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Re: [nafex] Computer health/viruses/attachments
Two things that might help. Members send text items IN the letters as text,
and have a separate site where pictures can be downloaded for viewing by
anyone who wants to see them. That eliminates need for attachments pretty
>From: "Greg Miller" <email@example.com>
>Subject: [nafex] Computer health/viruses/attachments
>Date: Sun, Jul 29, 2001, 3:00 PM
>It seems that a rather nasty virus was recently posted to this list as an
>attachment. Like many modern computer viruses, it is activated when the
>attachment is opened. The problem (and the solutions) come down to a
>convenience vs. security question.
>In the past you had to actually RUN an attachment to activate the virus,
>but many of the "improvements" to the Windows operating system that
>improve ease of use make the system vulnerable to certain types of
>attachments. In the past certain DATA files were merely associated with
>an executable file on your computer; now there are macro, script, and
>information files that in many respects act as executable files, so that
>"opening" what might seem to be a data file actually runs a PROGRAM that
>in some instances can carry a viral payload. Automatic running of files
>is VERY convenient, but potentially dangerous.
>The question is what to do.
>Ban the person who posted the attachment?
> Temporary suspension might have some merit, but I'm not inclined to
>permanently ban anyone as typically these messages are not deliberately
>posted to the list. In any event I can't monitor all postings in real
>time, and much of the damage can potentially be done before any suspension
>is accomplished. As an aside, hopefully some of the energy generated in
>replying to this problem was channeled into notifying Kevin that the
>problem existed (I did, but 3 days after the fact.)
>No attachments to the list?
> Tom Olenio suggested this idea, and it has some merit, but there comes
>that convenience factor again. Some group members (including one very
>active member) participate primarily through email alone, so accessing a
>web site is either inconvenient or unworkable for a variety of reasons.
>Also, accessing the web site takes some additional effort (which will
>certainly exceed some subscribers threshold) and will result in less
>replies to a "what's eating my plant?" type question.
>**I am however, inclined to give this one a try after a suitable period
>for those OPPOSED to voice their case for leaving as is.**
> Hmmm. The world has changed in many ways, and in many places you
>can't leave your house or car unlocked, or set down your wallet and expect
>it to be there when you come back. The internet is one of those places,
>but it's even worse than the real world because people you know and trust
>can be duped into causing you harm without ever implicating the original
>I would advise everyone to check out the many resources on the internet
>about viruses and security. Here's a brief summary of what many of those
>sites will say. (IF you have questions, search those sites for more info!)
>1. Beware of any email attachments that you are not expecting. Typically
>viruses will contain generic message like "here's that info you wanted" as
>opposed to "here a photo of what's been chewing the terminal leaves of my
>Granny Smith apple" along with other descriptive info. On the flip side
>when you are sending an attachment, refer to its presence in the body of
>your message, and do something to "personalize" the message specifically
>for the recipient.
>2. Beware of convenience settings in your operating system and email
>programs. This is especially true if you use the mainstream programs like
>MS Outlook, which virus writers will sometimes specifically target because
>of its broad user base. I have the "Hide file extensions for known file
>types" unchecked in Windows Explorer, and I NEVER enable macros or
>automatically open attachments even from someone I trust, because there
>isn't a need for me to do that. Less convenient, way safer. I also use
>an email program other than MS Outlook--Pegasus email in my case (it's
>still free!) or Eudora are two I would recommend.
>3. Be security conscious. A virus program that runs in the background is
>a good start (but only as good as the last update!) and I would also
>recommend a firewall program like ZoneAlarm (www.zonelabs.com) which
>monitors OUTGOING traffic (good for Trojan horse programs). And way down
>on the convenience scale, and one that is good for computer crashes (where
>I learned the lesson) as well as data distruction by viruses, is regular
>computer back ups--especially for data!
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