Didja ever get an email warning about a virus that destroyed your
friend's hard drive? How about an email beta-test offer from Bill
Gates or AOL? Thinking about chipping in a few cents of someone
else's money to save a dying kid? Well, check out these
hoax - chain letter - legend - offer emails before you go any farther.
And then check out this
to it all from my brother :-)
Now, there's really no reason why all of these should continue to
tear around the 'net -- except for everyone's jumping on the
bandwagon. I admit that I've been gullible myself a time or two,
so this is just a polite collection of 'net resources that can help
you figure out if that email you just got deserves to be passed
around or just passed.
What do you care, you ask? Well, *I* certainly care, and so I think
everyone else should, too. But decide for yourself. Sure, all you
have to do is hit the delete key if you're not interested, right?
Perhaps, but what if you start getting more junk mail than desired
mail? [I'm not even going to go into the issue of unsolicited
commercial email, or spam. For more info on that, try
cauce.org, a good place to start.]
So maybe you *like* getting lots of mail and don't care about
that problem -- but what about the unnecessary panic when a fake
virus warning goes out? Or what about the impact on someone else,
like the American Cancer Network, when erroneous information is
carelessly spread? This is one more time everyone needs to "think
globally and act locally"!
Here are a few lists of sites that can help you weed out the junk
and figure out what's going on. They're all worth visiting, even if
they're not listed for the category that interests you at the moment;
I've tried (well, a little, anyway) to list them all under the
appropriate categories, but I may have missed something here or there.
Do you need antivirus software? CAI used to offer a free version but
that's no longer supported. GRISoft,
though, now does; they figure that home users are the biggest problem
for corporate networks and so they offer a basic version free for
home use. Just surf over to
and get your copy today. Pretty cool! Running Linux like I am?
Then instead surf over to
and get your free virus (and trojan and worm) scanner for Linux
personal use! :-) I have also heard of a free home version of Avast!
at http://avast.com/ but have not yet
Don't forget firewall software, too. While Win XP comes with
built-in firewalling (which I have not tried and on which I don't
comment either way),
ZoneAlarm works on all versions of Windows and does an excellent job
of securing your system. Surf over to
to download their free version. [They also have various add-ons in
their priced versions that might interest you.] ZoneAlarm and Kerio
are reviewed at
By popular request, I'll also report what I know of adware / spyware
/ trojans. It isn't much, since my answer is not only "don't run
Windows" but also "don't surf with scripting turned on", but it's a
little. I hear that SpyBot Search & Destroy and LavaSoft's AdAware
are the two best programs for cleaning your system and keeping them
clean. URLs forthcoming when I get a chance (feel free to send them
to me!), but Google certainly should be able to help you. Even more
help is surfing over to
where they are reviewed.