Do NOT open attachments on any Microsoft Windows system

For years, we have been warning users not to open email attachments on any Microsoft Windows system, even if they knew the "sender", unless they knew ahead of time the contents of that particular email.

Recently, we were horrified to learn that some of our users have tried to open an attachment on an email claiming to come from JLC.

Lest there be any doubt, JLC email to customers never contains attachments. If you receive an email with attachments claiming to be from JLC, you don't even need to call and ask: it's a forgery!

We have been making this warning sterner and sterner as more and more viruses are being spread by forging email addresses of persons you regularly communicate with.

With the advent of the MyDoom virus, we believe the time has come to say it's never safe to open an attachment on a Microsoft Windows system, even if it's from your boss and he's on the phone threatening to fire you if you don't open it.

(Yes, we know you're going to open it under those circumstances, but it's still not safe.)

For anything short of that, you should practice saying, "What part of No don't you understand?"

At JLC, we simply never open an attachment on a Microsoft Windows system. When we feel it's worth looking at one, we open it on a Unix-like system (such as Linux, FreeBSD, or Macintosh OS-X).

If that option isn't open to you, you should minimize the number of times you open attachments, and understand it's never safe.

You will be receiving forged emails claiming to be from people you regularly exchange email with. These are obviously unsafe. Even if you have the latest update of anti-virus software, you will occasionally receive such emails with new viruses that the anti-virus software has not yet been updated to recognize.

If your email correspondents are even slightly careless, you will sometimes receive email actually from their computer, with subjects that they have used in previous emails, nonetheless containing a virus they are not aware of. There is every reason to believe that such events will become more common in the coming months.

The MyDoom virus has hit upon a social-engineering sore point. It is designed to cause a "distributed denial-of-service" (DDoS) attack on a company which is suing various open-source software companies over extremely dubious infringement claims. Most people (including all of us at JLC) consider such a DDoS attack unjustified, unwise, and ineffective (as well as illegal), but there are tens of thousands of individuals who are mad enough over this issue to do irrational things.

No action of Congress can possibly stop such virus attacks. We are going to have to learn to protect ourselves.

The simple rule is: never open attachments on a Microsoft Windows system. We follow it at JLC. Our support folks will be happy to discuss what measures you can take to also follow this rule.


Last modified on 28 January, 2004 Valid HTML 4.01!

Contact JLC Support at (603) 673-6132 for more information.

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