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Virus and Hoaxes


The following is a lesson on what computer hoaxes are what you as a computer user should do with hoaxes.


An open e-mail to all computer users,


It has come to the attention of the staff of the Division of Information Systems (DIS) that an ever increasing number of  virus alerts, warnings, and hot tips, are being circulated amongst the users. The time has come to discuss these warnings, debunk some of the misconceptions that are circulating, and hopefully set the record straight about computer viruses, hoaxes, and how DIS is protecting it's users.



Computer hoaxes are the digital age version of the chain letter. There are two kinds of computer hoaxes. The "too good to be true" hoax, and the "doomsday" hoax.


Some popular "too good to be true" hoaxes that are currently in circulation are things like: "send this e-mail to 10 people and get a free dinner from Cracker Barrel" or "the XYZ company is testing it's new e-mail system, for every 10 people that you have send to XYZ you will get a check for $10.00". 


Most "too good to be true" hoaxes have a couple of things in common:

1. The hoax mentions a popular company that people recognize.

2. The hoax mentions something that is "almost too good to be true".

3. The hoax includes a "testimonial" from someone who "swears this is true, honest!".

4. The hoax includes the tag line "Send this to everybody you know!"

5. The hoax mentions something about deleting files!"



** Please remember: If it sounds too good to be true - it probably is. **


Almost everybody, has read, or seen on television, special reports on computer viruses and the damage they can do. Viruses are real, and the amount of talent that is needed to create one of these little monsters is impressive (It is a shame these people couldn't put this wasted talent to better use). A virus can range in damage from an annoying message on your screen, to totally wiping out your hard drive, the network server hard drive, etc.  These "doomsday" viruses are a serious concern to everyone, and DIS is no exception.


"Doomsday" hoaxes are very similar to the "too good to be true" hoaxes except the "doomsday" hoaxes uses a persons fear of computer viruses to propagate. Popular "doomsday" hoaxes include: " A virtual card for you", "California\Wobbler Virus", "It takes guts to say Jesus", and many more.


Most "doomsday" hoaxes have these things in common:

1. The (hoax) Virus had been verified by a "big name" computer company.

2. The (hoax) Virus is the most destructive virus ever. 100 times worse than the last known "real" virus.

3. Testimonial from a person who "lost everything" to the virus, but wants to save you from doom.

4. The same tag line "Send this to everybody you know!"


** Please remember: If it sounds too awful to be true - it probably is. **



Now that you have been informed as to what a computer hoax is, and that you are protected from computer viruses, there are a couple of things that you can do for DIS:


1. Do not follow the hoax's instructions to "send this warning to everybody you know", "delete the files"   etc.   -     delete the message.

2. If you are still unsure whether this is a hoax or not, educate yourself  break the "chicken little cycle".

            Here are a couple of great resources for viruses and hoaxes:

            For hoaxes: http://www.antivirus.com/vinfo/hoaxes/hoax.asp and http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html


            For viruses: http://www.antivirus.com/vinfo/ and  http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/vinfodb.html


             After you read about the hoax or virus - delete the message.

            ** Remember - if it's a hoax, we don't want to spread it.

3. Most importantly, scan any floppy disk that comes to you before you use it, regardless of the source.






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Last modified: June 04, 2008