Virus Information, Internet Hoaxes

Many emails are sent with warnings " Do not open this email" due to a "disastrous" virus. Most of these are found to be false. There are also " urban legends" that pop up like the fact that Bill Gates wants to send everyone $1,000, people are having their kidneys stolen, etc. Do the following and you will have less to worry about.

Antivirus software

Most common are McAffee and Norton ( Symantec) antivirus. The only way these will be successful is if they are updated EVERY MONTH. It should be scheduled just as if you are doing your monthly bills. It is quick and simple but should be done.

1. Connect to the internet

2.Open the program, click on Update or Live Update

3. Follow the simple instructions.

Some of the newer versions allow you to set this up automatically. Like Nike says: "Just Do It".

If you get a warning from someone:

Go to any of the following sites:

Snopes (

Urban Legends ( http:/

Symantec ( ) ( This site also gives you information on how to manually remove a virus if it is in your system)

Excellent reference site(

These actually make for interesting reading.

To be sure you are OK, if you spend a lot of time downloading from the internet or get a lot of email, run the virus scan after you have downloaded your new "virus definitions".

I thought I was safe.... 

Remember- always know where your email comes from. Having said that though, a recent virus (3/2000) called "Prettypark" has been sent around without the person knowing that it had gone out. It is called a worm and gets into your system when you click on a cute little picture of a kid from South Park. Nothing appears to happen, but it goes into your address book and sends itself to everyone there, without your knowledge. It does not destroy data, but does read information from your hard drive, including passwords, and sends it back to the creator. You are not a great risk as the creator will get back several thousand answers and is looking for a " big hit" like a large commercial organization or a bank. The antivirus software should catch this ( although McAffee did not in my case). If you do not click on the little kid, the virus does not start. Just delete the file. More information on prettypark is at