Why to Not Add AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA to Your Contacts

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A variant of the !0000 hoax, this "tip" instructs users to add the bogus AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA name to their email address book in an effort to thwart email worms. The author assumed that the worm would try to send itself to all addresses listed in the address book and an error would be generated because of the bogus address.

Why It Won't Work

Email worms rarely send only to the Windows address book. Even fewer worms send to all addresses at once. Most of today's email worms harvest email addresses from all over the system, including from .TXT, .DOC, and .HTM files, as well as the Windows address book. Most newer worms also contain their own SMTP engine, thus they work independently of the mail client and the supposed alert would never be generated.

What Makes It Dangerous

This variant of the !0000 tip is so bad, it may as well have been created by a virus writer. The tip promises you'll never have to worry about opening email again. The reality is, the tip doesn't work and believing that it will lead to a very hazardous false sense of security. That in turn, can lead to infection which in turn will be spread to friends and colleagues. In short, this "tip" is part of the problem, not part of the cure.

Example of Hoax Email

I don't know if this works or not, but it is easy and seems harmless, so I did it!

As you may know, when/if a worm virus gets into your computer it heads straight for your email address book, and sends itself to everyone in there, thus infecting all your friends and associates.

This trick won't keep the virus from getting into your computer, but it will stop it from using your address book to spread further, and it will alert you to the fact that the worm has gotten into your system.

Here's what you do:

First, open your address book and click on "new contact," just as you would do if you were adding a new friend to your list of email addresses.

In the window where you would type your friend's first name, type in "A".

For the screen name or email address, type AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA.

Now, here's what you've done and why it works:

The "name" "A" will be placed at the top of your address book as entry#1. This will be where the worm will start in an effort to send itself to all your friends.

But, when it tries to send itself to AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA, it will be undeliverable because of the phony email address you entered. If the first attempt fails (which it will because of the phony address), the worm goes no further and your friends will not be infected.

Here's the second great advantage of this method:

If an email cannot be delivered, you will be notified of this in your InBox almost immediately. Hence, if you ever get an email telling you that an email addressed to AAAAAAA@AAA.AAAA could not be delivered, you know right away that you have the worm virus in your system. You can then take steps to get rid of it!

Pretty slick huh?

If everybody you know does this then you need not ever worry about opening mail from friends.

FYI: Another way...found this while doing a web search:

Put as the first email address in address book the name:!0000 and the email address must be ONLY !0000 (So no @ and a name only !0000
They will ask if this is OK - the answer is yes...).

If there is an incoming email from someone who tries to get into your address book and spread the virus on, it will be bounced back directly.