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Is this true?

N/A

Is this true?

Received this e-mail today from a friend about 'How to protect your address book'. I've had this one before but don't know whether it's true - can someone advise please?

I learned a computer trick today that's really ingenious in its simplicity. As you may know, when/if a worm virus gets into your computer it heads straight for your email address book, and sends itself to everyone in there, thus infecting all your friends and associates.
This trick won't keep the virus from getting into your computer, but it will stop it from using your address book to spread further, and it will alert you to the fact that the worm has gotten into your system.
Here's what you do:
First, open your address book and click on 'new contact,' just as you would do if you were adding a new friend to your list of email addresses.
In the window where you would type your friend's first name, type in 'A'.
For the screen name or email address, type ' AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA '.
Now, here's what you've done and why it works:
The 'name' 'A'  will be placed at the top of your address book as entry#1.
This will be where the worm will start in an effort to send itself to all your friends.
But, when it tries to send itself to AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA , it will be undeliverable because of the phony email address you entered. If the first attempt fails (which it will because of the phony address), the worm goes no further and your friends will not be infected.
Here's the second great advantage of this method:
If an email cannot be delivered, you will be notified of this in your In Box almost immediately. Hence, if you ever get an email telling you that an email addressed to AAAAAAA@AAA.AAAA could not be delivered, you know right away that you have the worm virus in your system. You can then take steps to get rid of it!
Pretty slick huh?
If everybody you know does this then you need not ever worry about opening mail from friends.
Huh
8 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,251
Thanks: 937
Fixes: 56
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Is this true?

Sorry poppy it is rubbish.
I just sent an email to AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA using Outlook and I still don't have an undeliverable response
Edit
message sent  then undeliverable message received a bit later (time lag is the frequency Outlook checks for new mail - in my case 5 minutes)
pd
Grafter
Posts: 235
Registered: 09-05-2008

Re: Is this true?

Best way is to do what I do and don't keep an address book, I just paste an address from a previous email.
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,546
Thanks: 192
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Is this true?

I read about this some time ago and it said that a clever worm will simply ignore the incorrect address and move on to the next in the list.
Also could it not be programmed to start at the bottom of the list and work its way up?  Just a thought.
prichardson
Grafter
Posts: 1,503
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Is this true?

pd, often not a worthwhile meants of protection either.
The actual contents of stored messages are also a pattern matching treasure trove for viri to get addresses..
The trick described here for your address book is pointless. Indeed it is true, you can test the theory by sending the message, however you are using a from address of yourself, and you are also using your email software to perform the test itself.
The majority of mass mailing worms use their own built in email sending engine and not that of your email software. As such, messages it cannot send don't get stuck in your outbox, or generate any error in the software.
The fact they use their own email engineer has another part against it. aaaaa@aaa.aaa does not have a valid DNS record associated with it, so it fails the most basic and fundimental requirements to be a valid email address. As such, forget about somebody else getting the bounce, because the virus will most likely never even make an outbound connection.
They often use a fake from address as well, as a result if the messages did ever bounce, it's often never you that gets the reply, but an innocent victim. It's the very reason you often find your inbox filled with non-deliverable reports for messages you never sent.
N/A

Re: Is this true?

Thank you for the information - I thought it too simple to be true so will ignore it. In any event, my security should deal with any nasties.
Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: 23-10-2008

Re: Is this true?

Also worth noting, viruses don't care whether addresses are real or not - they would simply send infected mail to any address they could find.
A virus is not going to send one mail, and wait to see if it works or not. It would simply continue anyway.
As an aside - its a useful trick for your mobile phone. Add a contact for AAA with the number 0000, then if you accidentally make a call with the phone in your pocket, hopefully it will just phone 0000 and get nowhere (and cost nothing).
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,546
Thanks: 192
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Is this true?

Yes, that's a good tip James with the mobile phone.  I learned that the hard way Sad
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 17,251
Thanks: 904
Fixes: 104
Registered: 11-01-2008

Re: Is this true?

I wish more people would do it, I get quite a  lot of calls from accidental phone calls as I tend to be first in peoples address books.
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