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Anti-Virus Labs Virus Hoaxes

There are new computer viruses discovered every day, however a few of them exist only in the imagination of the public or the press.  The following is a list of viruses that do not exist, despite the rumors.  These are virus hoaxes.

Virus hoaxes have been circulating the Internet since 1988.  Often times they appear credible because of their technical language or because they seem to have originated from a reliable source.  Hoaxes can often be identified by the inclusion of a request to circulate the message to your friends.

The following list of hoaxes is not inclusive.  However, if you read through these you will get a good feeling for how most hoaxes are worded, and hopefully you can avoid being fooled by one in the future.

Please ignore any messages regarding virus hoaxes and do not forward such messages to anyone.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

Below is a copy of the actual text 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 morning from Microsoft; please share it with everyone that might access the Internet. Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in our 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.

Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

The "RETURNED EMAIL" is not a virus it is a hoax. The email message has subject line of "Fwd: Virus Warning".  It warns you not to open or even look at email that says "Returned or unable to Deliver".

Email messages with such a text are normal and simply indicate that your mail server was unable to deliver your email message when, for instance, the email address was mistyped.

Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

There are two variations of messages in this hoax emails:

1st message:

PASS THIS ON FAST AND FAR--VIRUS WARNING DANGER!!! VIRUS ALERT!!!

THIS IS A NEW TWIST. SOME SCAM-ARTIST IS SENDING OUT A VERY DESIRABLE SCREEN-SAVER (THE BUD FROGS), BUT IF YOU DOWN-LOAD IT, YOU'LL LOSE EVERYTHING!!!! DON'T DOWNLOAD THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!! HERE'S EXACTLY WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE - AN EXACT COPY....DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE BELOW...JUST BEWARE OF IT. IT JUST WENT INTO CIRCULATION YESTERDAY, AS FAR AS WE KNOW....BE CAREFUL. "SAJ" 5/13/97 . . . . PLEASE DISTRIBUTE TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE ...THANX TO ABYTEDOC / BYTEDOC1 FOR THIS INPUT.

2nd message:

DANGER!!! VIRUS ALERT!!!

THIS IS A NEW TWIST. SOME CREEPOID SCAM-ARTIST IS SENDING OUT A VERY DESIRABLE SCREEN-SAVER {{THE BUD FROGS}}. IF YOU DOWN-LOAD IT, YOU'LL LOSE EVERYTHING!!!! YOUR HARD DRIVE WILL <<>> CRASH!! DON'T DOWNLOAD THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!! IT JUST WENT INTO CIRCULATION ON 05/13/97, AS FAR AS I KNOW!! PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THIS WARNING TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE... BELOW IS WHAT THE SCREENSAVER PROGGIE WOULD LOOK LIKE!

Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

Below is a copy of the actual text of the hoax:

There is a computer virus that is being sent across the Internet. If you see a newsgroup message with the subject line "A MOMENT OF SILENCE..", DO NOT read the message, DELETE it immediately. Please read the messages below. Some miscreant is posting news under the title "A Moment of Silence for the Unborn" nationwide, if you get anything like this, DON'T READ THE MESSAGE, DON'T DOWN LOAD THE FILE! It has a virus that rewrites your hard drive, obliterating anything on it. Please be careful and forward this to anyone you care about.

The FCC released a warning last Wednesday concerning a matter of major importance to any regular user of the Internet. Apparently a new computer virus has been engineered by a user of AMERICA ON LINE that is unparalleled in its destructive capability. Other more well-known viruses such as "Stoned", "Airwolf" and "Michaelangleo" pale in comparison to the prospects of this newest creation by a warped mentality. What make this virus so terrifying, said the FCC, is the fact that no program needs to be exchanged for a new computer to be infected. It can be spread through the existing NEWSGROUP and email systems of the Internet.

Once a Computer is infected, one of several things can happen. If the computer contains a hard drive, that will most likely be destroyed. If the program is not stopped, the computerís processor will be placed in an nth-complexity infinite binary loop -which can severely damage the processor if left running that way too long.

Unfortunately, most novice computer users will not realize what is happening until it is far too late. Luckily, there is one sure means of detecting what is now known as the "silent moment" virus. It always travels to new computers the same way in a text message with the subject line reading "A MOMENT OF SILENCE". Avoiding infection is easy once the file has been received simply by NOT READING IT! The act of the loading the file into the mail serverís ASCII buffer causes the "MOMENT OF SILENCE" mainline program to initialize and execute.

The program is highly intelligent- it will send copies of itself to everyone whose email address is contained in a receive-mail file or a sent-mail file, if it can find one. It will then proceed to trash the computer it is running on.

The bottom line is: -if you receive a file containing the following; \ [P] / o<<<<<>>>>> "PRAY THE HOLY ROSARY" <<<<<>>>>>

DELETE IT IMMEDIATELY!!! Do NOT READ IT !! Warn your friends and local system users of this newest threat to the Ďnet.

Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

AOL4FREE is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

However there is a Trojan Horse program called AOL4FREE.COM.  This program is 993 bytes long and will delete all files on the hard disk.  But for this program to operate it must be executed first and not just received via email.  As always, never open files attached to an email from unknown sender!

