Would you turn the key in the lock to let a hungry tiger into your home? Of course not!
A computer virus sent to your In-Box as an attachment is as lethal as any tiger at the door. The key to keeping it out is in your hand: your computer mouse!
Do NOT click your mouse to open the attachment if it has a filename extension matching the warnings below.
The secret to overcoming a virus is to
DELETE it before it overcomes you!
Be careful of attachments in all e-mail no
matter where it comes from or who sends it
or how interesting the subject line is or
whatever language it pretends to be.
is going around all the time in Spanish.
you open it, the laugh's on you!
Do not open an attachment if you do not
recognize the extension or if it looks like a
normal extension with something extra added.
Delete that e-mail immediately!
If the extension (three-letter suffix) of a
you are safe. These extensions do not carry
Do NOT open files with the extensions:
or any other file with an unfamiliar or unusual
These extensions apply to Windows, not only to PCs running Windows,
but also to other machines with emulators, such as a Mac running VirtualPC or SoftWindows.
Also, look out for filenames with
DOUBLE extensions such as .txt.pif or .jpg.vbs, for example. The REAL
extension is, by definition, what's tagged on to the end of the filename,
so .txt.pif is NOT a .txt file but a .pif file, just as .jpg.vbs is not a true .jpg but is actually a .vbs file!
Rule of thumb:
DO NOT OPEN an attachment if you are in any doubt of its safety. Delete it! That e-mail may very well be a death sentence for your computer!
You can't always see the real extension of a filename in
Outlook Express at least, and probably Outlook. Netscape and Eudora might be
a little smarter on that score. This is because Windows HIDES the
extension on a filename if that particular type of file is associated with
any particular application.
Example: .txt files are associated with Notepad
because that's what opens when you double-click a .txt file. The .txt
extension is "known" and therefore not shown; thus, a file called
TheTextFile.txt will be displayed simply as TheTextFile.
You can correct this dangerous fault in Windows.
Follow the procedure as suggested below by GRS.
In Windows 98 and ME (and possibly 2000):
- Double click on "My Computer"
- Go into the "View" menu / "Folder
- Hit the "View" tab in the middle.
- You will see several options just below "Advanced settings:" - about halfway down
the list there's a checkbox marked "Hide file extensions for
known file types" which you must UNCHECK.
- Click on [OK].
From now on
you'll see the full name + extension(s) of files in your computer and of attachments to e-mails.
In Windows 95 and NT 4:
The procedure is similar but the list of
options you're presented with is much simpler than that of Windows 98. The
one to choose is perfectly explicit.
People who send out viruses like W95.MTX know that Windows doesn't display the real filename extension. They rely on your short-sightedness for their virus to spread. One
of the files distributed by this particular virus is "Internet_security_forum.doc.pif" and
unless you go through the procedure described above, your e-mail client will not
display the whole filename. You will see only "Internet_security_forum.doc" which makes
you believe you have a Word (or Wordpad) file.
that under normal circumstances a .doc file doesn't display with the .doc
extension and that the icon used is either an MS-Word icon or a Wordpad
icon, ask yourself these two questions:
1) If Windows *doesn't* display known file extensions, how come I can see
".doc" at the end? ".doc" is always an extension known to Windows (if
MS-Word isn't installed, .doc files will open with Wordpad). There must be
something else *after* the .doc extension.
2) Why does the file display with an MS-DOS program icon (used to display
.pif files) rather than a Word (or Wordpad) icon? It must be some kind of
So, you see, even if you don't deactivate filename extension hiding, you
have no excuse for being tricked!
Pewit's Six Points
There are 6 new virus strains discovered daily so here are some
recommendations to avoid infection:
1. Install antiviral software - don't just use a one-off scan offered from
2. Download updates to the software and scan your entire system at least
weekly (you can usually configure this to happen automatically)
3. Always scan floppies you receive from someone else and always scan
programs (.exe, .vxd. vbx) you receive from someone else, even if you know
4. Configure your antivirus software to scan downloads automatically.
5. Check virus warnings you receive with the website of one of the major
antivirus software vendors (www.syamntec.com, www.mcafee.com). Ignore
messages purporting to be from Intel, IBM, Microsoft, AOL, CNN or any other
source other than a major antivirus software vendor - it's probably a hoax
designed to spread fear amongst the internet newbies.
6. Don't spread virus hoaxes without checking them first.