Computer users need to be kept up-to-date about possible threats, and computer virus news alerts keep the public informed about these important issues.
How to Tell if a Computer Virus Alert Is a Hoax
If you are going to look to computer virus news alerts to give you the information you need to know about threats to your system, you need to be able to trust that the facts you are being given are accurate. How can you tell whether a message you have received about a computer virus is legitimate? Here are some suggestions:
- Look for sweeping statements about the threat
Computer virus hoax messages tend to include broad statements about the effects that an infection will have on your computer. Be suspicious if you receive a message stating that the virus will "destroy" your computer hardware or that it is "more destructive than [name of previous well-known computer virus]."
- Lack of source to confirm information
A legitimate virus alert will give you the facts, without resorting to fear mongering to make the point. If the information you are given includes the name of a major company to attempt to legitimize the message but lacks a link for you to confirm its accuracy, then it may be a sign that you are dealing with a hoax.
- Consider the source
When news about a computer virus becomes known, people want to share it with others they know. When you get an e-mail forwarded to you from a friend about the latest threat to your computer system, read the message carefully. The fact that it is being sent to you through a chain e-mail may indicate you are dealing with a hoax.
- Confirm the information
Before deciding that the threat is a legitimate one, check with more than one source to confirm whether the information is accurate. You can go to an online news source to see whether the press is reporting on the virus. Another option is to visit the Threat Intelligence page on the McAfee website to see if the one you have heard about is listed.
Examples of Computer Virus News Alerts
Here are some examples of web sites offering computer virus news alerts:
ECT News Network
Subscribers to the ECT News Alerts service can select keywords or phrases for the types of news they want to receive. There is no charge for the service, and subscribers can choose to receive updates on a daily or in real time. Choosing to receive real-time updates means that you will receive an e-mail each time news stories with your keyword phrase are published.
Visitors to the Computer Weekly web site can subscribe to RSS feeds to receive a message every time the Security Alerts section of the site is updated. To receive more specific information about issues that you are interested in, such as computer viruses, sign up for the free desktop news service this site offers. You can choose to have a permanent ticker on your PC desktop or have a message pop up for important news stories only. (A Windows operating system is required to access this service.)
George Washington University Help Desk
Washington University notifies its list members of potential computer viruses. It also provides them with information about updates to the corporate version of Norton Anti-Virus software. Visitors to the site can report computer virus threats by e-mail as well.
Signing up for one of the computer virus news alerts will help to keep you informed about threats to your system. That way, you can take appropriate action.