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(With an Emphasis on Melissa)
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Anti-virus software should be installed to protect you from Internet files, as well as files installed into your computer from disks.
Your anti-virus software should be set to update itself on a regular basis.
Do not open attachments to email when they are from a stranger.
The Melissa virus was designed to spread though email and then change settings in Microsoft Word. The virus "reads" the first 50 names in your address book in Outlook (if you have it) and automatically sends email, with a virus infected attachment, from you to those names. The bogus email messages may start with "Important Message."
America Online suggests the following to protect your copy of Microsoft Word from viruses by enabling the Macro Virus Protection option:
"A macro is a line of commands that are created to automate some task. For example, you can create a macro that searches and replaces words and phrases throughout a document as you create it. Most Microsoft Word documents don't contain macros. Microsoft Word has preferences that you can set to alert you when a document that you are opening contains a macro or when the Normal.dot file is being changed.
To Set Macro Options:
1. Start the Microsoft Word software.
2. From the Tools menu, select Options, then the General tab.
3. Click in the Macro Virus Protection check box.
4. Click in the Confirm conversions at open check box.
5. Click on the Save tab.
6. Click in the Prompt to save Normal template check box.
7. Click OK.
Now, whenever you open a document containing a macro, Microsoft Word will alert you that the document contains a macro. Never open a file that contains a macro unless you know what the macro is doing." -America Online, April 1, 1999