Safe Email Usage
Published March 2000

Email can open up your world, minimise both isolation and communication costs, and be quite safe as long as you follow a few basic rules.

Email is the most common means of computer virus infection. Infections can only be spread through mail with executables attached (that is programs usually ending in the suffix .exe) or by mail with documents attached that may have macros in them. Therefore it is safest not to ever open or run attached files with your email that may contain macros or programs. If you do decide to accept such files Ė always, always, run an up-to-date virus scan over them before opening (or running) the file.

Graphic files such as .jpg .bmp .gif or plain text documents such as .txt and .rtf can not be infected by viruses.

Microsoft Outlook ( the mail program which comes with Internet Explorer) can be affected by some email viruses as it may open mail and run macros automatically. If you have access to another mail program it can be a good idea to use it as Outlook is often targeted by virus makers.

I use Pegasus which is free and written by a Kiwi. Version 4.31 for Windows is available for download here 5912kb.

It is also a good idea to use a variety of signatures, ensuring that you donít hand out your home address, or telephone numbers to people that you donít know. Keep that information for business transactions and people you know. Use a signature with just your email address for extraneous communications.

This page last updated on 15/01/2007 13:02

© Glynne MacLean 1999 - 2004

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