Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, August 31, 2001

How to stop Outlook-based viruses from spreading further

Friend, partner and former training coach of mine Captain Derek Lye kindly contributed this useful technical tip to take a proactive stance in NOT spreading further any further a virus that reaches your PC inadvertently.

According to the source that Captain Derek unearthed, the simple tactic to BLOCK most e-mail-based viruses can work like this.

a) E-mail viruses base their strategy on the assumption you have a Microsoft Outlook e-mail program, and a contact list within it, that they can be utilized to spread the virus around.

b) By tampering with the "meat" that this virus is looking for, we can almost certainly stop him at our gates. At least until virus writers will update their techniques to this one too.

c) So like how robbers give poisonous meat to guarding dogs in order to distract their attention and cripple their defensive system, you can provide the virus with something it surely did not expect meeting.

Add to your contact list a new e-mail address by then name of:
!0000 (yes an exclamation mark with four zeros thereafter).

When a new Outlook-based virus arrives in your Inbox and tries to spread itself around by sending itself to all of the contacts in your e-mail list, it will indeed find a surprise. The first address in your e-mail contact list is an invalid address, and as soon as the virus will try to send an e-mail to that address an error message will be generated:

"The Message could not be sent. One or more recipients do not have an e-mail address. Please check your Address Book and make sure all the recipients have a valid e-mail address."

At this point you click the OK button and the virus stops dead at the freeway gate. You did a positive, ethical and helpful act. Possibly thousands more computers would have been infected after you, had you not made such a small but effective action.

Thanks Derek for such a simple, but genuinely effective preventive medicine.

Tip contributed by
Captain Derek Lye



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posted by Robin Good on Friday, August 31 2001, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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