My reply to those “You sent a virus to me!” emails

On Saturday 17 April 2004, I received the following email from someone I didn’t know:

> Hello,
> I am not sure who you are but our security detected a Netsky virus in an
> email that you sent. Whether a personal message or a spam, please make
> attention to the fact that you are spreading viruses and have your systems
> checked. Also, when a virus is detected the message does not get through so
> we have no idea who you are or the nature of your message.

My reply

I really wouldn’t bother sending these messages out, or you will find yourself with a full-time job.

Virtually every modern virus spoofs the sender of the email address of the sender. In other words, the virus scans the infected computer for email addresses, and then picks one for the TO field and one for the FROM field. Someone that has both of our email addresses on their computer is infected, and the virus chose your email address for TO and my email address for FROM. That is the extent of it. Unfortunately, we have no way to knowing who really is infected, so emailing the person who appears to have sent the email is a complete waste of your time.

Finally, I could not be infected, as I do not use Windows. I use Linux, which is impervious to the glut of viruses and worms that infect Microsoft’s poorly-coded operating system.