E-mail-distributed viruses are very common these days. Rarely a week goes by when a warning about a new e-mail-born...
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding relevant topic offers from TechTarget and its partners. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact TechTarget at 275 Grove Street, Newton, MA.
virus is not in the technical press. I probably receive three or four e-mails every week that I suspect of carrying a virus. Fortunately, there are ways to protect you and your users from e-mail-based viruses.
First and foremost, you must have an active antivirus software product deployed on your e-mail servers and every server and client. In addition to having the software deployed, you must also keep it current with the latest virus definitions. Most reputable virus-scanning tools can detect viruses arriving via e-mail and block them before a user even gets a chance to get infected. However, if a new virus arrives that is not listed in the virus definitions, a virus scanner will do you little good.
The second element in protecting yourself is a policy against opening any e-mail attachments from people users don't know. To take this a bit further, users should also avoid opening e-mail attachments from people they know when they were not expecting to receive a file by e-mail from them. Some companies have taken the extreme measure to strip off all attachments on in-coming e-mail before the message even arrives at a user's desktop. While this method will prevent most e-mail-delivered virus infections, it also severely limits the usefulness and productivity of e-mail in general. You may consider establishing a company policy to use an FTP site to transfer files instead of attaching them to an e-mail message. That way any attachments that make it into your inbox are automatically seen as threats.
The third element in protecting yourself from viruses delivered by e-mail is to learn how to recognize funny e-mails. A funny e-mail is any e-mail that meets one or more of the following criteria:
- The message is from someone you don't know.
- It includes bad grammar in the subject or body of the message.
- It is humorous, friendly, campy in nature, but it is from a professional contact.
- You receive multiple copies of the same e-mail from the same or different people.
- The subject and/or body is blank, but there is an attachment.
- The message is very short but stresses or encourages you to view the attachment.
- The message indicates it has sent a file you requested, but you don't remember making the request.
- The message claims the attached file is about earning money, pornography, a greeting card, a music file, a screen saver, etc.
If you suspect that you've received a funny e-mail, delete it immediately. If you know the person who sent the message, contact them and inquire if they intended to send you an e-mail with an attachment. If so, find another way to obtain the file. If not, you probably just saved your network from a serious virus infection.