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A Dispatch

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December 15, 2004

'Tis the Season...

...to be infected by viruses. Fa la la.

Sure, it's hard to resist an email message whose subject line wishes you a Merry Christmas (or may appear to have been forwarded to you). But if you don't recognize the sender right away, put on your spam warrior flak jacket and helmet. One of the latest worm attacks (called Zafi-d) uses the holiday greeting to entice victims to open the message and the attached "postcard" file. If you open that file without the latest antivirus protection, you've just handed over your computer to the Bad Guys.

That's probably not a gift you intended to give this season.

(For the stand-your-hair-on-end details, check out the Sophos description. Click the Advanced tab to see the various Subject: lines and messages for this particular virus.)

Opening unexpected file attachments (even when the message is From: somone you know) is among the most dangerous things you can do with your computer (after dropping it out the window onto someone's head). Imagine that each such file launch is like sticking an unfolded paperclip into a wall power outlet. Zzzats the picture!

Posted on December 15, 2004 at 07:24 AM