Friend Claims You Sent a Virus

Category: Quickies

Q:

A friend told me twice she received an e-mail from me and it says it has a virus, but I didn't send any e-mail to her. Does this mean that I have a virus, or does it come from somebody else? I have McAfee virus protection...




A:

Most likely there is no virus on your computer, sending phantom emails. If your virus protection is up to date, the more likely situation is that a third party you both know has a virus, and the emails are coming from that person.

It's quite common for viruses to send rogue emails, randomly inserting an entry from the address book into the From: and To: tags of the outgoing messages. This is how they often spread, on the hope that the victim will open the attachment because it comes from a person known to them.

Bottom line: If someone has your email address in his/her address book, and they have a virus, it may appear that YOU are sending the virus-laden emails. A careful inspection of the email headers (in particular the Received lines) can shed more light on where an email originated.

This article was posted by on 1 Sep 2005


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