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How to Identify a Virus and Perform a Quick Risk Assessment

Dave Aiello wrote, "Today, someone decided to release another Visual Basic worm that can spread itself via email. These things happen regularly because Microsoft wants to keep Visual Basic in all of its Office applications, in spite of the danger of code run amok."

"This gives me the opportunity to provide a Secret of Highly Paid Consultants: how to quickly identify and assess the risk associated with a virus you just heard about. Read more if you are interested in this very timely information...."

Dave Aiello continued:

Symantec has an excellent web site called Symantec Security Response that I use to identify viruses and separate them from hoaxes and jokes. This site is really helpful, but must not be well known because I get a number of virus alerts from well-meaning friends and acquaintances every week that turn out to be false.

Anyway the most useful parts of Symantec Security Response are:

  • Expanded Threat List and Virus Encyclopedia: a searchable database of viruses, trojan horses, worms, and evil macros that Symantec has identified over the years.
  • Hoaxes: an alphabetical list of the warning emails that are wasting your time.
  • Jokes: an alphabetical list of programs that can be run on your computer, that try to look like viruses, but are meant to be jokes. As we said as kids, "So funny I forgot to laugh."

I can't think of the last time someone warned me about a virus, and Symantec hadn't already documented it-- that's how good this resource is.

If you know of any other resources like this, let us know. We'll check it out and possibly post it here.

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