Of course, these email's were not intentionally sent by their authors. They were the result of the Sircam trojan virus which, thus far, has received surprisingly little media attention. This virus infects Microsoft operating systems, and sends random files from your hard drive to people in your address book (with viral payload appended).
At first, this was amusing. On my Mac (which is immune), I could open these up in a text editor, scroll past the gibberish and often find some juicy nuggets of info from the senders....sales reports, resumes, memos etc.
My opinion of this humorous situation changed when I received a document I had previously sent to someone else months ago. They had been infected and were unwittingly sending tidbits of info from their files to anyone in their address book. It is now possible that anything I had ever sent to anyone else previously, is currently being sent to all the colective address books of all my e-mail correspondents (shudder!!)
This is no longer funny. The security of the information I send confidentially to colleagues is now out of my control, and theirs. My private information stored in other peoples computers everywhere is at the whim of a crafty virus writer. This is not cool!
I found another example of such an incident involving the resume of an innocent person, a company infected by the virus, and an internet journalist.
No wonder most journalists are not reporting this...why stop the flow of private info when it could give you the lead for the next front page.
I would like to hear ideas on how this sad state of affairs can be prevented in the future....encrypted file systems? Auto-destruct e-mails?
Also, have you received anything interesting in you inbox lately? ;-)