Setting Security settings in Outlook Express to Restricted and disabling Scripting services will do a lot to protect e-mail.
To do this you will need to open Outlook Express (referred to as OE from here on)
Go to the Menu bar across the top of the OE window and click on Tools
Then click on Options from the drop down menu. A new window will appear.
Click on time on the Security tab. The new window will have two sections.
The top section should be labeled Virus Protection.
Here you want to click the radio button next to Restricted sites zone (More secure)
Also place a check mark next to Warn me when other applications try to send mail as me and next to Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could be potentially be a virus.
This second check box can cause problems if you have people send you attachments that are in an insecure format. If you receive Microsoft Office documents with Macros, programs in their executable state (EXE) or automatic links they will be blocked. I still suggest you select this and that you request the sender create a more appropriate wise and safe way of sending files to you.
Since OE uses Internet Explorers security settings you can set up tighter security there. Even if you use another internet browser, OE uses Internet Explorers settings.
To change these settings open up Internet Explorer (referred to as IE from here on)
From the Menu bar select Tools and then Internet Options.
On the new window that appears click on the Security tab and make sure the globe (Internet) is highlighted. If it is not, then click one time on it.
From here you can slide the level up to be more secure.
In a future article I will go into the Custom Level button for more controlled security in IE.
E-mail viruses tend to rely on Visual Basic Scripts (.VBS). They also rely on dumb men by using such names as SexyPicture.JPG.VBS, Kournikova.JPG.VBS, or MyNakedWife.JPG.VBS, you get the idea.
By default Microsoft Windows does not show the extensions of files in e-mail or at any other time. Even if you turn them on, depending on your Windows version you might not see the second extension (actually the real extension) .VBS. Most people will rarely need to run Visual Basic so an easy way to reduce viruses (notice I say reduce not eliminate) is to neuter them.
Neutering VBS cripts on your computer
To do this you will need to open Notepad (Start | Programs | Accessories | Notepad).
Do not type anything in the notepad screen.
Go to File and select Save As. A new window will appear.
In the Save In box select the drop down arrow to the right of it and click one time on Desktop from the drop down menu.
Now go to the bottom of the Save As window and next to file name type in Temp.vbs.
Under the Save as type box click the drop down arrow and select All Files (*.*).
Finally click on the Save button.
Exit from Notepad, on the desktop you will see a new icon named temp.vbs.
Now you will need to right-click on the new icon and select Open with from the pop-up menu.
Then click on Choose Program. A new window will appear with many program listed in alphabetical order.
Scroll down to Notepad, click one time on it to highlight it.
Notice that there is a check box labeled Always use this program to open these files, place a check mark here.
Finally select OK.
Now all *.VBS files will be opened in notepad and will not run. You can also see the contents of the file. If you need to run a script for some reason, simply save it to your computer and then drag and drop it onto the Internet Explorer icon.