April 1, 2002
A nasty new computer virus is on the loose. Called the "My Life" virus, it began spreading last week, using e-mail programs and instant messaging networks to find new targets.

Known officially as MyLife.B, the virus entices users to open an attachment that displays a cartoon of former President Clinton. If the attachment is opened, it deletes files on a computer's hard drive and tries to replicate itself via e-mail and instant messaging programs.

The virus could be quite damaging to those who don't have backups of their crucial files and those who don't keep their antivirus programs up to date.

Popular anti-virus programs including Norton Anti-Virus and McAfee Virus Scan can detect and disable most common viruses. However, users must update the programs regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

Other ways to protect yourself and others against viruses:

  • Don't open attachments unless the message is from someone you know and the attachment is something you are expecting.
  • Use an email program that discourages virus transmission. Eudora is an excellent email program, available free, that does not automatically transmit certain viruses to those in your address book, a fatal flaw in Microsoft's Outlook Express.
  • Make regular backups of essential files.