Beware of strange email msgs LO28454

From: Don Dwiggins (
Date: 05/10/02

Replying to LO28394 --

At writes on "living a clean computing life":
> I also do not open any attachment to even a familiar email message, unless
> it has the extension ".txt"

Sigh; even this can be problematic. One virus spreads by masquerading as
a ".txt" file. Its actual name is something like "lifestages.txt.shs".
Windows "helps" you by supressing certain extensions like ".shs", making
this file look like "lifestages.txt" in the Explorer (not sure how it'd
look in Outlook -- I never use it). Unfortunately, .shs files, when
opened, will run scripts contained in them -- for example virus code like

Even if you choose the Explorer setting not to hide extensions, these
particular extensions will still be hidden. Thus does Macrohard take care
to keep any potentially confusing information from your tender eyes
(again, sigh...).

[Host's Note: Yikes! This seems to be particularly bad design. ..Rick]

My personal approach to attachments is to only open those I'm expecting,
in a message from the person I'm expecting it from. If it's an unexpected
attachment, I'll call the person and ask about it.

Also, when I get a suspicious-looking message, I'll pick a phrase from its
subject line or body and search for it with Google, adding the word
"virus". Usually I'll get a hit on one of the virus-checking program
sites containing information about it.

> My own fourth line of defense is to avoid using Macrohard's
> applications.

I take a similar approach when possible. There are other mail readers,
some of which don't have Outlook's vulnerabilities, and browsers such as
Netscape (or its open source version, Mozilla), Opera, etc. While less
expensive of your time than turning to other operating systems like
Macintosh or Linux, they still require an investment of one's time to
find, install, and learn.


Don Dwiggins "The truth will make you free, but first it will make you miserable" -- Tom DeMarco

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