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Learn to use BCC
You get a really funny or cute email from a friend and it's one of those you want to pass along, so you hit the forward button, add a dozen or so people from your address book and off it goes. - You have just helped the spread of the next computer virus that comes along.

Have you ever received an infected email from someone you've never heard of? How do you think they got your address?

First of all, it most likely was not them at all, but a virus sitting on their PC that has gone through their mailbox and grabbed every address there. If they have ever received one of these mass emails and you also happened to be one of the recipients, the virus finds you and you become a target. When it lands on your PC, it goes sifting through all your emails, harvesting addresses and so the chain continues.

If you consider that some people forward emails to their entire address book ... sometimes with 50 or more recipients ... that is helping the virus to spread at an enormous rate. - And it couldn't have done it without you.

So do we all stop sending out these mass emails? Considering that many of them are business related or bona fide mailing lists, that's not feasible.

Most companies who have mailing lists also have them set up so that only the recipient address appears on the email and it looks as if it was sent only to you, even though it went to hundreds of people.

However, for those who don't want to get technical just to share a joke with a friend, there's an easier solution.

There is one address that a virus cannot read and that is a "Bcc" address. In case you don't know what I am talking about, open your outlook express and open a new mail message as if you are going to send an email. At the top, where you select the recipient, there are 3 rows. The first is "to", the second is "cc" and the third is "Bcc". The "B" very simply stands for "blind" and that is exactly what it is. Nobody can see the address that you enter there, including a virus.

Instead of entering all the recipients of your mass email into the "to" box, use this Bcc line instead.

Secondly, if you are forwarding an email, delete all the email addresses of people that the email was previously sent to (incuding you). This is in the body of the email.

You have just cut virus spread by about 50% within your circle of extended friends and aquaintances. - Tell everyone you know to do the same and this number shoots up proportionately.

New articles and a list of related internet resources will be added to this section on a regular basis, compliments of The Webmaster.

If you would like to comment on the above article or suggest any internet or web-related topics of interest for inclusion in this section, please email us


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