Terry Asks About A Tip To Stop Worms and Viruses From Spreading Via Email
I saw this tip on a forum somewhere (not yours) and I wondered if it's true or not? It seems logical and it's easy to do. Does it really work though? I've copied the tip so you will see what I'm referring to. Thanks! Terry.

"Here's a little trick you can use to stop the spread of PC viruses: Create a contact in your email address book with the name !0000 with no email address in the details. This contact will then show up as your first contact. If a virus attempts to do a "send all" on your contact list, your PC will pop 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 be 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 will not spread..."

Answer

Don't pass this tip on to anyone. Not only does it not work, it can give many a false feeling of security and make them lax about taking real measures (like keeping a good updated anti-virus program running on their computer at all times). There are several reasons why this tip does not work:

Email worms could care less if an email bounces. Even if the first message in your address book is fake, it will not stop the worm from continuing to send an email to every other address. Worms like SoBig.F create an email that looks like it is coming from someone else, not from you. So if you're relying on an "undeliverable message warning to alert you that you may be infected, it won't happen. The "undeliverable" message won't show up in your inbox at all; it will go to someone else entirely. Someone in your address book.

Short-cuts rarely, if ever, provide any real protection from viruses, trojans, or worms. They might sound easy and indeed logical. But, the only sure way to protect yourself is by keeping your virus protection software up-to-date, visiting http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ frequently and downloading all critical updates (most are security fixes) and using plain, old-fashioned, common sense.

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