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  How Computer Viruses Work...

Like many of you, we receive numerous "virus alerts" from various sources every week.  Although computer viruses are a valid concern and our intent is not to minimize the issue, the following information might set your mind at ease regarding computer viruses.

Your computer cannot get infected with a computer virus by the simple action of reading your E-mail.  Viruses are (usually) hidden in executable programs...in other words, programs that you RUN, which include macros in Microsoft® Office documents.

A good rule of thumb is NOT to open E-mail attachments that you have received from someone you do not know.  It would also be prudent not to download and run programs from just ANY Internet site.

Determining if the Virus is Real or a Hoax...

For your peace of mind, and to put a stop to the flood of unnecessary "virus alerts" running rampant throughout the Internet community, it would be a good idea to check the validity of the virus before reacting and forwarding the "alert" on to everyone in your address book.

There are some very useful sites on the Internet that will help you to determine if the virus you are being warned about is real or if it is a hoax.   You can refer to one of the sites listed below, or look for other virus information sites using your favorite search engine.

http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html
http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/vinfodb.html
http://www.networkassociates.com/us/security/home.asp
http://kumite.com/myths/
http://www.av.ibm.com/BreakingNews/VirusAlert/
http://www.stiller.com/stiller.htm

Virus Detection and Removal Software...

There are a number of virus detection and removal software programs available on the market.  If you are concerned about viruses, they are a good investment.  However, keep in mind that your virus software is only as good as the most recent update to it.  New viruses enter the marketplace daily, so you need to be sure that your virus software is regularly updated and kept current.