Another day, another several hundred email messages to sift through. As usual, the obvious spam goes right in the trash-- we don't need a low-cost merchant account, we don't want a million email addresses so we can send spam ourselves, and we've got some real college degrees that obviate the need for any cheap fakes (as tempting as a couple of PhDs from "Harvarf University" may be). Then the press releases get the once-over, the listserv mail is scanned for interesting subject lines, and each and every bit of AtAT feedback is carefully read, considered, digested, and filed. (Yes, we actually read it. Coulda fooled you, right?)
Finally, the best for last: personal and business email from known and trusted correspondents. And what's this? One of our consulting clients has sent us email with the quizzical subject heading of "Here you have, ;o)"; inside is a message that simply says "Hi: Check This!" Oh, and look, there's an attachment! Gee, a text file named "AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs." Clearly this woman has thoughtfully forwarded us a JPEG image of the attractive young tennis star, which has mysteriously morphed into a text file en route and had the Windows filename extension for a Visual Basic script tacked on at the end. Strange. Sadly, all of our efforts to rename the file, de-binhex it, change its type and creator codes, etc. still haven't yielded an actual viewable JPEG image of Anna Kournikova. This is most frustrating.
What's that? You say that CNET is reporting that this is actually a virus? Well, don't that just beat all. It's a darn good thing that we use Macs, because despite the fact that we weren't expecting any email from our client (not to mention the fact that she has a reasonable command of the English language, has never used an emoticon in her life, and is about as likely to send us a picture of a Russian tennis star as she is to ask us to reshingle her roof in the nude), we blithely opened that dangerous attachment right up in hopes of scoping out a cute Russian chick. Boy, is our collective face red. Had we been using Windows and Outlook instead of our trusty Macs, we'd be just another carrier of this dread disease that is reportedly spreading "twice as fast" as the "Love Bug" virus that wreaked such havoc last year.
So, Mac folks, if one of your Windows-using friends happens to send you something which almost looks like it should be a photo of Ms. Kournikova, don't fret, since your Mac is immune from the virus's effects (barring the use of VirtualPC, of course); by the same token, though, don't waste any time actually trying to extract a real photo, because it's all just a cruel, cruel hoax. (sob!) Given the "success" of the virus, evidently the Windows/Outlook-using community still hasn't learned its lesson about opening unsolicited attachments-- either that, or the author of this virus has discovered the fine art of "playing to one's audience." Remember, kiddies; nasty things often come in pretty packages.