Savvy Computing:
Arming Yourself in the Virus War

December 2003
by Reid Goldsborough

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They’re a scourge upon our land. It’s difficult not to catastrophizethe virus problem. Computer viruses, worms, and other forms of malicious code have become so prevalent that the government, which typically acts only in response to disasters, has begun to act.

One of the latest threats involves the release of viruses in e-mail attachments that, if you open them, tunnel their way into your e-mail address book. There, they harvest the addresses they find and use them as both the To: and From: addresses of outgoing e-mail, propelling themselves out to an ever-widening circle of potential victims.

So even if you’ve taken precautions by buying and keeping up to date antivirus and firewall software, by regularly patching Windows’ security flaws using Windows Update, and by refusing to open e-mail attachments unless you’ve confirmed what they are, so long as your e-mail address is in the address book of someone not as vigilant, it will seem to others that the infected e-mails are coming from you.

And if you haven’t taken the precautions you should, you could be left with a hard disk without any data or programs. Or you could wind up with a huge telephone bill resulting from a virus “dialer” using your computer’s modem to phone numerous long-distance numbers. Your computer’s motherboard could even suffer damage.

Crisis Stage Conditions

The situation has definitely reached crisis stage. One of the worst of the recent virus attacks, b…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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