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ARCHIVED: What are some examples of popular virus hoaxes?

Many computer viruses exist, and you are wise to protect your computer from virus, worm, and Trojan horse attacks. However, you should view with care any unsubstantiated warnings you receive by email or see on newsgroups. Some of these warnings may be legitimate, but in most, the information is false and the danger is overstated. Below is official information on some specific virus hoaxes. If you receive messages about these, do not send them to others. UITS also encourages you to respond to senders of such messages, informing them that these are virus hoaxes.

For more information about virus hoaxes, see the US Department of Energy's Computer Incident Advisory Capability (CIAC) Hoaxbusters page, the F-Secure Corporation's Hoax Warnings web site, or the Symantec Security Response Hoaxes web site. Also check the Information Technology Security Office (ITSO) Resources page.

Good Times

From CIAC Hoaxbusters:

The "Good Times" virus warnings are a hoax. There is no virus by that name in existence today. These warnings have been circulating the Internet for years. The user community must become aware that it is unlikely that a virus can be constructed to behave in the manner ascribed in the "Good Times" virus warning.

In the early part of December 1994, CIAC started to receive information requests about a supposed "virus" which could be contracted via America Online, simply by reading a message.

CIAC has also seen other variations of this hoax. The main one is that any electronic mail message with the subject line of "xxx-1" will infect your computer.

This rumor spreads widely, mainly because many people delete the message without reading it, believing that they have saved themselves from being attacked. These first-hand reports give a false sense of credibility to the alert message.

If you encounter this message, ignore it or send a follow-up message stating that this is a false rumor.

Irina

From CIAC Hoaxbusters:

The "Irina" virus warnings are a hoax. The former head of an electronic publishing company circulated the warning to create publicity for their new interactive book by the same name. The publishing company has apologized for the publicity stunt that has back-fired and panicked Internet users worldwide. The original warning claimed to be from a Professor Edward Pridedaux of the College of Slavic Studies in London; there is no such person or college.

Penpal greetings

From the F-Secure Corporation Hoax Warnings Pages:

This is not a virus, but a widespread hoax, warning about a dangerous email message titled 'Penpal greetings'. No such danger exists.

This hoax is very similar to Good Times.

Deeyenda

From the F-Secure Corporation Hoax Warnings Pages:

This is another virus hoax. There are a lot of warnings about this 'virus' going around, but such a virus does not exist, and no future virus will be named 'Deeyenda'.

Ignore the hoax warnings and do not redistribute them.

Join the Crew

From the F-Secure Corporation Hoax Warnings Pages:

This is not a virus, but a version of the Good Times hoax. It was started by a message posted to some Usenet newsgroups in February 1997. The original message was like this:

... just to let you guys know one of my friends received an email called "Join the Crew," and it erased her entire hard drive. This is that new virus that is going around. Just be careful of what mail you read. Just trying to be helpful...

Ignore these messages and do not pass them on.

Returned Mail or Unable to Deliver

From the F-Secure Corporation Hoax Warnings Pages:

This is a hoax warning about an email virus that does not exist. It looks like this:

There is a new virus going around in the last couple of days!!! DO NOT open or even look at any mail that you get thar [sic] says: "Returned or Unable to Deliver" This virus will attach itself to your computer components and render them useless. Immediately delete any mail items that says [sic] this. AOL has said this is a very dangerous virus, and there is NO remedy for it at this time, Please Be Careful, And forward to all your on-line friends A.S.A.P.

Ignore this hoax warning and do not pass it on.

Win a Holiday

From the F-Secure Corporation Hoax Warnings Pages:

This is a false warning of a malicious email which does not exist. Here's an example of the hoax:

If you receive an email titled "WIN A HOLIDAY" DO NOT open it. It will erase everything on your hard drive. Forward this letter out to as many people as you can. This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it. This information was announced yesterday (16/2/98) morning from Microsoft; please share it with everyone that might access the Internet. Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in your address book so that this may be stopped. Also, do not open or even look at any mail that says "RETURNED OR UNABLE TO DELIVER" This virus will attach itself to your computer components and render them useless. Immediately delete any mail items that say this. AOL has said that this is a very dangerous virus and that there is NO remedy for it at this time. Please practice cautionary measures and forward this to all your online friends = ASAP.

Ignore this hoax warning and do not pass it on.

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Last modified on August 30, 2010.

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