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Social Viruses

The other day, an acquaintance had sent me an email with the following content:

How to protect your e-mail address book

A computer repairman says this is like having gold.

This is a good thing.
I learned a computer trick today 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 sends itself to everyone in there,

Thus infecting all your friends and associates…

It went on from there, detailing a scheme to foil malware through the creation of a fake email address in the very beginning of your address book.

The sender, in all fairness, sent this to me to vet before he passed it on to everyone he knew – that was the unusual part.  Normally I receive these emails as a part of a mass-mailing, delivered as Gospel Truth by some well-meaning friend.

First of all, I NEVER forward ANYTHING that was sent to me in a mailing list – especially if it says “Send this to everyone you know!”, even if it threatens me with bad luck!  I know that the purpose of these messages is to cause well-meaning but gullible people to clog up email systems and bring mail servers to their knees. They play on one’s sense of guilt, sympathy, or sense of humor to encourage you to do their dirty work. They NEVER have any other purpose.

On those rare occasions that some new message actually tempts me to pass it on (and this can happen to anyone who is not paying attention – these are designed for it!), I know I can Google the subject or the first line of the message to see what’s REALLY going on.

One of my favorite resources is SNOPES.COM. A Google search of a message like the sample above will almost always turn up a hit from Snopes.  Read what they have to say – it’ll generally cure your momentary weakness. And if the sender is a friend, you might want to send the URL for their particular message back to them.

If you are interested, the information on the above message is right here.

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