Virus notifications: ‘Warning! Your computer is infected!’

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Technology
January 29th, 2004 • 1:41 am

These days, most Windows viruses work by using entries in the infected computer’s address book to disguise their messages as coming from these people. This is why you might get an infected message from your friend A that in fact was sent by the computer of your friend B, whose address book contains both your own email address and the email address of your friend A. Conversely, your friend A might receive an infected message that appears to come from you, when in fact it was sent by your friend B’s infected computer using B’s address book entries for both the sender and the recipient.

In spite of this, many IT people continue to implement filters that automatically notify the sender of an infected message that his computer is infected.

Clearly, since you are not the real sender, it’s not your computer that is infected. It’s the computer of your friend B, who is neither the sender nor the recipient of your message.

So what is the point of these notification messages telling you that your computer is infected? They are completely useless. All they do is increase the amount of useless and misleading messages that you are going to be receiving when a Windows virus starts making the rounds of your Windows-using friends’ computers. And they are increasing the overall amount of useless junk that clogs down networks worldwide whenever there is a virus outbreak.

You’d think that IT people — of all people! — would know better than to deliberately make an already bad enough situation even worse.

Meanwhile, I have to reassure my Mac-using friends and relatives again and again that, no, their computer is not infected by a Windows virus, in spite of what these notifications from IT people say.

It’s all too dumb for words. It’s Windows.

3 Responses to “Virus notifications: ‘Warning! Your computer is infected!’”

  1. Matthew says:

    yup, ive got LOADS of these useless emails from the mydoom virus

    ill now reply and tell them to turn of the auto response though.

  2. Mike says:

    You are not alone.

    I have a standard response to the senders of these inane notifications, it probably achieves little, but it certainly makes me feel better.


    To whom it may concern

    With reference to the attached notification. Considering that very little virus generated email traffic now carries a legitimate ‘from’ or ‘reply-to’ address, is it really necessary to continue these notifications? Do you realise that by sending these adbices you achieve absolutely nothing, other than to confuse people who, after receiving the advice, mistakenly believe that their computers are sending virus laden emails out into the internet. I assume that an notification is generated for every virus carrying email you receive, effectively doubling the amount of traffic that the virus generates,thus significantly increasing the damage done?

    Ironically, although I have sufficient filters to insulate me from virus traffic, I now get bombarded with inane ‘you sent a virus’ messages.

    Please update your thinking and your systems.


  3. Matthew says:

    i like, if you dont mind, ill *borrow* that

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