How To: Detect Internet Worms

Your anti-virus software can't always detect new worm viruses, which are transmitted so quickly across the Internet that thousands of computers can be infected before even the anti-virus software developers are aware of their existence.

Internet worm viruses often take the form of an unexpected email containing an attachment and a badly-worded exhortation to open it However, it's easy to detect them yourself and avoid infection by using the software between your ears! By following a few simple steps you can detect most email-borne worm viruses.

Remember, most worms are activated by running a program or opening a Word or Excel document containing macros. This is usually attached to an email and disguised as a document or image file. The worm is only activated when you open the attachment, so the text of the message usually asks you to do that.

So here's what to do. Whenever you receive an email that contains an attachment, ask yourself:

"Do I know the person who has sent me this message with an attachment?"

"Was I expecting to receive the attached file from this person?"

"Does the text of the accompanying message look as if it was written by the person from whom the message seems to have come?"

If the answer to one or more of these questions is "No", it's quite possible that the message was automatically generated by a worm virus. Do not open the attachment. Either delete the message immediately, or reply to the sender asking if they really sent the message and don't open the attachment unless they say they did.