First ask yourself: “did a genuine computer security expert send this alert to me?” If your mother-in-law forwarded a chain-letter alert to you, which came from her dentist, who got it from a podiatrist, who got it from his secretary’s daughter, who supposedly received it at college directly from a janitor who works at IBM…
Then ask yourself: “does it urge me to forward it to everyone I know?” Genuine experts won’t ask you to participate in a chaotic email distribution scheme.
Then ask yourself: “does the email offer a link to an authoritative details page?” Email alerts shouldn’t go into detail about an alert. Rather, it should summarize the threat and provide a link to a “for more info” page hosted on a well-known computer security website. But beware! Some hoax alerts provide a generic link to a respected website, to make you assume that website contains important information about the (hoax) virus. A genuine alert will contain a direct link to information about the threat. If it doesn’t, then you should chide the sender for failing to give you accurate information.
- FAQ: How often does virus hysteria occur?
- FAQ: How can I reduce the spread of hoax virus alerts in my company?
- FAQ: How can I spot a hoax computer virus/worm alert?
- FAQ: I received a virus alert from an authoritative source. Should I forward it to my friends?
- FAQ: My friend forwarded a hoax email to everyone. What can I do to help my duped friend?
- FAQ: Why are we so addicted to antivirus updates?
- FAQ: Why do reporters focus on pointless trivia when they write about viruses & worms?
- FAQ: Why do we constantly update antivirus products, yet only occasionally update anti-hacking products?
- FAQ: Will ‘cyber-terrorism’ occur in the near future?