Spam that infects your computer

This really isn’t anything new–I’ve long suspected spam was using ActiveX controls to infect computers with spyware and other unpleasantries, but now a spam message that infects your computer when you opt out is gaining publicity.The usual advice applies. Turn off the preview pane in Outlook/Outlook Express, if you must use a Microsoft program at all to read mail.

Install a spam filter. I used POPFile. Outclass allows POPFile to work with Outlook, even in Exchange Corporate Workgroup environments.

Consider getting a Yahoo mail account, or, if you ever happen to get an invitation, a Gmail account. They filter your spam for you and do a pretty good job, in my experience.

If spam gets through, don’t even open it. Tell me, why would any legitimate e-mail have a subject line like “Drugs online no prior prescription needed?” Or “Gen.eric Vioxx, Gen.eric Am.bien, Gen.eric Paxil, and more?”

And of course, get an antivirus program and keep the virus definitions up to date. Newer antivirus programs are even starting to detect and eliminate spyware, finally.

One person told me he reads and responds to all spam, because if he didn’t, he wouldn’t get any e-mail. If you or someone you know reads spam out of loneliness, that’s curable too. Install a spam filter and then fill the void by going to Yahoo Groups and look for an active group on something that interests you. I think every single time I’ve gotten interested in something or someone’s asked me a question, I’ve found a Yahoo group that pertains to it. The person is almost guaranteed to learn something, and chances of making some new friends are pretty high.

One thought on “Spam that infects your computer

  • September 23, 2004 at 9:38 am
    Permalink

    I use SpamBayes for spam filtering. I haven’t had a spam make it through in four months, and I’ve had only one false positive. (Which, in retrospect, was technically spam — a board registration notice.)

    SpamBayes can be found at http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/. It’s an Outlook 2000 plus plugin or it can function as a proxy for your POP3 server.

    The best part about the opt out infection is that it is perfectly legal. The CAN SPAM act only requires that an opt out link be present – it doesn’t have any requirements as to what that link does or doesn’t do.

    I use Outlook because I pretty much have to. I have ten years of emails in Outlook PST folders and I’ve yet to find an utility that converts those emails reliably and cleanly. (Curiously, my current side project is an Outlook synchronizer which could easily be converted to an Outlook converter. At least the MBX format is somewhat standard.) I’m not sure I’ll be able to move away from Outlook though as we’re now moving to an Exchange 2003 based mail and collaboration server.

    Pity me. 🙂

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