Canadian Mac Forums at ehMac banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

14,050 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I received this via email from a friend.
What are people's comments on this strategy?


I learned a computer trick today that's really ingenious in it's simplicity.
Just received it from a friend. As you may know, when/if a worm virus gets
into your computer it heads straight for your e-mail address book and sends
itself to everyone in there, thus infecting all your friends and associates.
This trick won't keep the virus from getting into your computer, but it will
stop it from using your address book to spread further and it will alert you
to the fact that the worm has gotten into your system. Here's what you do:
First, open your address book and click on "new contact" just as you would
if you were adding a new friend to your list of e-mail addresses. In the
window where you would type your friend's first name, type in AAAAAAA.
Also use address [email protected]

Now. Here's what you've done and why it works: The name AAAAAAA will be
placed at the top of your address book as entry #1. This will be where the
worm will start in an effort to send itself to all your friends. But when
it tries to send itself to AAAAAAA, it will be undeliverable because of the
phoney e-mail address you entered. If the first attempt fails (which it
will because of the phoney address), the worm goes no further and your
friends will not be infected.

Here's the second great advantage of this method: If an e-mail cannot be
delivered, you will be notified of this in your In Box almost immediately.
Hence, if you ever get an e-mail telling you that an e-mail addressed to
AAAAAAA could not be delivered, you know right away that you have the worm
virus in your system. You can then take steps to get rid of it!
Pretty slick, huh? If everybody you know does this then you need not ever
worry about opening mail from friends."

Premium Member
5,247 Posts
Sounds interesting; I have no idea if it will work (ie if any type of "virus" will stop if it cannot deliver the first message). My guess it it won't, but then again, I have never had a virus (in 9 years). That's without any AV software on my computer.

However, it may help if you know the following:

You have a Mac. This eMail is intended for Windows users.

There is really no such thing as a "worm virus", but I suppose you could informally call it that. It is either a worm, a virus, or a (Microsoft) macro, a trojan horse, etc. However, it is convenient but not technically correct to refer to all variants as a "virus".

I know of no way, and have never heard of a way, to get a virus on a Mac or Windows system if you don't help it somehow. With eMail, you must open (ie attempt to read) the infected mail message to become infected. You should enable the built-in firewall in OSX and hide behind a NAT router if you can afford one. I'm assuming you're not running a server, which would require a whole new level of precaution.

Recieving the "undeliverable mail" message may seem like some kind of convenient warning, but you should realise that at that point, you are already infected. It is far better to scan incoming eMails (or downloads, including mp3's etc) before you open them with a reliable antivirus solution.

Microsoft Macro viri are macro files that are written to take advantage of the interaction of Microsoft applications. You cannot get one if you don't use a MS email program or don't open an infected document with a MS program (like Word or Excel).

For the most part, Mac MS programs are not affected by macros designed to infect Windows computers. The exception is the fact that a MS eMail program will preserve the macro ( and any eMail program will preserve macros embedded in MS document attachments) and you can forward it to a Windows user, who will be infected.

There are very few Mac viruses (an actual number is hard to come by, but if we said 50 that would be close). One is tempted to say "none", but there are a few from the "old days" of System 7 that might still work on an OS9 Mac. The two most recent are the AutoStart9805 worm and the SevenDust virus. Both date back to the mid 90's.

You can protect yourself from the AutoStart worm by disabling CD-ROM autoplay in QuickTime preferences. Without autoplay in QuickTime, it cannot load, even if you open files on the CD. There was one MacAddict CD about 6 years ago that had the AutoStart worm on it.

The SevenDust virus cannot infect PPC Macs; it only attacks 680x0 Macs.

Having said all that, there is no guarantee that a new virus that attacks Macs (OS9 or OSX) won't show up at any time. So, as long as you can afford it, an AV solution is a good idea.

If you can't afford it, it's not mandatory as it is on Windows computers; but take reasonable care when recieving files from unknown sources, and watch those eMail attachments. It is also possible to get infected from HTML-formatted eMail, so if you don't have an AV solution, set your mail program to display plain text only, and don't use MS eMail programs.

Avoid Microsoft software if you can, and be careful if you can't. If you can afford Word, you can afford an AV program. Also, any commercial user should run AV software; it's bad business to transmit viruses to your clients.

I would recommend you don't run terminal commands you don't understand or use software that "automates" terminal commands. Similarly, AppleScript does pose a small potential for vulnerability, so examine scripts or write your own.

Oh yeah. The number one solution to threats of all kinds: Back up your data.

14,050 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
gorguide said:
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> If you can afford Word, you can afford an AV program. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think that should be the marketing tagline for all the anti-virus software makers, especially in PC Land.
Gordguide, you may have just made your retirment money ! :D

As to the "strategy", I think that any worm going through your addresses will continue but at least if you get a message telling you that "mail could not be sent to [email protected]", it might be a nice way to check for an infection of such a worm in case the AV people ever missed it before you got it.

Premium Member
5,247 Posts
If you ever believe you are infected (that undeliverable message would let you know, but depending on your provider it may keep trying to deliver for days, which is no help at all) you must shut down immediately and begin the disinfection.

Save open documents if you must, but don't waste time quitting programs. Startup with a bootable AV CD.

There is a problem in that current virus additions probably won't be on your AV CD. If you have access to another computer you might be able to create a bootable CD-R disk with updated definitions, but it's not simple to do and may not work if it's a different model Mac.

Still, in general older definitons will probably work, as most infections are simply variants of earlier, defined versions and should be recognised.

It's probably easier to maintain good backups and reinstall. In my experience, a lot of Windows users wrongly blame viruses for what is really caused by other problems, but the quickest solution in that case is often just to reinstall anyway.

Premium Member
2,263 Posts
Ihave had several Windows Viri on a Win 95 PC I used to have, mostly picked up through trading floppy disks and using them in school machines then bringing them home.
As far as I know I have never had a Mac Viris in 5 years or more.
OSX may be a more prolific breading ground for unix and linux based viri but that remains to be seen.
X86 based Linux is the number 2 most prolific viris OS
1 - 5 of 5 Posts