Fake Viruses
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My inbox had was intended to have this interesting life cycle:

  1. Recieve mail;
  2. Sort mail into folders.

But unfortunately, that didn't quite happen. Day after day my poor inbox is poluted with junk mail after junk mail. And I'm not talking about the kind from spam companies — I'm talking about the ones from my family and friends.

Now I don't mind the funny joke e-mails (in small doses), or the occasional "amazing photo" e-mail. It's just the chain e-mails that hooligans start up to create panic amongst ignorant computer users.

Yes, it is a horrible thing, and I get it quite often. For example, I received this "warning e-mail" from a friend the other day:

Hi All, I checked with Norton Anti-Virus, and they are gearing up for this virus! I checked Snopes (URL above:), and it is for real!! Get this E-mail message sent around to your contacts ASAP. PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS! You should be alert during the next few days. Do not open any message With an attachment entitled 'POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK,' regardless of who sent It to you. It is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, which 'burns' the Whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone Who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list. This is the reason Why you need to send this e-mail to all your contacts It is better to receive This message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it. If you receive a mail called' POSTCARD,' even though sent to you by a Friend, do not open it! Shut down your computer immediately.

This is the worst virus announced by CNN. It has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This Virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital Information is kept.

COPY THIS E-MAIL, AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS. REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US

*GASPS* Oh no! We're doomed!

I can see right through this trap. How? Well…

  1. You checked with Norton Anti-Virus… Where is the proof?
  2. You checked with Snopes with the URL above… What URL?
  3. A postcard image which burns the whole hard disc C… Image files do not have the capacity to control the computer.
  4. do not open it! Shut down your computer immediately… Because shutting down your computer is really going to protect you from the virus. Don't turn on your computer again — the virus might activate and burn your hard drive!
  5. This is the worst virus announced by CNN… Where is the proof? Where is the reference?
  6. It has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever… Proof?
  7. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday… Proof? And when exactly was "yesterday"?
  8. This Virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital Information is kept.… Hahahahaha! That's funny! At least it's not affecting the hard drive's "quantum alpha infinity zone" — that would cause lots of trouble…

Hoax e-mails like this one never write an actual date — using theoretical dates such as "this afternoon" or "last week".

Another classic which I have received 9 times in four years:

Hey it is Andy and john the directors of MSN, sorry for the interruption but msn is closing down. this is because too many inconsiderate people are taking up all the name (eg making up lots of different accounts for just one person), we only have 578 names left. If you would like to close your account, DO NOT SEND THIS MESSAGE ON. If you would like to keep your account, then SEND THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST. This is no joke, we will be shutting down the servers. Send it on, thanks. WHO EVER DOES NOT SEND THIS MESSEAGE, YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE CLOSED AND YOU WILL COST £10.00 A MONTH TO USE. SEND THIS TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST. NOW YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO. PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD THIS or REPLAY. COPY THE WHOLE EMAIL. GO BACK TO YOUR INBOX AND CLICK ON NEW. AND PASTE THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION

hey everyone, i dont normally send this sort of stuff out but had a look on the internet and its actually true . On the 30th of november, we will have to pay for the use of our MSN and email accounts unless we send this message to at least 18 contacts on your contact list. It's no joke if you don't believe me then go to the site (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1189119.stm) and see for yourself. Anyways once you've sent this message to at least 18 contacts, your msn dude will become blue. please copy and paste don't forward cos people won't take notice of it

Golly! This one is closer to being believable. But it has it's flaws:

  1. SEND THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST… Hoax e-mails are always asking you to send on the message. Otherwise, what is the point of writing the hoax?
  2. PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD THIS or REPLAY. COPY THE WHOLE EMAIL. GO BACK TO YOUR INBOX AND CLICK ON NEW. AND PASTE… This one is a cracker! If you forward the e-mail, then you can trace back who sent it (and when). We wouldn't want that, would we?
  3. 30th of November… Oh you specified the date for me! Ahh, but what year is this? If hoax creators place an exact date, then their hoax will expire. So they don't.
  4. It's no joke if you don't believe me then go to the site… Did you go to the site? It was posted in 2001, and it just says that Microsoft intend on charging users for their "premium" service. Nothing at all about cancelling free accounts.
  5. Anyways once you've sent this message to at least 18 contacts, your msn dude will become blue… Hoaxes are always trying to bribe you with 'amazing fetes'. "Send this image to 100 people, and a rainbow will appear on it"

The annoying part of these e-mails is that my contacts who send them are too dumb to see through them, so they clog my inbox with them instead.

~ James Kanjo

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