will start in an effort to send itself to all your friends. But, when it tries to send itself to AAA, it will be undeliverable because of the phony email address you entered. If the first attempt fails (which it will because of the phony address), the worm goes no further and your friends will not be infected. Here's the second great advantage of the method. If an email cannot be delivered, you will be notified of this in your inbox almost immediately. If you ever get an email telling you that an email addressed to the Worm_Alert could not be delivered, you know right away that you have the worm virus in your system. You can then take steps to get rid of it! Feel free to pass this trick along to your friends.
The method as described will indeed produce precisely the results the letter claims (i.e. preventing a message to all entries in your address book from being sent) in most popular e-mail programs - including Microsoft's Outlook Express, the most common target of worm attacks. However, this advice doesn't take into account characteristics of most worms: Those that use your address book to send themselves out randomly select victims. Very few worms send themselves to all your contacts in order. Still more worms don't use your address book (or e-mail program) at all. Some worms get their victims from incoming and outgoing mail or addresses you come across (e-mail, web sites, newsgroups, etc.) while you browse the Internet. Some worms use a combination of attacks.
Newer versions of this chain add the caveat that some e-mail programs won't allow you to create an address book entry without a properly formed e-mail address (e.g., email@example.com).
Point to make: Some email programs won't allow you to make a new contact without an email address associated with the name, so I create a ficticious addy like !firstname.lastname@example.org to apply to those email programs.
NEAT, HUH? Share this with those on your email address book! They'll appreciate this tip!
Whoever added this part knows even less about e-mail than the author of the original misinformation. Adding the fake "@novirus.com" negates the entire purpose of the trick. With an e-mail address (real or fake) your e-mail program will successfully send a message to multiple recipients. The copy to the bad address will probably be bounced by your post office, but otherwise all the other messages will send without incident.
Where did this tip come from? Early versions credited the "Putor Tutor." Though my search turned up several sites that claimed to be the "Putor Tutor," most were general computer help, Q&A;, or HTML and web site design advice sites, and none claimed responsibility for this chain.
This "cure" only treats the symptoms, not the real affliction. Worms are somewhat of a "social disease" that prey on the gullible and unitiated. They will continue to spread until people become smarter and safer e-mail users. Responsible computing is your only true defense. Relying on e-mail warnings and misinformed tips to protect yourself from virus or worm infection is foolish at best. True peace of mind is inexpensive and easy to install and maintain. Read "Protecting Your PC" in the Chain-Breaker's Library for real ways to prevent unwanted access to your data. Break this chain!