Anti-Virus Software: Get your antidote!
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Can worms bite your mailing lists?

If you manage e-groups or e-mailing lists, there are folks under your care who are worried about their computers getting infected by viruses and worms that are crawling around the Net at the speed of light. Some might even ask to be removed from your list, motivated solely by this fear. How valid are their concerns and what can you tell them to reassure them?

If you manage a newsletter type of list, such as one that sends church news to members, make it a requirement that the few people who can send out the newsletter use virus protection software on their computers. Communicate this safety precaution to the members of the list and explain that the only way for viruses to spread is for computers to not have this protection. Assure them that because of your newsletter-writers' safety measures, any viruses that subscribers get are coming from elsewhere.

If you manage a list to which any member can post, there's a real danger that you will be the unwitting carrier of internet diseases. It's your responsibility to educate members on the need to install protection software. Everyone should have protection. All computers should come pre-packaged with it, if you ask me. Some do. But way too many people remain vulnerable. As webmasters, we have the opportunity to raise people's awareness about the importance of protection. Hmmm... I haven't done it yet; now that I've said this, I'd better get to it, huh!

The better quality out-sourced mailing list servers provide some built-in protection. They typically block some viruses, but they do not automatically block attachments from going out to lists.  Any virus that attaches itself to email is therefore not detectable until someone opens the attachment.

We should educate our users about never opening attachments unless they are sure they understand what it is and why it's being sent to them, AND we should strongly recommend that they install virus detection programs on their computers to block viruses from getting through. We could also include at the bottom of every letter: "Have you updated your virus protection today?"

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