By their very nature, Virus-Hoax warnings are basically scare alerts started by
hateful and vindictive people. The innocent users who receive them often think
they are helping their friends by passing these fraudulent warnings to them.
Passing on these hoax alarms can cause serious damage. As an example, in a
large company with a private email network, virus hoaxes have caused whole
e-mail systems to break
down after dozens of users forwarded false alerts to everybody in their
organization. End users should never forward virus alarms. Ever.
They are spread because it's human nature to fear and react to threatening
Virus hoax messages warn the reader of potential disaster and demand that the
warning be forwarded to everyone the reader knows. This often results in the
hoaxes spreading faster than many viruses.
Another serious problem with hoaxes is complacency. An individual, maybe already
embarrassed once for naively believing in a hoax, is much less likely to accept
a valid virus warning as being true. Thus, a valid warning is met with disbelief
and apathy. In such a case, a hoax can be considered a potential precursor to
Most virus writers prey on this trait of human nature and use known hoaxes to
their advantage by attaching a virus to their fraudulent hoax warnings. AOL4FREE
began as a hoax virus warning. It was then distributed with a destructive trojan
attached to the original hoax virus warning!
The lesson learned, to repeat: never forward virus alarms. Ever!
Next time you receive an urgent virus warning message, be sure to check the list
virus hoaxes here at
HERE at SOPHOS.
Urban Legends (preposterous
ridiculous folklore that appears to contain some truth)
are more than just
simple annoyances. Unfortunately, they can lead some
internet users to routinely ignore all virus warning messages, leaving them
vulnerable to a genuine, destructive virus.
http://www.snopes.com/ for general urban legends).
What's OK to do about Virus
Do exactly the opposite of what the
hoaxes say you should do. Do not forward the false warning
Do send a message to the person who sent you the hoax message. Tell him or her
it's a hoax. Say, "Don't send it out to others."
You may want to point
that person to this website, so they, too, can understand the nature of virus
"Follow These Guidelines To Help Detect A Hoax"
Generally, a hoax will have some combination of the following characteristics
(but not necessarily all of them):
a warning message about a virus (or occasionally a Trojan)
on the Internet.
►It's usually from an individual, occasionally from a company, but
from the cited source.
►It warns you not to read or
download the supposed virus.
►It describes the virus as having
fearsomely destructive powers
the ability to send itself by e-mail.
►It usually has lots of words in all caps and loads of exclamation
►It urges you to alert everyone you know, and usually tells you this
►It seeks credibility by citing some authoritative source
warning. Usually the source says the virus is "bad" or has them
►It encourages you
to believe the alert by
describing the virus
in false technical terms.
to "What's a Virus, Anyway"
Follow these links for information, advice, and
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