Dealing with Spams & Virus

The US Gov't passed a law Jan 1 20044 making SPAM illegal.. a lot of good it has done everyone.. no lessening of the volume that I can see, as a matter of fact it is getting worse every day. I personally spend a minimum of 1 hour a day trying to battle these mails. The resources it uses that you are not even aware of (on the computers that accept and pass these mails around) is astounding..

Then lets talk Virus', they make everyone paranoid, most are really harmless, just a pain in the behind, but then there are those that are malicious, the latest allowing outsiders to use YOUR computer to send more SPAM!!

Below are some basic rules to follow to help this entire situation.

Please all comments on this should be sent private to me at [email protected], I WILL answer all your questions ASAP.

Debbie

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SPAM Emails......

First rule of thumb NEVER EVER reply asking not to email you with this junk again. This simply confirms to the spammer that your address is valid and they sell it to their spammer friends. Just delete the mail with no further action.

If you subscribe to mailing lists, post to message boards, fill in forms online for email notices for anything, make a separate screen name (user name), hotmail or yahoo address to handle those mails.

IF you know how to properly read the mail headers, you can TRY to complain to the spammers connection, but that is usually useless, as they use stolen accounts to send the mails and sometimes break into peoples computers via a virus mail to send.

To keep from getting spams, NEVER EVER click those pop-ups.. (like my husband who just HAD to smack that stupid weasel thingie - her got slammed with spams after that). Make sure you use the CLOSE X in the top right of the pop up, or better yet close that window without clicking by holding down the ALT key and tapping once the F4 key on the keyboard -- this is a great trick when those pop ups come faster than you can drive your mouse around.

NEVER EVER click any link in a mail without looking to see where it is going. Most email programs will pop up or show in the status bar where the link leads.. just "hover" your mouse over the link and either the pop up will show you or the bottom left of the window (status bar) will show you where the link leads. If the web site is unfamiliar or shows a bunch of numbers, do not click it. Look over the entire link carefully and make a decision based on what you see there.

Never EVER click a link in an email that implies it needs you to do so to verify your information for your.. PayPal account, bank account, etc., UNLESS you just subscribed to something at a web site YOU ASKED to be included on. 

NEVER EVER give your password to anyone by email or IM for ANY REASON.

NEVER EVER click those emails that says you just received a greeting card from someone you do not know.

DO NOT forward chain mails to anyone.. if it sounds to good to be true.. it is.. 99.99999% of the time it is a hoax.

How to tell if it is SPAM before opening the mail --

The following are GUIDELINES ONLY - your mileage may vary but not by much :)
If the subject line..

Spam filters -- Many ISP (including AOL) are now implementing Spam filters. Sometimes these are difficult to use, some do a horrible job, some are fairly efficient. However, the spammers are fully versed in these filters and are on constant vigil to stay one step ahead in their spamming efforts. It is an unending battle to put it mildly. If your email account has filtering use it. If you don't understand the settings, call the provider and have them walk you through it. 

Spam Blockers -- I can not and will not recommend any particular stand alone spam blocker for email programs, for a number of reasons, but most importantly is because I am unfamiliar with them. If anyone has had good results let me know and I will look into it. 

Pop up Blockers -- Basically same comment as above but additionally, there are some useful pop ups that I would be afraid these tools will block.

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Virus Emails......

There are so many sophisticated virii around, each one behaves in a completely different manner. Most come with an attachment, so you need to very very careful when handling emails with attachments.

The nosey and curious will get infected every time!

Many Internet providers are now running virus protection on the computers your mail passes through on it's way to your IN box. This is a major step in stopping this problem. If your provider has a virus filter great, but that doesn't mean YOU don't need one. If your provider does not run a virus filter, call or email their tech support and ask when they will institute such protection. If your provider offers Virus filtering, there is usually no intervention on your part.

You MUST be running a virus prog at all times, it MUST be set to scan email as it comes into AND leaves your computer.. you MUST keep the database for the virus prog current, updating at least once a month if not more frequently. Check the settings to allow the program to do automatic checks for updates.

NEVER ever open an email with an attachment unless you are absolutely sure it is OK.. how do you know that?? IF you know the person who sent it.. email or call and ask what did you send me? If you do not know the person.. then just don't open it.. I don't care if it says Pres. Bush sent it.. I don't care how URGENT the subject line appears to be.. just don't!! Attachments to be especially cautious with will end with : .exe .bat

If you do not open the mail and just delete it, you should not become infected. If you do open the mail and DO NOT click to open or run the attachment most of the time you are OK also. However.. be aware there are several viruses that just by the mere fact of you opening to READ the mail you can become infected.

In that case I highly suggest if you run MS Outlook or Outlook Express, you should make sure you have the newest version and the latest security release AND make sure you have the setting so that it will NOT automatically open or run any attachments or "scripts" (that's the ones that will infect by reading alone).

http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/  <<-- Microsoft Update site
http://go.microsoft.com/?LinkID=275654
  <<--Stay notified of new updates

If you do not have a virus prog, then you can do a free virus scan online at
http://www.antivirus.com
 
Click HOUSE CALL on the top right
Just follow the instructions there, I use it all the time.

--or--

http://www.norton.com/cgi-bin/securitycheck.cgi 
Run the security and online virus clicks there.

Most of the current virii FORGE the FROM address, so keep in mind just because the email SAYS Mary Smith sent it, chances are she did not. Most infected computer owners have NO IDEA they are infected. Trying to contact them usually is fruitless because their email box is full. If I can determine the infected person, I try to contact their provider and ask them to get in touch with their user to help get them clean.


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