Viruses, Worms, and Other Bad Things
The list software used by Boy Genius has certain provisions for protecting subscribers from computer viruses. However, we cannot guarantee that nothing malicious will ever make it through to the list. This page contains tips on protecting your computer from infection, and dealing with the threat of viruses in general. Please note that this list is not comprehensive; if you have a tip or trick that you think should be included on this page, please contact us with it.
Virus Warnings That You Receive Via Email
All of us at one time or another has received a message from an associate containing a serious-looking warning about the latest, greatest virus that is making the rounds. These messages typically come with the instruction "Forward this to everyone you know, so we can get the word out!". How should this be handled? Sure, it could be a hoax, but wouldn't it be better to warn people just in case? After all, it's only one message.
Unfortunately, most virus warnings that are circulated via email are, in fact, hoaxes. As a matter of fact, any message that says "Forward this to everyone you know!" is probably a hoax, whether it's talking about a virus, or rousing opposition to a senate bill outlawing wheelchairs, or warning you that Bill Gates is monitoring your fabric softener usage.
In addition, it's not 'just one message'. You forward the message to ten friends, and then they forward it to ten friends, who then forward it to ten friends. Pretty soon there are a thousand messages bouncing all over the place, all warning of a threat that doesn't exist.
Before you hit the send button, do a little research. Libraries of known hoaxes are available from Symantec and MacAfee, as well as many other sources. Search these sites for the warning that you received, and confirm that it is an actual threat before forwarding it on. If you can't find the warning on the site, and you are a subscriber to a Boy Genius list or one of our customers, forward the message to us and we'll look into it for you.
Keeping your computer virus-free is not difficult, with the right tools and the proper procedures. Here are a few basic tips for protecting yourself. For further information, see the MacAfee Tips Page.
- Use Anti-Virus Software - There are many brands on the market, and we can't recommend one over the others. These programs make your virus protection automatic, scanning incoming email (or any other program, for that matter) and protecting you even when you're not paying attention.
- Keep Your Virus Definitions Current - New viruses are introduced all the time, and your anti-virus software needs to know about them. Most anti-virus software packages include a subscription-based definition update service, which periodically updates your software automatically.
- Assume Attachments Are Infected - If you receive an email message containing and attachment from anyone, even someone you trust, confirm with that person that they sent the message intentionally. If they did not, discard the message without opening the attachment. If they did, scan the attachment for viruses before opening it, just to be safe.
- If you download any file from the internet, scan it before opening it - Check your anti-virus software's help file for information on doing this.