Your Macabre Curiosity Can Hurt You

Gruesome images of violent death fascinate people, but acting too rashly on that fascination can get you into trouble. It could bring you nightmares. It may force you into awkward explanations should your spouse, children, or parents find out about it. And it could infect your computer.

Soon after rebels killed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, emails of evil intent went out offering "bloody photos" of the hated leader's death. According to a Computer Business Review report, the message came with an attached file called "Bloody Photos_Gadhafi_Death.rar." If you decompress that file on a Windows PC that's not properly protected, then congratulations, you are now the proud owner of an infected computer.

The folks who designed this bait knew what they were doing. First, they spoofed this email, faking the “From” address to make it appear to come from Agence France-Presse (AFP0), a legitimate news service. And by making Gaddafi's death the center of their trap, they attracted both news junkies and the morbidly curious. Besides, since almost everyone wanted Gaddafi dead, an invitation to look at his gruesome body seemed not only macabre but somewhat guilt-free.

This particular scam is history by now, but there will be others. Don't fall for them. Be very suspicious of messages that appear to come from a respectable company, especially if you've never done business with them. Never open an email attachment unless it's from someone you know, and the message seems to have plausibly come from them. News agencies don't send messages to strangers, and they don't send photos in archive files.

And finally, make sure your computer is well protected. Don't settle for any anti-virus program; invest in either Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security or Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security. Not only will either of these programs protect you from malicious software trying to sneak onto your PC, but they'll also block email and image spam, making it unlikely that you would even see this sort of sordid invitation.

And one more thing: If you feel the urge to see something bloody, just rent one of the Saw movies. It's safer.

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