Hide File Types

The old “warn your friends” emails seem to be doing the rounds again. So before you send me emails with garbled context like this consider if the virus is really the problem or if your own system is making it harder for you to detect them…

> http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/osama.asp
> which says in part
> “Osama bin Laden Captured” isn’t a virus in itself; it’s the text of a
> message that includes a link to a file called EXPLOIT.EXE. When a message
> recipient clicks on this link to view what he thinks are pictures of Osama
> bin Laden’s capture, he can end up downloading an executable trojan known
> as Backdoor-AZU, BKDR_LARSLP.A, Download.Trojan,
> TrojanProxy.Win32.Small.b,
> or Win32.Slarp.

And here is the simplest solution for making it easier for you to visually identify potentially harmful files before you open them…

Hi Tina

A really, really simple way to protect yourself from these types of attacks is not to open any file that is not a legitimate image. A common trap is to send an email called osama.jpg.exe which to most users will show on their email as osama.jpg. This is because of a standard Microsoft setting which is easily changed to force a file to be shown by it’s full and correct name.

To make the change follow these steps

  • right mouse click on your Start button on the bottom left of your screen
  • left mouse click on the explore option on the pop up menu
  • click on the Tools menu drop down
  • click on the Folder Options choice
  • on the pop up window click on the View tab
  • near the top of the list is a check box with “Hide file types” and it MUST NOT be checked/ticked. Click on the option to change it
  • click on the OK button and close any windows that have been opened.

Exploiting the visual weakness of this option is an old, tried, and true trick for virus distributors. There are no excuses for falling prey to them.

Sarah

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