A friend of mine told me about a virus he got through email. He had received an email that said it was from me, with the subject line “Naked pictures of me”. The email included an attachment.

So he opened the attachment and nothing happened. Or rather, nothing appeared to happen. The attachment was actually a virus that activated the minute he clicked it.

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood
computer virus!

When he told me, I was shocked at first, then I had to laugh. There is no universe in which I would email this person (or any person) naked pictures of myself. My friend sheepishly admitted that his curiosity got the better of him. He thought I had accidentally emailed him some saucy photos, and he couldn’t help but click to have a look.

An email with an attachment that looks suspicious is probably a virus. The sender spoofs an email address, sends it to a list of contacts, and hopes that at least one person will open it. The virus can’t activate unless it’s clicked, so an irresistible subject line like “Naked pictures of me” or “Collect your money now” is essential to get the person to open it.

The next time you get an email like this, don’t click. And in case you do click, any good anti-virus software will catch your mistake right away and block the virus from installing itself.

Many of these emails have legitimate subject lines like “Your invoice from iTunes”. This is where anti-virus software is indispensable and well worth the small fee.