Beware the Worm That Turns Up in Your Inbox

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This time, it ain’t no sweet "Melissa." Unlike March’s viral vixen, which produced little more than some brief mayhem and an entertaining manhunt, ExploreZip isn’t a virus, it’s a worm –- and quite an insidious one. Although structurally different, it's spreading as fast as the lightning-quick Melissa and doing a lot more damage. From large corporations such as Boeing and IBM to smaller, ironic targets such as antivirus software maker Symantec (and in countries from Germany to Israel, where it is believed to have originated), ExploreZip is entering computers through their e-mail systems and burrowing into software –- ravaging files and shutting down networks.

The best way to stop it is, as with any disease, not to get it. ExploreZip comes in an e-mail attachment, maybe even with the name of someone you know on it. "I received your e-mail, and I shall reply ASAP," the ExploreZip message reads. "Till then, take a look at the zipped docs." Do NOT take a look at the "zipped docs." The worm will be out of the can and munching on everything from your Outlook e-mail program to your big PowerPoint presentation before you can say, "Hmm. I never asked for any ‘zipped docs.’" Beware. And for gosh sakes, this is the Internet age. Use a little common sense.