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An Ozark E-Zine

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Virus stuff has become really nasty and typical of the types of crap that are floating along with otherwise innocent emails today. These insidious covert attacks can make foul the finest computer systems... IF you fail to get yourself educated and do your part to wipe them out.

To keep your 'puter healthy, there are several things you need to know in order to keep from getting infected and to get rid of a malevolent critter if your best efforts at prevention fail.

For starters, these malicious bugs are extraordinarily unscrupulous, deceptive, and criminal with disguise, frequently appearing to be email from someone you know and trust. The way my tech-guru explains it, this is because once a system is infected, a "worm" searches through all the email addresses on an infected computer and randomly picks a "From" address to make it appear that the virus is coming from, say YOU -- even though YOU really didn't send anything and your system may be perfectly clean. Your email address just happened to be "one of the chosen" on someone else's computer.

Thus the virus/worm laden email you receive may *seem* to have been sent by your Aunt Bessie, best friend, a mail-server "Postmaster" (attached to an "undeliverable email" notification), by the "official" Webmaster of your local ISP or even by me!!! And it may contain your name or the name of someone you know in the Subject line with, perhaps, a personal invitation like "Let's be friends" or "Play this fun game" or "Important Virus Alert."

To avoid getting infected... DO NOT OPEN ANY UNSOLICITED OR UNEXPECTED ATTACHMENTS, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE EMAIL ATTEMPTS TO "auto-open." That is, when you click on an email title to preview the contents and a pop-up window immediately opens asking if you want to "open or save to disk" -- DO NEITHER!!! Click "cancel" on the pop-up window, then immediately DELETE the email and EMPTY your deleted items folder.

DO THIS EVEN IF IT APPEARS THAT THE EMAIL HAS COME FROM SOMEONE YOU KNOW!!!!! And if you have qualms about "missing something important," send a NEW email back to the source and find out if they actually sent something to you!!!

FYI: This virus stuff has, at times, created havoc with email servers just by virtue of the fact that so many computers have gotten infected within a short period of time that the millions of spurious emails generated by the infected systems over-tax host-server capabilities, causing repetitive system overloads which, in turn, can shut entire networks down.... so PLEASE do your part to stop this and all virus stuff from spreading.

You can run a FREE virus check online at Housecall -- and this utility will actually "kill" any infections. Also, McAfee  offers a free online scan, too -- however it does nothing more than tell you that you have an infection with the only recommended cure being to purchase their virus protection.

Also recommended, check out Norman where, under the "support" heading, I am told that there are  FREE downloads to fix specific virus/worm attacks.  Plus my tech-support guru recommends Symantec for more information.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK ON SPYWARE... you know, that nefarious stuff that covertly worms its way into the guts of your system so that  "big brother" can track your every keystroke. This website has some very useful information and an excellent (shareware) download called Spybot Search & Destroy -- which I have personally run on my Windows XP system with nary a hitch and excellent results!!!

Finally, a lot of folks have asked if all this malevolent virus stuff is not just a devious marketing device being perpetrated upon the public by anti-virus software vendors with the motivation of increasing the sales. Sincerely, I wish I could give you an absolutely positive answer to this question. But the truth is, until the culprits are caught no one really knows.

However, in my professional opinion it is highly unlikely that any reputable business would be willing to tread this water because the risks so greatly outweigh the potential rewards. But stranger things have happened in this screwy world so in reality only time will tell.

Until then, PLEASE install and keep updated a good virus checker. Several sources are listed below, all of which are downloadable online and some of which offer free trial offers or totally free anti-virus programs.



That you may be filled with strength and power, rooted and grounded in love that surpasses all knowledge: Be kind to one another; live with compassion, producing every kind of goodness; stand firm and hold your ground in truth, righteousness and peace; be courageous; embrace faith which is perfect trust in justice. ~Ephesians 3-6 (condensed)