Re: About Scary Warnings and Hoaxes
From: Stevenson/Bitner (
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 01:30:28 -0600
>While I understand Liz Stevenson's request (11/12/98) that nobody send any
>warnings of viruses etc., to this list, I will offer a technical input which
>nobody has disputed (to me at least).  It may allow some to feel more
>comfortable about their email.
>One cannot send anything dangerous, like a virus, in the message space of an
>The message space transmits only a limited character set - i.e. the alphabet
>and some formatting characters.  Viruses need "characters" an emailer just
>cannot transmit within the message space.
>"Attached" files are a different kettle of fish.  Attachments may contain
>anything: spreadsheets, graphics, computer programs and viruses (a virus 
>just a small mischievous or malicious program). 
>So: Read the messages any time you like.   If it has an "attachment" about
>which you are suspicious or nervous, do not download the attachment.
>Downloading of appropriately designed viruses can indeed cause damage. 
I don't remember what I wrote exactly, but my main concern is not that a 
virus will get into my computer, but that these messages are almost 
always red herrings and a waste of time.  Anyone truly concerned about 
viruses should get anti-viral software and update it frequently. Not one 
to miss an "evangelical" opportunity, it also helps if you have a Mac. 
There are few viruses made for this platform, although there are some, 
and I have antiviral software to protect my precious baby.
Your mention of attachments brings up a good point- and I would urge 
people to use the attachment function of your email program only for 
things that are truly too big to put in the body of a letter.  I have a 
friend who makes an attachment out of everything, and forwards all kinds 
of dreck. It's annoying, and I usually just throw it out, not knowing 
what it could be.

Sorry for the non-coho nature of this email.  Kind of ironic, huh?

Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, CA

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