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EarthLink Virus Blocker

Viruses love to spread through infected email messages. But Virus Blocker scans your incoming email for viruses, keeping them out of your Inbox. Virus Blocker is automatically on, so you're already getting this protection.

Though we don't recommend it, you can turn Virus Blocker off: Click the Preferences link, then choose Virus Blocker and click Turn OFF Virus Blocker.

  1. Using Virus Blocker with your Email Program
  2. How Virus Blocker Handles Infected Email Messages
  3. Emergency Mode
  4. Using Virus Blocker with your Email Address
  5. What are "Viruses"?


Using Virus Blocker with Your Email Program

Virus Blocker does not affect the way your email program works. If you are using EarthLink Web Mail, there will be an icon next to each message in your Inbox that has been affected by Virus Blocker:

A virus was found in this message and successfully cleaned.
This is an EarthLink system message to let you know that a message could not be cleaned. It has been deleted or Quarantined.

How Virus Blocker Handles Infected Messages

Virus Blocker works behind the scenes scanning your incoming email for viruses. If a message is infected, Virus Blocker takes one of three actions:

Cleans Viruses from Attachments and Message Headers
Sometimes viruses attach themselves to email messages that others send you. Often Virus Blocker will be able to remove, or "clean", a virus from an infected message and pass it on to your Inbox. A note will be inserted at the top of your message indicating that it was cleaned by Virus Blocker.

Quarantines Messages that Can't Be Cleaned
When you receive a legitimate message that can't be cleaned, it's moved to a special Quarantine folder on EarthLink's email system. When this happens, Virus Blocker will send you an email indicating that a message has been quarantined (including message details). Note: Quarantined messages are automatically deleted three days after they are received.

When a message is quarantined, the best action is to let the sender know that a virus was found in the message they sent to you, and ask them to send a new, clean, message.

If you have anti-virus software installed on your computer, you may want to download a quarantined message. You should be very careful when reading messages that have been quarantined, as some viruses hide in the headers of a message, so all you have to do is open the message to activate the virus.

To download quarantined messages

  1. Sign in to Web Mail.
  2. Click the Virus Blocker folder near your Inbox and other email folders (this folder appears only if you have quarantined messages).
  3. Move the messages into your Inbox folder.
  4. Check your email using your desktop email program.

Automatically Deletes Certain Messages
Some viruses "breed" by sending copies of themselves via email. These messages are fakes; they have some nonsense in the message body, and an attachment containing the virus. They are tricky, because they appear to be sent by someone you know! Virus Blocker spots these messages right away, and deletes them before you ever see them.

Virus Blocker will send you an email indicating that an infected message has been deleted, including message details so you can tell who sent the message and when. If it's somebody you know, you can let them know they've been infected. They probably have no idea! If you get more than one of the infected messages from the same sender, you will still only get one notification message.


Emergency Mode

In the case of a massive virus outbreak Virus Blocker will go into Emergency Mode. This helps protect your EarthLink connection from being slowed down or even shut down because of all the Internet traffic caused by an outbreak. Here's how Emergency Mode affects your EarthLink service:

  • During Emergency Mode, Virus Blocker will scan all incoming messages, regardless of your Virus Blocker settings.
  • If you have Virus Blocker turned off, Emergency Mode will only scan for the virus that is causing the outbreak.
  • During Emergency Mode, Virus Blocker will delete any messages containing the virus causing the outbreak, but you won't receive any email from EarthLink about these messages.
  • As soon as the outbreak has been contained, Emergency Mode will be turned off.


Using Virus Blocker With Your EarthLink Profile

EarthLink Virus Blocker is designed to work smoothly with the other features of your EarthLink account. However, there are a few things to take into account when using Virus Blocker

Email Forwarding
If you choose to save a copy of forwarded email, only "clean" messages will be forwarded, including messages that had a virus removed by Virus Blocker. System messages (including quarantine messages) will be saved but not forwarded.

If you choose to not save a copy on the server, then only "clean" messages will be forwarded. All infected messages, including those that would normally be quarantined, are deleted. No system messages will be forwarded.

Vacation Messages
When a virus is deleted or quarantined, a vacation message will not be sent to the person who sent the infected message. Otherwise, vacation messaging will work as normal when Virus Blocker is turned on.


Uninfected Messages
spamBlocker works as usual on messages that are clean, or that have been cleaned by Virus Blocker.

Quarantined Email
If a message is deleted or quarantined, you will still get a message about it from EarthLink, no matter who sent the infected message. Even if they are not in your Address Book and spamBlocker is set to Highest Protection .

Known spam
EarthLink won't send you notification about infected Known spam. If an infected Known spam can be cleaned, it will be cleaned and then put in your Known spam folder. If it can't be cleaned, infected Known spam will be deleted or quarantined.

Multiple Attachments
If any attachment to a message can't be cleaned by Virus Blocker, the entire message will be quarantined or deleted.


What are "Viruses"?

"Virus" is a generic term that lumps together several types of malicious computer programs:

Worms and Trojan Horses

Trojan Horse
Trojan horses are imposters. They have a file name that sounds like something you want, like a game or picture, but they are really a program designed to do something bad to your computer.

A "worm" is a program that breeds, sending itself from computer to computer usually via email. Anybody who accidentally runs the worm file activates it on their computer, causing the worm to send itself to a whole new batch of computers. Some Trojan horses are also worms!

Unlike a true virus, worms and Trojan horses are not attached to legitimate messages. The message a worm is attached to is usually gibberish, but it will have an enticing Subject and may have been sent by somebody you know!

True viruses are devious little programs that can "live" inside other programs-- programs you use. Because viruses can masquerade as useful programs, you can never trust a program that you receive from someone you don't know. You may install a program and use it, but later discover that there was a virus inside and your computer is now infected!

Email messages today can contain entire Web pages, complete with pictures and colors and things that move. Usually, this makes email more interesting and fun and useful. Unfortunately, it also means that people can add malicious "scripts" (such as JavaScript, VBScript, or Active X) to messages, designed to annoy, or even harm your computer. This type of malicious program takes advantage of security holes in your web browser or email program.