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By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2003-06-02 Print this article Print

But seriously, folks. Its very easy to teach even a kid how to avoid infecting most systems with viruses in e-mail attachments. So why isnt this message getting out? Because getting hit with a virus is considered acceptable. Too many people have taken the attitude that viruses are going to happen, and theres nothing you can do to stop them. This isnt true, but many people use it as a convenient excuse for their mistakes.

Obviously, we need to do a better job educating users, but we also need to remove the mystique that surrounds viruses. Virus victims need to realize that many viruses wouldnt exist without them and their careless use of their e-mail accounts.

It doesnt take a whole lot of effort to change. First, users need to be suspicious of the e-mail they receive. If you dont know who its from and the subject is generic, delete it. If there are multiple versions of the same e-mail, its most likely a virus or spam. And never, ever, open attachments that you werent expecting. If you think its something important, double-check with the sender.

When coupled with a good virus scanner, these simple efforts can keep most users from becoming victims of viruses that are doing little more than taking advantage of their stupidity. I follow these basic procedures, and I havent had an e-mail-born virus infect one of my systems in more than five years.

So lets change our attitudes and our tactics. Lets get out the word that most of the time, when people get viruses, its their own fault. Stupidity is nothing to be proud of.

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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