10 Things to Know About the Internet

  • None of the Fortune 500 companies will give you money to forward their e-mail because they don’;t send any. Bill Gates’;s philanthropy does not include giving you $1,000 even if you send him the name of 10 friends (if you have any after doing that)

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Famous Amos, Neiman-Marcus, and Bloomingdale’;s don’;t have a cookie recipe that’;s any better than the one on the back of the bag of Hershey’;s chocolate chips. Even if they did, they wouldn’;t charge you $200 for it

  • Neither you nor your computer can get a virus from reading an e-mail. You can possibly get a virus from opening an attachment to an e-mail if that attachment carries an “execute” (.exe) file. The problem is that many e-mail systems, except those like AOL, automatically download attachments to your hard drive before you even ask to open them, putting you in jeopardy. The only way to avoid this is to disable the automatic attachment downloading. Unless you know who is sending you an attachment, don’;t open it. If you’;re not sure, download it to a floppy disk and scan the disk with your latest antivirus utility program before opening it

  • If you enter a chat room, you will probably start getting spam, the equivalent of junk e-mail. Spam is like being on a mailing list, and is just as impossible to get off

  • You cannot get a virus from responding to an Instant Message (if you’;re an America Online customer).

  • Contrary to a popular e-mail myth, no one has ever stolen anyone else’;s kidney, even if the person sending you the e-mail tells you, “We checked this out.”

  • Chain letters are not benign. If you forward one to 10 friends, you are conspiring in an act of cyber-vandalism designed to overload servers and spread spam

  • Never never never tell a spammer that you want to be removed from its list. Never click the “click here to remove your name” box. All that does is confirm that they have found an active account. Either block their Web site or report them to your server for disciplinary action

  • If you write e-mail from the office, remember that your employer owns the computer and therefore has the legal right to look at anything you put into it. Also, did you ever think that computer solitaire was an alien plot to make office workers waste time?

  • Even if you are online from home, never put anything in an e-mail or on your hard drive that you wouldn’;t want the police to read. There is no privacy in cyberspace, and there is no such thing as completely erasing files. A good cyber detective can recover nearly anything—so far

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