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Did You Send Us Confidential Information This Week?

If you have not updated your virus dat files since Sunday, November 25, 2001, it is possible that you did. On November 24, a new version of an April 2001 virus swept through the Internet.

On November 27, 2001, The Los Angeles Times reported:

"An Internet worm that leaves infected computers vulnerable to future hacking by tracking what is typed on the keyboard, including passwords and credit card details, was spreading rapidly, computer security companies warned."

"The worm, called "Badtrans," spreads through Microsoft Corp. Outlook or Outlook Express e-mail programs and automatically sends itself to unanswered e-mails, several anti-virus companies say."

"The attachment, which contains the program, can be executed simply by reading or previewing it and doesn't need to be double-clicked or opened separately, experts said. The worm contains a keystroke logger that can be used to record what people type to obtain passwords and credit card numbers, they said."

"The worm, a variant of one discovered in April, has hit at least 50 countries, with most of the infections in Germany, Great Britain and the United States."

McAfee reports, "Once running, the trojan attempts to mail the victim's IP Address to the author. Once this information is obtained, the author can connect to the infected system via the Internet and steal personal information such as usernames, and passwords. In addition, the trojan also contains a keylogger program which is capable of capturing other vital information such as credit card and bank account numbers and passwords."

Your Confidential Files

Over the past few days, we have received HUNDREDS of emails from computers that are infected with this virus.

Without your knowledge, many of you have sent us personal files from their computer. One was a confidential psychological evaluation by a psychologist of a child who was expelled from school. Fortunately, Pete knew this psychologist, called him, and alerted him. Until he received Pete's call, he did not know he was infected by the virus.

How to Prevent Problems

Fortunately, we have never had a computer get infected. Why?

First, all our computers use the McAfee VirusScan Online program with ActiveShield running in the background. Every morning, each computer automatically goes to the McAfee site and updates the Virus Dat files. This means that our Virus Dat files are updated every day.

Second, although we receive many attachments to emails, we rarely open these attachments. Most incoming mail with attachments is deleted.

When we open an attachment, we know what it is and are expecting it. Even so, we save the attachment to a floppy disk. Then we go to the www.mcafee.com site and use their online program to scan the floppy disk. After we do this and know the attachment is not infected, we copy the file onto our hard drive and open it.

Finally, we go to the www.mcafee.com site often and have their system do full virus scans of our computers by checking all files and all directories.

If you want to surf the Internet and open emails, you need to take these preventive steps.

People whose computers get infected go through nightmares when they try to get rid of the viruses. And they have probably infected many of their friends.

What can you do now? If you have a virus program installed, go to your virus software website and update your dat files. Do a full virus scan of your computer.

If your program has expired and you cannot update your files, consider installing virus scan software like that offered by McAfee or Symantec's Norton. Use their automatic update feature. Each has a free trial period.

We use the McAfee VirusScan Online program because it automatically updates the virus dat files every day. The cost is $24.95 per year - a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Use a program that updates your virus dat files automatically, without you having to remember to do this. For folks like Pete who have problems with forgetting, distractibility, sequencing, irresponsibility, impulsivity, etc. McAfee VirusScan Online is wonderful! x

For more information, go to
http://www.mcafee.com/
http://www.symantec.com/


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