A couple of things you should know.
1) Snopes.com is a good place to start before sending everyone that warning or protest email that you got from Aunt Jane
2) We own computers, we should always be aware that there are people with way too much time on their hands, and it is a challenge for them to break and exploit computer weakness, so we as owners should always be ready for viruses as well as malware and other computer security threats.
a. Run a virus checker at least weekly
b. Update virus definitions at least daily
c. Have a good working firewall
d. Keep good, un-guessable passwords
e. Run ad-aware (NOT adware) from Lavasoft or Search N Destroy to check for malware (both are free)
f Malwarebytes-antiMalware http://www.download.com/Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware
g. Lavasoft Ad-aware 2008 http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_free.php
h. Spybot’s Search and Destroy http://www.spybot.com/en/index.html
i. Micro Trend (various free tools) http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
j. Turn off X-active controls and only turn them on, on a site by site basis.
3) CNN is NOT a good authority on computer threats
4) Proactively read about the newest threats by subscribe via email to one of several security newsletters
5) Another tip: Email and using BCC.
BCC means Blind Carbon Copy. It is a way of addressing mail to more than one person so that everyone’s address is not displayed for all to see. Every E-mail program (including the free, web-based E-mail services) allow you to address messages using BCC, in other words, to “BCC” one or more recipients. Some require that you provide at least ONE address in the TO: field. If this is the case, place YOUR OWN address in the TO: field and all your recipients’ addresses in the BCC field.
a. Using BCC protects your recipients’ E-mail addresses from being spread to strangers.
b. Using BCC helps prevent SPAM (Unsolicited Commercial E-mail)
c. When using BCC, messages will be easier on your readers because they will contain less text to look at. A “cleaner” message is easier to read.
d. Messages will require less bandwidth and will download faster.
e. Using BCC shows your consideration of others by not publishing hundreds of your friends’ addresses to strangers and potentially, SPAMMERS or maybe even stalkers.
f. BCC for privacy – http://www.cs.rutgers.edu/~watrous/bcc-for-privacy.html