Email virus + address book hoax?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Guillaume G. from Melbourne, Florida writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently stumbled upon an article that claims to cease the propagation of email viruses if a certain entry is added to your address book (contact list). The original article was written in French, and roughly translates to the following:

' In your address book, create a new contact with the name 0000 or 000*0 or 0_00 without letters, without an address and without any other details. This contact will be installed as the first on your list. If a virus should attempt to send a message to all addresses on your list, it will start by trying to send it to that first contact (0000). Because the first entry does not contain a valid address, your computer will generate an error message. The virus will be stopped in its tracks without having contaminated any other addresses. '

My question is: is this a workable, trustworthy tip or is it a trick? "

My response:

The notion is entertaining, however, it is nothing more than a hoax. The only way to stop a virus from infecting your system is to ensure that you have implemented the following 3 safety measures:

  1. Keep your system patched with Critical Updates from Microsoft. Critical Updates will ensure that your system is protected against dangerous exploits that may permit certain types of viruses to propagate.
  2. Install an anti-virus program. And most importantly, ensure that your virus definitions are up to date!
  3. Install a firewall program. Good firewall software (such as ZoneAlarm) is capable of alerting you if a program is engaged in suspicious activity and is illegally attempting to access the Internet (such as an email virus).

The topic of securing a PC is so vitally important these days, that I've dedicated more than half of my new PC Security guide to explain much of the above topics in great detail. The methods described in the guide are tried and tested, cost absolutely nothing, and are the same methods I implore on my own PC.

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