CERN Accelerating science

This website is no longer maintained. Its content may be obsolete. Please visit for current CERN information.

CERN home pageCERN home pageThe Consult pageThe Consult pageThis pageThe Consult pageThis pageThis pageHelp, Info about this page
Previous:Desktop Computing(See printing version)
Next:Internet Services

Suspicious E-mail Messages and Viruses on Windows 95/NT PCs

Tami Kramer , IT/DIS

Many users seem confused as to what to do when they receive a suspicious e-mail message. Here are some basic guidelines:

Hoax messages:

Very often users will receive an e-mail describing a horrible new virus with a line instructing them to forward it to everyone they know. The virus described is usually a hoax (i.e. not a real virus). These mail messages are usually harmless and only serve to waste bandwidth and people's time. Typical hoax viruses are "Wobbler/California", "WIN A HOLIDAY", "Budweiser", "Join the Crew", etc...

If you receive an e-mail message of this type and you are really concerned, a simple Web search for the keywords "Wobbler Trojan" will normally verify that it is a hoax. Therefore, do not forward it to all of your friends or to the Computing Helpdesk. The virus pattern files on NICE are kept up-to-date and we are informed of new viruses as discovered by our Anti-virus vendor.

The Web site:

can be searched for a description of particular viruses and what they do. It also has a section describing hoax viruses.

REAL Viruses in E-mail Attachments:

If you receive a mail with any sort of attachment, even if it is from someone you know, you should save the attachment to a file on disk by right-clicking on the attachment and choosing Save File to Disk, then right click on the icon of the saved file and choose the option Scan for Viruses. This will scan the attachment only. You can consider it safe to open only if the virus scanning product finds no virus/trojan horse inside.

Be Warned:

With the new viruses being written for Windows today, opening an attachment without checking it first could result in destroying all data that you have access to (i.e. your hard disk and attached network disks such as your HOME server directory).

For matters related to this article please contact the author.

Last Updated on Fri Sep 24 18:02:42 GMT+03:30 1999.
Copyright © CERN 1999 -- European Laboratory for Particle Physics