TCCSA Virus Alert Definitions:

You are likely to receive numerous emails with attached viruses. Please do not click to open attachments.
You are likely to receive some emails with attached viruses. Please open only attachments that you are expecting.
You may receive a sporadic email with an attached virus. Please examine endings of all attachments for programs.
You are not likely to receive many emails with viruses attached. Still use caution with all attachments.
Don't expect this day to come until virus writers decide it is no longer fun to cause mayhem.

Common Sense Protection from Viruses
While it is true that there are real viruses sent and forwarded on the Internet it is unlikely you'll ever be victim of one if you just follow a few simple guidelines. This is not ironclad protection, but once you know what to look for your brain is your best defense against viruses and worms.

I. Don't double click on any e-mail attachment you weren't expecting.
Viruses are just computer programs. You are in control of what programs run on your computer UNLESS you give that control over to a computer program you receive as an attachment to an e-mail. If you weren't expecting to receive an attachment then it should be immediately suspect. Attachments with the following endings should be avoided at all costs: EXE, ZIP, COM, PIF, SCR, VBS, SHS, CHM and BAT.

II. If you receive an attachment that you can't identify, delete the email.
You can not get a virus from simply reading the text of an e-mail. You must run or open the attached file (by double-clicking on it with your mouse). Some older e-mail programs may give you the option to run a file automatically after download. Turn this enhancement off under the Options or Preferences menu if this is enabled on your e-mail program.

III. As a general rule, you cannot get viruses from data files.
You can safely download and view most picture, movie, or sound files as these are not programs and cannot execute code. For example, for Windows users, files with extensions .wav, .jpg, .gif, .avi, .mpg, .mov, .mp3, .rm, .ram, .mid are all data and can safely be run. Watch out for e-mails that may tell you a file is a movie file or a sound file.

Watch out for double extensions like a file with "myfile.avi.vbs" or "myfile.jpg.exe" it is the last extension that determines the file type. Never run (ie. click on) .exe files without at least scanning them, and never if they are from someone you do not know.

IV. Use anti-virus software
Install anti-virus software on all of your desktops, notebooks, and servers, and ensure their virus definition files are kept up to date. Because new viruses can spread extremely quickly, it is important to have an anti-virus program that automatically updates in order to protect all the computers in your company seamlessly, frequently, and at short notice.

V. Last Word of Advice:
If you are unsure of what kind of file it is just apply common sense and delete it!

For more information on protecting your computer from a virus, click here.

Virus Information - Here are the latest Virus Alerts from Sophos.  To learn more about a specific virus, click on the name of the virus to go to the Sophos Information site.

E-Mail Hoax Information - E-mail has become notorious as a breeding ground for hoaxes and scare tactics.  The intent, though relatively harmless, is to circulate bad information by coaxing readers to forward the warning to all their friends, relatives, and coworkers.  Before you send a warning, you should check the Sophos Hoax Library for information about the e-mail you have received.  You may be surprised!

Sophos Virus Info Page : E-Mail Hoaxes and Scares  

This page last updated on March 04, 2004