ARCHIVED: How can I tell if a computer virus alert is a hoax?

This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Information here may no longer be accurate, and links may no longer be available or reliable.

The University Information Security Office (UISO) maintains links for some of the most current virus hoax warning sites. For these and other useful security-related sites, see Email & Phishing Scams.

Two key factors make a successful virus hoax: (1) technical-sounding language and (2) credibility by association. If the warning uses the proper technical jargon, even the technologically savvy can be fooled.

Nevertheless, if a virus alert you receive contains technical-sounding language and comes from a seemingly authoritative source, it may also be a true virus alert; for information, see If you receive a computer virus alert message via email.

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Last modified on 2018-05-07 14:42:12.