Some hints to lessen virus threats, spam

8:34:40 AM CDT - Thursday, May 13, 2004

To lessen your computer's vulnerability to viruses or worms, Steve Dickerson of UCATS offers a number of tips. The tips apply to those using PCs, the prime targets. Macintosh and Linux machines, which make up a smaller market share of personal computers, are usually not targeted.

  • Continue to schedule updates for your computer's antiviral software and Windows operating system. UCATS has a limited number of licenses for two antiviral software programs, Norton and F-Prot, for those who need that protection. Call 978-4357.
  • If you use Windows XP, turn your firewall on. A new service pack update, to be released in the future, will make this a default action, but until then, you will need to select this setting.
  • Use a password to access Windows. Make sure it includes one capital letter and one numerical number. In one recent campus attack, the virus looked for about 150 typical, simple passwords.
  • Delete and do not open attachments from a sender you don't recognize or from whom you were not expecting such an e-mail.

    To cut down on the spam in your inbox, UCATS offers these suggestions.
  • Don't respond to unsubscribe requests unless you know it's a valid, legitimate sender. If you reply to an e-mail being sent from a spammer, you've just confirmed that this is a valid e-mail address and it will be distributed to other spammers.
  • If you use Lotus Notes, you can set up a junk folder, similar to those offered by other e-mail providers. Go to the rules option under tools and set up guidelines to move mail meeting certain conditions into that junk folder.

    Marguerite Schmidt from UCATS advises users to be cautious about setting up rules that automatically delete mail meeting certain conditions. It could cause legitimate e-mail to be deleted. She strongly advises dumping those messages into a junk folder first so that you can later determine whether to delete them.

óBy Amy Geiszler-Jones

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