Panix Help System -- Checking your mail for Email Viruses

The huge volume of mail that includes malicious software ("malware")has become a huge problem for users and providers, and has serious economic overtones.

Panix provides software to protect users from viruses, and various methods that allow users to block or filter email that they do not wish to receive.

Viruses, Worms, and other Email Evils
Virus Checking from Webmail
Virus Checking from Procmail
Phish (deceptive email)

Viruses, Worms, and other Email Evils

These are nasty programs that infect your computer and steal your resources. While it's possible for a computer to be contaminated by going to a bad website with insufficient security measures in place, this page is limited to dealing with viruses (and so on) carried in email.

Usually they are found in attachments, and most of them exploit weaknesses in MS Windows (any version) or other Microsoft software, in part because that software is so widely used.

All users are advised to use anti-virus protection on their computers, and to keep it up to date. But Panix provides additional virus checking software that you can use to isolate mail carrying infections.

Virus Checking
You can turn on virus checking from webmail or from procmail. Even with Panix's virus checking turned on, it's a good idea to run anti-virus software on your computer and to keep it up to date.
Virus Checking from Webmail
To turn on virus checking from webmail:
  1. Log into webmail using your email address and your usual password.
  2. Select the Options link at the top of the page.
  3. On the Options page, select Virus checking.
  4. Click the "Yes" button at "Check for viruses:"
  5. Choose what you want to do with mail that is carrying a virus:
    • Deliver as usual
    • Delete permanently
    • Save to mailbox
      If you choose "Save to mailbox" you should also select the folder that you want to use for mail with viruses. If you want to create a special folder for virus-carrying mail, you can do that from the Folders link at the top of the page. Create it, subscribe to it, and then return to this page to select it.
Virus Checking from Procmail

If you are not already running procmail, please see our procmail page.

If you are already running procmail, you can turn on virus checking by adding this line to your .procmailrc file:


It will put anything caught by the virus checker into your TRASH folder, however you have that set. (If it isn't set, the mail will go to your inbox.) Note that you might want to set TRASH differently for virus checking than for spam checking. More information on setting procmail variables is available on the procmail page

Note that you have to make sure to add the INCLUDERC line in the right place. Procmail runs through commands in sequence, and when you set an INCLUDERC it runs through any commands that will be included before returning to the .procmailrc file. If you want to run virus-checking before you run SpamAssassin, you need to put the

line ahead of
in your .procmailrc file.

Note that webmail's virus checking and SpamAssassin run before procmail does.

Last Modified:Wednesday, 30-Jan-2013 12:14:12 EST
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