I want to write you to warn you about an email threat that has been going around a LOT recently - unless you're very lucky, you've probably seen this one.
This one is a pretty big risk, but like a lot of the computer threats these days, they can so sneaky that you'll never know they're happening. Let me tell you how to know if you might be at risk from it.
It's called the “Storm Worm", and it's been going around since January of 2007, but has gotten a lot worse since the beginning of June.
It has a lot of variations, but the way it's been working recently is you get a piece of spam (junk email) in your inbox that says that you've received a greeting card, or an ecard, or something similar from a someone. Sometimes it's supposed to be from a friend, sometimes it's supposed to be from a company like Hallmark.
Whatever exactly the subject line reads, the email tries to get you to click on a link to view the card.
If you get an email like that, do NOT click on the link!
If you have clicked on a link in an email like that, I strongly suggest you get it looked at by a professional, because your computer could be infected even if you don't see any signs of it, and even if your antivirus software doesn't see it.
Fortunately for Mac users, you don't have to worry too much, because at the time I write this (August of ‘07) there still are no viruses or worms for Mac.
But you should still be wary of emails like this just in case, because we can't assume that Macs will always be safe - although it's probably a safe bet that they will be a lot safer than Windows PCs for the foreseeable future!
What the Storm Worm “greeting card" does is infect your computer and make it part of something called a “botnet". This is a growing problem these days.
A botnet is a network made up of infected computers that - without the user even realizing it - will do things like send out spam and viruses, or group together to attack web sites.
This is done for profit by criminals who hire virus writers to do their dirty work.
So if an unexpected email comes from an unknown source, be careful! And be especially suspicious if the link in the email starts with a bunch of numbers instead of a regular website name.
So take care, keep reading, and make sure learning more about your computer is a top priority - not only will it keep you safe, but it will help you have more fun too!
I cover tips like this in a lot more detail on my CDs, especially my Safe and Easy Web & Email video lesson course, where I'm able to show you a lot more than I can fit into these emails. You can also learn more on my special report “How to Avoid 7 Common & Costly Computer Mistakes ".
Worth Godwin is a computer coach with a dozen years’ experience helping computer users of all levels, and has also worked for many years “in the trenches" as a hardware and software tech, solving real-world computer problems.
Worth has also been studying the human mind, and how people learn, since the early 1990s. He draws upon all of this, and his English and writing degrees, to teach people in a unique way with explanations that really make sense.
In 2006, Worth began putting his easy lessons together on computer training CDs, carefully designed to make it easy to learn both basic computer skills for Windows and basic computer skills for Apple Mac at your own pace, for an affordable price, with a system that really works.