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Stopping Viruses from Propagating Through Your Email


By Deanna Lilly

When you install Microsoft Office, or another office suite, they often come with an email client, or you may use an online email mail program.  More often than not, the default option for receiving mail is set to open your mail automatically within 5 seconds.  The problem with this setting is that even before most of the mail is downloaded to your email client, you could have received and spread   a virus infected email — that means it is spreading before you can blink.

There are a couple of simple things you can do to stop this from happening.

You can turn off the automatically opening of email. Click on TOOLS in the menu bar, scroll down and click on OPTIONS. Click on the READ tab. Deselect (remove) the check mark next to mark messages read after 5 seconds.

You can also set to receive all email in text only format… that means that when you receive your email it is visible as text — no graphics are opened or loaded until you click on the option to view as HTML.  This set up option is different for every program but you should be able to find out how to set it by searching for “text only” or “read as text”.

Then.. for safety sake (when using your computer installed email client), create a dummy email address that prevents any email from escaping.

Set up a new contact with the first name of 0 (the number zero) and the last name of 0 (the number 0). then DO NOT put an email address in the email section. For those of you who have email programs that require an email address you can create a fake using this: —@— (dash, dash, dash @ dash, dash, dash) … this is taken by most email browsers.

When someone or something tries to send to all accounts it gives you an error message stating this email could not be sent because the first email is the group or list was not a good email address.


Email Links

Never click on an email link.  Often there will be a link (for convenience) to your account in an email.  If you put your mouse over the link, you should be able to see where the link will take you. That information is usually displayed in the lower left corner of the window you are using.   It’s fine to open links from a person you know, who has told you they are sending a link to something.  If you receive notice that you need to log into your account (bank, Facebook, PayPal, etc.) always log into the account from your browser, never use the link in the email.  Spoofers are getting very good today at making phishing emails look legitimate.  When you log in you will see the notification, if it was legitimate.

  1. Note the user name John Vaughtn , but the email address is actually
  2. When you roll your mouse over the click here link, note the address where the link is taking you.
  3. Never follow this kind of link.
  4. In many cases, once you follow this type of  link information can be put on your computer to track where you go and also to steal your address book.  You may even notice your computer slowing down because of the information it’s sending all over.


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