Banned From Campus: Unsafe Email Attachments Restricted (Hypertext student newsletter)

This story written by Michael Giardina, a junior in English, was originally published in the Fall 2004 edition of the Hypertext quarterly student newsletter. Go to view a downloadable PDF of the entire newsletter.

You're sitting at your computer, checking your campus email, when you come across a message with a file named "best_videogame_on_earth.exe." You think it might be a virus, but you just can't resist downloading it...and then disaster strikes.

Viruses are made to look tempting, and some of the most destructive viruses propagate through email attachments. That's why the campus has started preventing certain file types from entering the network email system.

Since August 30, 2004, the campus has been detecting and removing attachments that are commonly used to spread viruses from incoming and outgoing email messages.

What Does This Mean For Me?
Primarily, you'll be getting fewer virus attachments. If you're using email to share files with friends, you might want to consider using MyUCDavis' "MySpace".

Will I Know If Someone's Attachment Was Blocked?
If somebody sends you an email with an attachment that is restricted by the campus, you will receive the email but the attachment will be removed. A replacement attachment will inform you of the removal and tell you the name of the attachment, why it was blocked, and options for retrieving the file if you want to.

Is My Computer Finally Safe?
This preventative measure will deter virus activity, although it will not catch every malicious attachment. There is no single solution for eliminating viruses, so you should never open attachments that you aren't expecting or that are from senders you don't know. To learn more about email file attachments, viruses, and tips on safe computing, visit Security 101. A comprehensive FAQ on email attachment restrictions can be found at