You emailed me a computer virus

I've sent you a link to this page in my blog because you emailed me a very special sort of "computer virus".  Your virus didn't attack my computer - instead it tried to infect the biological ME!


Emailed computer viruses can and do infect humans. From your email, I can see that you are already infected.

You've been manipulated into forwarding an email that you honestly believed that I needed, or wanted, to read. Your emotions have been used to circumvent your intellect. You received a chain email that infected you, and by appealing to your emotions that email has (in a way) “programmed” you to forward it on to me and to others.

Any virus, computer or biological, could be more simply described as a set of instructions wrapped in a protective coating that doubles as a delivery mechanism. And when a virus comes into contact with an undefended host, it infects that host with instructions that cause the host to replicate the original virus.

Chain emails and glurge are types of virus. They are wrapped in a protective email that doubles as a delivery system. When they come into contact with an undefended host (an unsuspecting human) they cause that host to replicate the original chain email.

So these emails are a sort of computer virus that requires and infects human hosts in order to reproduce. A human host is necessary for their life cycle!

Please be aware of emails that play on your greed, fear, grief, and political or religious interests. They are manipulating you into passing them on.

You need to be aware that chain emails are almost never written from altruistic purposes. The overwhelming majority of chain emails are designed to manipulate your emotions in order to get you to spread them. The people who originate these emails too often see it as a sort of game.

Once you realize that someone is intentionally trying to manipulate you, you will be better able to resist infection by chain emails.

The proper defense against these types of computer virus is an inoculation of knowledge.


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This is an update of my earlier "Virus" blog entry.  I've changed the wording a little and left off the introductory text.  My purpose is to create a "one stop" page that I can hyperlink to in my replies to those people who send me this sort of thing.

My readers are allowed and encouraged to link to this page as needed. 

3 comments:

Anne said...

When I read that I thought you menat I (ME personally) sent you a virus that scared the crap out of me. I am new to your blog and am enjoying it thanks.

Calladus said...

My apologies Anne, I didn't mean to scare anyone. I just wanted a useful page that I could hyperlink to in reply to the various chain mails that I receive from family and friends. Think of it as an often used ready-made "lecture" if you will.

President Harry Truman had his famous sign. For me, this blog entry is my own little, "The forwarded email stops here" sign.

Stew said...

Now we just need one for those stupid cell phone forwards...