Re: unrequested attachments may contain virus

Subject: Re: unrequested attachments may contain virus
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 1996 17:07:00 -0600

I think these unasked-for attachments that are being sent may contain
a virus.

They don't.

Viruses are out there, they're real, but they haven't done half the damage
that people are willing to ascribe to them. This is a good case in point.
"WINMAIL.DAT" is an attachment which is the brainchild of Billy G and the
boys from Redmond. It's automagically attached to all outgoing messages from
MS Mail based systems, especially those involving either NT or 95, and no
one has yet come up with a reliable way of shutting it off. Though I've seen
no small number of solutions offered, none has reliably worked. And so every
mailing list on the net is liberally dosed with these wonderful, time
wasting pieces of dinosaur excrement foisted on us by the beneficent
dictator in Redmond.

THERE'S NOTHING OF VALUE IN THE FILE!!! Just ignore it. If anyone sends you
anything in an attachment labeled "WINMAIL.DAT" then you won't see it, true.
But if your correspondent is so intellectually challenged as to send
something in a file with that name (and not explain in the message that this
is being done) then you're probably wasting your time reading the text of
the message, as well. ;{>}

General Advice (to avert his subordinate, Major Disaster):
IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS, DON'T OPEN IT! (It kind of reminds me of one
of may favorite .sig lines: "OK, so you're a Ph.D. Just don't touch
anything.") If you receive an attachment to any message, and you can't
identify what it is, you're simply asking for trouble by opening it in the
first place.

Some mail systems convert messages to attachments (mine does, for one). But
even then, those attachments are readily recognizable as text messages,
before I open them. I don't open attachments I can't identify; there's too
many loonies in the night.

In this case, I suspect what is happening is that the "WINMAIL.DAT" file is
being mistaken for something else, and the system is being corrupted, either
by trying to execute data or by another program which is getting confused by
nonsensical data.

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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