- Don’t open “spam” or unknown emails or attachments – delete them instead.
- Check with your friend over the phone if you receive an email from them with
an attachment you weren’t expecting – verify they did intend to send you the
email/attachment, to make sure it wasn’t a worm sending it instead (many
viruses/worms/trojans are sent from people unaware they’ve been infected).
- Obtain the latest patches for Windows, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express
to plug the many security holes and vulnerable exploits found in these programs.
- Un-hide file extensions. This addresses the problem where Windows by default
likes to hide the extensions of filenames; ie "susie.jpg" shows up as just "susie".
The danger is that "susie.jpg.exe", which is an executable program, would be
shown as "susie.jpg" which many would mistake for just a picture. This is
potentially very dangerous and confusing.
In Windows 95 / 98:
- Open Explorer
- Under View menu, select Options
- Check "show all files"
- UNcheck "hide MSDOS file extensions that are registered"
- Click OK to finish
In Windows ME / 2000 / XP:
- select Start Settings Control Panels Folder Options
- select the View tab
- check "show hidden files and folders"
- UNcheck "hide file extensions for known file types"
- Click OK to finish
…or follow this illustrated guide: www.granneman.com/techinfo/windows/showexte
IMPORTANT EXCEPTION: Even after you unhide the extensions using the
above steps, you still cannot see certain hidden extensions for files ending with
.shs, .pif, and .lnk (blame Microsoft for its infinite lack of wisdom).
Unfortunately these files are executable, and are rapidly becoming the most
popular choices for many trojan horses, worms and viruses, such as
"Movie.avi.pif" which will look like "Movie.avi", and
"LIFE_STAGES.TXT.SHS" which will look like "LIFE_STAGES.TXT". Instead
of being a movie and text file, respectively, they are both dangerous programs.
Again, unless you know where the file you are getting comes from or who sent it,
do not download/accept, or open it.