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Forged Email Messages
Many people at WHOI have received
messages from 'postmaster' and 'virus detection' accounts
at other institutions which state that a message from their
whoi.edu account contained a virus. Chances are very good
that no such message was sent. Please read on.
If someone with whom you correspond gets a worm or virus on
her/his PC, then your email address may be forged in
an outgoing message from that infected machine.
A virus, once it has infected a PC, will go through the infected
PC's address book, documents, etc. to find email addresses to
send itself out. What these viruses will often do is send itself
out from the infected PC using a different email address than
the one it is actually coming from. Your email address may have
been picked up from an address book or past email from someone
who got infected by the virus. The virus, in turn, is sent a
message to the mail server (that responded back to you) in your
name. Since the message looks like it came from your email account,
the intended recipient's mail server blocked the message and
sent you the reply back. Regarding these specific messages telling
you that you have a virus, you can just ignore them. Recently
with the increase of email viruses such as SoBig, these "bounced" messages
from other organization's mail server have been
causing problems for everyone on the Internet.
To be on the safe side, if you are running a Windows operating
system, perform a full system scan of you're computer (This at
the least should be done weekly.). If you are running any operating
system other than Windows, don't worry about these messages.
Keep your virus definitions up to date,