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How To Protect Your E-mail Address Book From Computer Worms

Updated on May 5, 2011

E-mail Address Book Protection

Viruses, Worms and Trojan Horses are malicious programs designed to cause damage to your computer. In this article I will be dealing specifically with the computer worm and how you can use an ingeniously simple trick to protect your e-mail address book.

Difference between Virus, Worm and Trojan Horse

A computer virus spreads by attaching itself to a program or file. Because a virus is normally attached to an executable file (EXE file) it can't affect your computer unless you open it. It is by human action that a computer virus is spread.

A worm is very like a virus but unlike a virus it does not require human action in order to spread.

Worms use the file transport features on a computer system and so needs no outside help to travel. What makes the worm so devastating is its ability to replicate itself so it has the ability to send out thousands of copies of itself. It can send a copy of itself to everyone listed in your e-mail address book and each person's address book who receives the worm will have copies of the worm sent to every one listed in their address book and the chain continues. Worms consume a lot of system memory and can make your computer become unresponsive. Some worms can burrow deep into your system and enable your computer to be controlled remotely.

The Trojan Horse usually comes disguised as a useful piece of software that causes damage to your computer when you install it and run it on your computer. They can cause all sorts of weird things to happen to your computer like changing your desktop or adding funny active icons to your desktop. Some Trojans are designed to create what is termed a “backdoor” to you computer which outsiders can use to access your personal or confidential information. Trojan Horses do not, however, replicate like worms.

The Trick to Protecting your E-mail Address Book

Step 1

Open your address book and click “New Contact” just as you would do if you were to add a new contact to your list of e-mail addresses.

Step 2

In the box where you would normally type your new contact's name, type the letter “A”.

Step 3

In the box for the e-mail address type: AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA

Now, here's what you've done and why it works

This will be where the worm will start in an effort to send itself to all your friends. However, when it tries to send itself to the e-mail address AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA , it will be returned to you as 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!

What if...?

Some of  you might say what if the person who sent you the worm has already created the address  AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA and has also set up a worm which sends all your personal information to that address only. If so the email would be delivered because the address exists and you’d never know about it.

To take this into account you could change the e-mail address to AAA@BBB.AAA and that would make it even harder for them to outsmart you. 

Spread the Word and kill the Worm!

If everybody you know does this then you need not ever worry about opening mail from friends. Pass this on to all your friends!!!


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    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 5 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you zlatan24

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      One Malaysian to another!

    • myi4u profile image

      myi4u 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great information! I never really understood the difference between virus, worm and trojan until now. They all looked the same to me. However, I do find it weird about the email delivery notification failure. There was once when I logged in my hotmail account and I got dozens of email delivery notification failure. Even though they were all failure, my friends still got my emails about promotions and other links. I guess that's what you said about worm infection. I then proceeded to change my password to a more complicated one and it stopped almost immediately.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you No_Clue I appreciate you visiting and your support is always greatly appreciated.

    • No_Clue profile image

      No_Clue 6 years ago

      Excellent information presented in a way I can follow easily and accomplish!!! I, too shall share this one! Thank you, Spirit Whisperer!!!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you CMCastro that is a very nice thing to say I appreciate it. I often receive very valuable information from you too. What goes around comes around.

      Carrie thank you for visiting and for sharing this with your friends. It is a very simple method and usually the simplest is thye most effective.

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      Thank you so much for this valuable hub. I have shared with all of my friends, Voted Up!

    • CMCastro profile image

      Christina M. Castro 6 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

      Good Information! I would like to share this information with others. We should all be aware of our personal information. I appreciate your dedication to helping us keep safe on the internet.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you always exploring for visiting and I am glad you found this useful.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is great advice, even a Tech brain dead person like me can do this. Thank you.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      I was wondering who would catch on to this. LOL

      Keep the worm in the cage Bob!

    • profile image

      diogenese 6 years ago

      A hand rubber! To do this now...many thanks...Bob

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Just Ask Susan

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks so much for posting this. So easy to do too.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      It really is a very simple trick and when you do it, it will be interesting to see if you get that undeliverable message to let you know that you had a worm. And Barney used to say "sharing is caring!" Haha

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      SW - this is great and I think even I can do it! I'm going to share this one too! (My mother did teach me to share:)