Warnings about incoming e-mail

Different antivirus programs have different ways of showing you when a virus is detected in an e-mail message. Some slip a note into the mail message, informing you that your program has removed a virus from a particular mail message. Others warn you with a pop-up window (not a browser pop-up, but one produced by your antivirus program) when they detect a virus in a mail message.

Most of the time, the antivirus program removes the virus and fixes things on the spot, says so, and there’s nothing further to worry about. Your antivirus program functions as judge, jury, and executioner all in one (when you see a message along the lines.

But sometimes your antivirus program can’t remove the virus — especially if the virus is too new — so you’ve got to become familiar with how your antivirus program tells you what’s up. If it can kill the inbound virus — and does so and tells you so — then you’ve got nothing further to worry about. If (sinister music here) your antivirus program detects but can’t remove the virus, three burning questions crop up:

  • If it detects a virus but can’t kill it, does that mean my system is already infected (and should I panic now)?
  •  If my system isn’t infected, how can I dispose of the virus without launching it (what’s my equivalent of oven mitts)?
  • What do I do now? (Scream? Use bad language? Pitch my computer and move to a cave?)