Why do I keep getting e-mails
telling me I've been sending e-mail viruses to other people -
usually folks I've never even heard of - although I know my
computer isn't infected?
A: This is happening often
lately, and it is a corollary to another common scam - the fake
virus warning that appears to come from your e-mail provider's
technical support staff. These things happen because it's easy for
a malicious programmer to "spoof" anyone's e-mail address.
An estimated 90 percent of e-mail worms automatically scan contact
lists and other files on an infected person's computer to hunt for
e-mail addresses. The worms not only send themselves to those
addresses, but also churn out infected messages that appear to be
from the addresses.
As a result, if you get an e-mail out of the blue that seems to be
from someone you know and that has an attached file, there's only
a 50-50 chance it's bona fide, according to Vincent Gullotto,
Network Associated Inc. vice president for the McAfee Anti-Virus
Emergency Response Team.
If such a message gets detected and rejected by an e-mail networks
virus-protecting software, the blocking system will fire off a
response to the purported sender - something along the line of
"Hey, you sent us a virus!"
The problem, of course, is that when an e-mail worm is on a
rampage, millions of spoofed e-mails get sent, generating millions
of these automatic replies from virus protection systems. So even
if your computer stays clean, your inbox can fill up with messages
relating to the virus.
So what should you do?
Don't worry about the messages - as long as you subscribe to a
virus-protecting service and you make sure it keeps itself up to
date. The program should tell you the last time it got a new list
of Internet's top threats.
For added peace of mind, have the program scan your computer every
so often (frequent Internet Users should do it at least once a
week) to make sure nothing untoward has managed to sneak in.
Taken from a question and answer column someone sent in from
What is Waterford School District doing to help prevent virus outbreaks and
A: Waterford Schools has Anti-virus software
running on all client computers and the e-mail server. The virus definitions are
updated once daily on all computers if Symantec releases updates.
The district e-mail server automatically scans all incoming and outgoing e-mails
for viruses and removes the virus from the e-mail if found. (However new viruses
may make it through if the virus definitions have not been updated to scan for the
specific virus) What this means is that a worm may send you an e-mail, but our
system will remove the virus attachment but you will still receive the rest of
the e-mail. There might be an attachment put in it's place called
Deleted0.TXT which will inform you that the server removed the virus. We
cannot delete those e-mails since some viruses attach themselves to
legitimate e-mails which people are waiting for.