Okay, here's how they work. Someone sends you an email with an .exe attachment which contains a virus (.exe files are program files). Many other different file types are also questionable. .vbs, .js, .doc; .scr; .bat, .cmd, .exe, .pif, or .zip. for example.
You open it and there is some cute message. Meanwhile the virus gets into your system and depending on the programming will cause all manner of problems.
The way many viruses get spread is that they read your address book, and send a copy of themselves to everyone in it; or everytime you send out an email, the virus will copy it and attach a copy of itself. The point here to remember is that you can receive a virus from your bestfriend, your sister, or your neighbour. I can't tell you how many times I have read emails from people saying that they would never open an .exe file from a stranger but it's okay from someone they know. Just yesterday I read somewhere how an entire family had their hard drive crash due to a virus except for one who refused to open the .exe file.
Here are your options.
1. You can decide never to open an .exe file that arrives in your inbox.
2. You can write back to anyone who sends you an .exe file and verify that they sent it to you and verify what it is.
3. You can open the .exe file on a floppy disk and scan it before you open it.
What do I do..... I never open .exe files that are sent to me unless I have received word from the person sending it that it is coming. I usually verify it with them first before opening it. And then I think it over very carefully. I never open any .exe files with cute names.
Viruses are a frightening internet reality. My advice....get good anti virus software. From my travels on the internet, the two most talked about are
Free Anti-Virus Protection!
Use our unique offer - AVG 6.0 Free Edition. Download, install and use AVG 6.0 Anti-Virus system to reliably protect your computer and data free of charge. Free Updates! We develop AVG continuously by adding new viruses into the virus database,as well as new functions and features. All these improvements can be downloaded by clicking on Updates.
I have also found a good online scanner at PC Pitstop
Find a good Virus newsletter and subscribe. McAfee has one. I read the names of all the new viruses carefully everytime one of these arrives in my inbox. The next one will have a lot of the same names but by trying to memorize the names and remembering them I have successfully stopped viruses from infecting my machines.
For the latest info on viruses:
More tips to come.....
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