About 3.3 million Americans have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine thinks they're the ones spreading most of the computer viruses. He says, "With millions of compulsive people out there getting messages that say things like 'Open the important attachment!'?you don't need anything more than that simple demand to propagate a virus. All you need is?a note that says, 'Open me!' and millions of poor souls with OCD will open it."
Dvorak thinks obsessive compulsive disorder "may actually be a benefit and lead to rapid promotions. Many with this ailment are geniuses in their own way and work harder than others?" The problem? "These people cannot erase the suspicious document and move on." In other words, they can't resist opening an attachment and letting loose a computer virus.
He writes, "It's futile to try to stop compulsive people?Exactly why is that OCD woman cited above allowed to get this stuff in her e-mail box in the first place? If the U.S. Post Office sees a stick of dynamite in the mail, they don't deliver it, do they?
"So why hasn't something been done at the only level that will stop the problem? I think it's the anti-virus lobby. Who stands to lose the most if the virus problem is eliminated at the ISP level? The client-based anti-virus software companies: Symantec, McAffee, Kaspersky, Panda, all of them. This is a billion-dollar business.
"What I do not see is any real universal effort on the part of the anti-virus folks to seriously end the virus threat for good. They would put themselves out of business."
There's a new computer virus that doesn't depend on obsessive-compulsive attachment openers in order to spread. Will Knight writes in New Scientist that the "Sasser" computer worm, released on April 30, spreads all by itself when you use the internet. Anti-virus expert Graham Cluley says, "Computers which are not properly protected with anti-virus updates, firewalls and Microsoft's security patch are asking for trouble."
But don't be fooled by a fake patch which is being sent to people via the internet?it contains yet another computer virus. The fake patch was created by the same folks who created the Sasser worm, which may help the internet police catch the culprits.
Dr. Richard Wiseman can tell you how to become lucky, but only Microsoft can tell you how to avoid the latest virus.
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