Viruses- can they be spread in plain text?

  Bargee 18:07 13 Oct 03

I'm having a difference of opinion concerning the spreading of viruses. I am a member of an internet based club that uses Yahoo! for discussion, postings etc. The moderator believes that because Yahoo! strips out all attachments & uses only plain text, this makes it virtually impossible for me to receive a virus. I completely disagree, especially as web address & email address links can be activated.

Who's right, or are we both wrong?


  AdeJ 18:34 13 Oct 03

plain text is safe because it contains no code or active contect - hence their OE setting for security.

Email and web addresses cannot be activated in plain text in emails as there is no hyperlink - you would have to copy and paste the text to a browser / email program.

Some twisted bored spotty kid is probably working on it though...

  Wes Tam ;-) 18:36 13 Oct 03

Virus code must be executed to have any effect.

Files that the computer treats as pure data, such as .gif, .jpg, .mp3, .wav, etc., and text in .txt files are safe.

The virus code has to be in a form that the computer will actually try to execute eg. a .exe program file or a Word .doc file.

  Patr100 18:46 13 Oct 03

If weblinks and email links activate with a click of the mouse then I suspect it is not completely plain text.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 19:04 13 Oct 03

click here says it all.


  powerless 19:07 13 Oct 03

Sounds like it more like ;-)

  Bargee 19:58 13 Oct 03

A very interesting set of views, especially the link, Gandalf. I guess this just goes to show how easy it is for rumours to become fact. I suppose I'll have to be "ever so 'umble"!


  Gaz 25 03:54 16 Oct 03

Just for info: A virus cannot be spread in a plain .txt file, however could be disguised as a TXT, when the file is a virus:

Eg... Picture.jpg.EXE

Normally, you cannot see the .exe, so you think Picture.Jpg is safe, and whoops you have a virus.

Also, it is possible in formatted HTML webpages or e-mails, to have script which could download files to your computer without you knowing.

Just make sure you have a virus scanner on your PC, and you will be safe, but keep it up to date!

click here for information on viruses, hackers and spyware.

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