Some people still don’t understand the damage that can be done by forwarding unsolicited emails, so I’m afraid I’m getting on my soap box in the interests of minimising the spread of computer viruses by innocent people who don’t realise how this works.
I blogged about this back in December 2008 (click here for original post) and since then I have referred many people to that post to educate them about not spreading virus warnings, hoax emails and chain letters.
The salient points bear repeating:
1. It’s a hoax. It doesn’t matter what the warning or content of the message is, the goal is to get you to pass on the email.
2. Most of the heartwrenching stories about sick children are completely untrue and many have used the names of real charities, resulting in those charities having to dedicate precious resources to dealing with the resulting problems.
3. You actually increase the risk of real viruses getting through to everyone you pass these email messages on to – a real virus will often try to send itself to every email address it encounters on someone’s computer. You send a warning email to me and my email address is then present on all the computers of all the people you passed this email on to. So is yours!
4. Unless you used a private emailing method, when you pass on these emails, it’s likely you’re sharing private email data without permission and that could land you in various kinds of trouble.
5. Some people have bandwidth limits with their ISP and this kind of thing clogs up their email inbox, preventing real and important messages getting through
Click here to read the full post.
If the email has come from someone you know, you may want to suggest they come here and read for themselves why it’s not a good idea to pass these on. If you do not know the sender, or suspect they did not actually send it themselves, then don’t respond – hit the delete key straight away.
If you would like to do your bit to help educate people, feel free to use this graphic, it has no copyright on, so you can go ahead and put it on your blog or website. All I ask is that you include the link to the original blog post here: http://artylicious.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/a-slight-detour-into-cyberspace/
As I said last time I talked about this – please don’t feel bad if you thought you were doing the right thing by passing on virus warnings, etc. Everyone has to learn this for themselves as many of these emails are very plausible. In fact, they are getting increasingly sophisticated and I would urge everyone to really think twice before passing anything on at all.