Contact Assistant Webster
© 2002 AFHS
4 Jun 2007
Safe Computing, E-mail & Browser
Gensoft - March 2001
Safe Computing, E-mail Tips
& Browser Tips
by Allan Cole, DistGen Manager
- More than 56,000 virus threats exist today
- Physical and Hacker Concerns
Parts to a virus program
- reproducing itself to spread
- timer/counter - when will it deliver its payload
- payload to be delivered
Types of Viruses:
- Boot viruses: place their code in the sector whose code the
machine will automatically execute when booting. When the machine
boots, they load and run. After they are finished loading, they
load the original boot code, which they have previously moved
to another location.
- File viruses: attach to executable program files in such a way
that when you run the infected program, the virus code first executes.
After the virus is finished loading and executing, it loads and
executes the program it has infected.
- Macro viruses: attach their macros to templates and other files
in such a way that, when an application loads the file and executes
the instructions in it, the first instructions to execute are
those of the virus.
- Companion viruses attach to the operating system, not files
or sectors. In DOS, when you run a file named "ABC",
ABC.COM would execute before ABC.EXE.
A companion virus places its code in a COM file
whose first name matches the name of an existing EXE.
You run ABC, and the actual sequence is ABC.COM,
- Worm: moves on the back of other files and tries to move from
computer to computer and may contain all or just some of the parts
of the above virus
- Trojan Horse: instantly delivers payload when run
Virus Information Libraries
These are not just harmless pranks. There are a lot of viruses out
there. And then there are some viruses that aren't really out there
at all. Hoax virus warning messages are more mere annoyances. After
repeatedly becoming alarmed, only to learn that there was no real
virus, computer users may get into the habit of ignoring all virus
warning messages, leaving them especially vulnerable to the next real,
and truly destructive, virus. These are still viruses in that they
proliferate through people spreading the false warnings. Be sure to
check out the warning and not spread these messages. You will not
be doing anyone a favor by distributing these messages. Go to these
sites to check out such warnings.
- Make regular backups
- Be sure to keep 3 or more backup copies and rotate the backups
- To test the backups procedure, test you can actually restore
from the backup
Magnetic fields are a killer of diskettes (fridge magnets, telephone
ringers and other motors)
- Attack or snoop from the Internet
- Use a Firewall if using any of the high speed connections (Cable
ZoneAlarm is a free firewall program for personal use
E-mail Addresses are made up of a unique Userid on a specific Domain
Name, e.g., e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org where:
- xxx is the User ID
- @ is a separator
- yyyyy.zzzzz.ca is the Domain Name
to which the Userid is registered
Purpose of Email
- Since the purpose of e-mail is to communicate, be sure that
you are communicating
- Write in a manner that the reader will understand and is not
- Use of shortcut notation is only to be used with people who
understand such notation. Go to www.netdictionary.com/index.html
for a shortcut dictionary if you get stuck on what someone put
in a message to you. Some examples are: FYI (For
You Information), IMHO (In My Humble Opinion),
and AUP (Accepted Use Policy)
Using the Various E-mail Fields
Send a message to a business associate and a copy to your lawyer,
but the business associate need not know that the lawyer is to get
a copy. Put the business associate's email address in the To: field
and the Lawyer's email address in the Bcc: field.
- Separate email addresses with a comma if more than one email
address is put in any of the To:, Cc: and Bcc: fields.
- To: is for the primary address(es) - may be used by itself or
with the other fields
- Cc: is the Carbon Copy address(es) - may not be used alone,
but must be used in conjunction with the To: and/or Bcc: fields
- Bcc: is the Blind Carbon Copy address(es) - may be used alone
or with the To; and Cc: fields. A couple of examples:
Send a message to a list of people. Each person on the list does not
need to see everyone else's email addresses and in fact it is irritating
to see a page of email addresses ahead of the message.
Replying to e-mail
- The To field automatically is filled in with the sender of the
original message and can be changed to what you wish.
- Delete the part of the original message not needed in the reply
to cut down on useless information cluttering the message
- Keep the part of the message you will be replying to, to assure
there is no mistaking the original questions wording
- The header information of the original message becomes part
of the message.
- Add the email address of those who you are forwarding the message
- Add whatever you wish to the message
- Delete those parts not wanted in the forwarded message
- Filtering emails is useful to automate recursive actions, some
of which might be:
- Delete spam
- Move emails to a specific folder
- Automate forwarding
Attachments are files to send with an email
- Documents, Databases, Spreadsheets and other files.
- Questions to consider:
- Does the receiving computer have the software to use the
- Does the receiver really want the file
- Unfortunately attachments are sometimes used to spread viruses.
Be very wary about opening an attachment. If you have a good virus
program this is less of a problem.
- Lists of many email addresses to send a message to at the same
- Requires you ask to have your name put on the list - subscribe
- Requires you ask to have your name removed from the list - unsubscribe
- Each list is usually associated with a specific topic
A browser is the interface between the user and the Internet. The
two most popular are Internet Explorer and Netscape.
Surfing the Net (Internet)
- Internet Explorer uses the Address field to input known addresses
- Netscape uses the Location field to input known addresses
- Web addresses or URLs can be found in Newspapers, Magazines,
TV, Radio, Billboards... The URL (Universal Resource Locator)
is the unique address on the Internet and is in the form www.calcna.ab.ca/
- Use the web pages and click on the various hot links until you
find what you are looking for. These are usually colored differently
to the rest of the text. The mouse will display a hand when it
is pointing at a hot link.
- Use the search engines
- Be aware that some downloads are very large and will take some
time to transmit
- Put the download in a logical place on your hard drive so you
can find it later.
- Be sure that your virus protection is running before you open
- Be sure you are where you want to be
- Ensure you are on a secure connection before giving personal
or financial information
- Be especially careful about giving your credit card number
- Note - Be wary of the wording on some forms asking you to accept
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