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
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?"
Use your site to post links to protection
your anti-virus software:
real, what's a hoax?