Virus emails: can't ISPs do more?

  jz 10:04 21 Sep 03

It occurs to me that ISPs could greatly reduce the amount of virus emails we get sent, by:
1)Using anti-virus software to stop them being unintentionally sent out by someone who has a virus
2) If 1) fails for some reason (eg that ISP couldn't be bothered to filter then out), the ISPs at the receiving end could do the same to stop them from being received in our mailboxes.

Surely, this would greatly reduce traffic on the internet (ie reduce their costs and speed up the internet) and be less frustrating for email users who have been getting lots of virus emails in the last few days.

My email (Yahoo) has a spam filter, but all it does is put the unwanted emails in a 'bulk' inbox, so they still eat into my 6Mbyte allocation, and they still get downloaded into Outlook Express when I check my emails.

I can understand that a spam filter may remove emails that it thinks is spam but that actually isn't, but a virus is a virus, so there can be no mistake here.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 10:26 21 Sep 03

'but a virus is a virus, so there can be no mistake here'...sadly this is not the case. Virii can be hidden easily and no amount of detection will see them. They can be entwined into HTML coding and will be invisible to scanners UNLESS they are executed. OTOH many ISPs do have basic virus protection but nearly all virii are harmless but annoying, so there is litle to worry about. the scare stories about virii are largely apochryphal with huge doses of Aesop. Self-responsibility and regular updating of your AV will be sufficient.

As usual the above is for home computers, if you are on a large network a lot of money can be lost from downtime.


  hoverman 10:33 21 Sep 03

I am with BT and they scan my email using the Symantec engine which removes any viruses (at least that's the theory). From what I understand, when I eventually retrieve such emails there should be a message attached to the effect that a virus was found and removed. It would be interesting to hear from other BT users if the system works as it should - I have yet to receive an email that had a virus.

  MAJ 10:45 21 Sep 03

Send yourself the Eicar test virus, click here ,hoverman, see if BT detects and removes it.

  hoverman 11:53 21 Sep 03

Tried to do it but my NAV 2004 kicked in immediately and deleted it. No way am I going to disable NAV to send myself a test email!! Thanks anyway.

  MAJ 12:29 21 Sep 03

Good to see your NAV is working anyway, hoverman. :-)

  powerless 12:32 21 Sep 03

Freeserve BB provide no such protection it is left up to us to protect ourselves.

According to an email i emailed them and a reply they sent back!

  jz 21:38 21 Sep 03


'but a virus is a virus, so there can be no mistake here'

What I meant was that if the ISP detected a virus in an email, it could scrap it without any fear of it being a useful email. In the case of spam, an ISP's spam filter might decide that an email is spam when in fact it isn't, so you might loose an email that was not really spam.

  Rhodie 21:49 21 Sep 03

I am with BT - the Worm.Automat.AHB was extracted from emails received today which were aledgedly from microsoft. So the Bt Brightmail antivirus does appear to be working.

  Djohn 22:04 21 Sep 03

AOL also scan all incoming/outgoing mail for virus. To the best of my knowledge none have got through their server to, or from their users. j.

  velodrome 23:06 21 Sep 03

Yes the BT system works for me

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