Hit or Miss

Some good advice on how Outlook/Express users can alert themselves to a virus and help prevent it from spreading…

As you all know, if/when a worm virus gets into your computer it heads straight for your email address book and one address at a time, sends itself to everyone in there, thus infecting all your friends computers
too.

This simple little trick won’t keep the virus from getting into your computer, but it will stop it from using your address book to spread further, and it will alert you to the fact that the worm has gotten into your system.

Here’s what you do:

Open your address book and click on “new contact” just as you would do if you were adding a new friend to your list of email addresses.

In the window where you would type your friend’s first name, type in !000 (that’s an exclamation mark followed by 3 zeros). In the Display name window it should by default say !000 too.

In the window below where it prompts you to enter the new email address, type in: WormAlert.

Then complete everything by clicking add, enter, ok, etc. You will get a warning that this doesn’t appear to be a valid Email address, Choose use anyway..

Now, here’s what you’ve done and why it works: the “name” !000 will be placed at the top of your address book as the very first name. This is a default property of DOS which sorts files by Characters first, then numbers, then alphabet.

This will be where a worm virus will start in an effort to send itself to all your friends.

When it tries to send itself to !000, it will be undeliverable because, “Worm Alert” (the phony email address you entered) is not a valid address.

If the first attempt fails (which it will because of the phony address), the worm goes no further and your friends will not be infected.

Here’s the second advantage of this method:

If an email cannot be delivered, you will be notified of this in your InBox almost immediately. Hence, if you ever get an email telling you that an email addressed to WormAlert could not be delivered, you’ll know right away that you have the worm virus in your system.

You can then take steps to get rid of it…

Via Janos Gereben‘s mailing list, a fascinating mix of Opera reviews and technology news. He experimented with a blog for one day (and I offered him some advice), but it didn’t seem to suit his style. As soon as I can find out from him who to specifically credit for this advice, I will…

1 response so far (Respond)

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FYI: Virus reports aren’t usually their forte, so take this with a grain of salt, but Snopes did a review of this procedure and suggested that it might not work for all worms. So, you might want to proceed with caution.

Chris | 28 Sep 2001