September 97 - [Page 1] [Page 2] [Page 3] [Page 5] [Page 6] [Page 7] [Page 8]

                   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
     
 

(Continued from page 3)

assembly machine code, Basic, Pascal, C and even the DOS batch file language.

      What triggers a virus to destroy data once it is embedded within your computer? Depending on the person who designed the virus programming code, the virus can trigger and destroy data based on:  A date, perhaps Friday the 13th to add a cruel twist of fate. The number of repetitions a certain program is run. An occurrence such as printing the payroll or running Lotus 123. A lack of an occurrence (removal of a name from a list.) A time of day, perhaps 1 AM when an office network is running unattended. A capacity, say when your hard drive reaches 90% capacity, nearly        full. A random time of day or random date, or both. The presence of another program or removal of a program. Use of a modem or your printer. A particular person's name or password.
     
      Essentially, the programmer of the virus code selects a "trigger" of some type and deliberately programs the

 
   
 
     
 

criminal harassment. The former should be ignored or given gentle reminders. From my experience, many shape up once they realize the error of their ways.

Those who deliberately harass can be brought to the attention of whoever operates the service they're using. If what they're doing is bad enough they can be warned, kicked off the system and, in some cases, prosecuted. Check with your service provider to find out its policy.

Here are some guidelines I came up with a few years ago for keeping this new medium civil.

Know your recipient. Different people have different ideas of what is acceptable. Find out and respect each person's wishes.

Avoid sarcasm, unless you're sure it will work, and think very carefully before using e-mail to express anger. With e-mail, once it's sent, it's gone. If you're posting a message in a public forum, remember it can be read by a wide variety of people.

Be careful about your use of irony or even some forms of humor, which can be misinterpreted. Unlike face-to-face meetings or phone conversations, there are no visual or oral clues to provide a sense of what is going on.

Exercise good taste. An e-mail account is not a license to abuse or insult people. Be respectful.  Be succinct and considerate of the recipient's time and on-line charges, especially with services that charge by the hour or by the size of messages. E-mail messages work best if they're short and to the point.

Don't send copies of e-mail to people

(Continued on page 5)