Virus warning: do not panic!

Subject: Virus warning: do not panic!
From: Alessandro Bottoni <albo -at- CADLAB -dot- IT>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 1997 10:05:44 +0200

Regarding the virus warning sent by Howard Rauch, please note:

1) To make any damage, a virus has to get the control of your PC, that is: it has to be executed. An e-mail message will never be executed by your PC because it is just a text file (ascii or rtf, but a text file in any case), not a program.

2) The same happens with trojan horse: they need to be hide inside an host program that will be executed on your PC.

3) There could be just one kind of executable objects in a e-mail message: a program attached to the message as executable file or as compressed file.

4) So, if you do not de-compress and/or execute the file attached to the message you receive, you are safe.

5) Of course, there are many good antivirus on the market, both against "normal viruses", "trojan horses" and "Word macro viruses". Just give a look to these sites:

6) The well known "Internet worm" that infected the Net a few years ago trough the electronic mail was not able to infect and/or damage the end user's PCs but just the provider's server.

It worked in this way:

a) On internet, there were (and still there are, somewhere) a few sendmail servers working in "debug mode". The debug mode allowed the sendmail program to read and execute the command received with the messages. It worked in the same way of listsrv daemon: you send a command to listsrv with an e-mail message, listsrv execute it and send back some results.

b) a truly idiot man sent a "virus" program to a few sendmail servers. The program instructed the server to delete files on the disk and to send a copy of itself to all the addresses recorded in the server's address book.

As you can see, this kind of worm is more an Internet service provider worring than an end'user worring.

I hope this will make you feel something better.

Of course, do not understimate the risk: there DO are many dangerous viruses around. Install a good antivirus and check every file you receive, both on diskette or via e-mail.

Alessandro Bottoni
Technical writer
Cad.Lab SPA
Via Ronzani 7/29
40033 Casalecchio di Reno (Bologna)
Tel Int+ 51-597357
Fax Int+ 51-597120


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