Many AOL users have received the following hoax in their email:

THERE IS A NEW AOL SCAM. It is essential that this problem be reconciled as soon as possible. A few hours ago, I opened an E-mail that had the subject of aol4free.com Within seconds of opening it, a window appeared and began to display my files that were being deleted. I immediately shut down my computer, but it was too late. This virus wiped me out. It ate the Anti-Virus Software that comes with the Windows '95 Program along with F-Prot AVS. Neither was able to detect it. Please be careful and send this to as many people as possible, so maybe this new virus can be eliminated.

Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

Below is a copy of the actual text of the hoax:

Take note ! Someone got an e-mail, titled as JOIN THE CREW and it has erased his hard drive. Please do not open up any mail that has this title. This is a new e-mail virus and not a lot of people know about it, just let everyone know, so they won't be a victim. Please e-mail this to everyone you know!!! Remember the title : JOIN THE CREW - Make sure you do not "JOIN THE CREW" that have lost there entire HD

Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

Below is a copy of the actual text of the hoax:

If anyone receives mail entitled: VALENTINE'S GREETINGS! please delete it WITHOUT reading it. This is a warning for all internet users - there is a dangerous virus propagating across the internet through an e-mail message entitled "VALENTINE'S GREETINGS!". DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANY MESSAGE ENTITLED "VALENTINE'S GREETINGS!"
This message appears to be a letter informing you about valentine day internet greetings but by the time you read this letter, it is too late. The "trojan horse" virus will have already infected the boot sector of your hard drive, destroying all of the data present. It is a self-replicating virus, and once the message is read, it will AUTOMATICALLY forward itself to anyone who's e-mail address is present in YOUR mailbox!
This virus will DESTROY your hard drive, and holds the potential to DESTROY the hard drive of anyone whose mail is in your inbox, and who's mail is in their inbox, and so on. If this virus remains unchecked, it has the potential to do a great deal of DAMAGE to computer networks worldwide!!!! Please, delete the message entitled "VALENTINE'S GREETINGS!" as soon as you see it! And pass this message along to all of your friends and relatives, and the other readers of the newsgroups and mailing lists which you are on, so that they are not hurt by this dangerous virus!!!!

Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The Irina hoax was a "marketing gimmick" by Penguin Books, a UK publisher. Penguin Books sent out a "virus alert" in an attempt to promote their new book.  Unfortunately the alert did not make clear that it was a hoax.

The alert claimed to be from a Professor Edward Prideaux at the College of Slavonic Studies in London.  Such a College does not exist.

Although Penguin Books sent out a second letter explaining the situation, it has done little to stop the spread of the alert, and it is now beyond control.

Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The word of this supposed virus was spread through Internet email from a student at Carnegie Mellon University.

The text of the email message was taken from the original "Good Times" virus hoax. The message includes the following "warning":

There is a computer virus that is being sent across the Internet. If you receive an email message with the subject line "Deeyenda", DO NOT read this message, DELETE it immediately.

The message even claimed that the warning is from FCC (like the original Good Times Hoax).  Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

Although there are several variants of this hoax, the warnings are all similar to the following:

Just received a call from family. A friend of theirs opened a card from Blue Mountain Cards and system crashed. Do not open Blue Mountain Cards until further notice. Virus has infiltrated their system..pass it on.....

Blue Mountain electronic greeting cards are benign and contain graphical images that you view with your web browser.  Viruses can not be spread via graphical images.   Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This warning is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

WARNING!! BEWARE GREEKS(Geeks) BEARING GIFTS!

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

IF YOU RECEIVE A GIFT IN THE SHAPE OF A LARGE WOODEN HORSE DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT!!!! It is EXTREMELY DESTRUCTIVE and will overwrite your ENTIRE CITY!

The "gift" is disguised as a large wooden horse about two stories tall. It tends to show up outside the city gates and appears to be abandoned. DO NOT let it through the gates! It contains hardware that is incompatible with Trojan programming, including a crowd of heavily armed Greek warriors that will destroy your army, sack your town, and kill your women and children. If you have already received such a gift, DO NOT OPEN IT! Take it back out of the city unopened and set fire to it by the beach.

FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

Poseidon

Please ignore this message and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The hoax message included the following warning:

There is a computer virus that is being sent across the Internet. If you receive an email message with subject line "Free Money", DO NOT read the message. DELETE it immediately, UNPLUG your computer, then BURN IT to ASHES in a government-approved toxic waste disposal INCINERATOR.

Once a computer is infected, it will be TOO LATE. Your computer will begin to emit a vile ODOR......

Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and please do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The original Good Times hoax that was posted in the fall of 1994 contained the following warning:

Here is some important information. Beware of a file called Goodtimes. Happy Chanukah everyone, and be careful out there. There is a virus on America Online being sent by E-Mail. If you get anything called "Good Times", DON'T read it or download it. It is a virus that will erase your hard drive. Forward this to all your friends. It may help them a lot.

There is currently no virus that has such characteristics.  The email about Good Times warning was written by a couple of America Online (AOL) users, sometime in 1994.  Since then it has spread all over the world via email bringing fear to Internet users.  If you receive such a message, please ignore it and do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The Ghost screen saver program is distributed as a freeware. When activated the display shows a Halloween setting with ghost flying around.   On Friday the 13th, ghosts fly around the entire screen, beyond the boundaries of the program window.

We have received several emails, stating that Ghost screen saver is a Trojan horse doing it's damage on Friday the 13th.  Our virus researchers have analyzed the program and found beyond any doubt that it is not a virus nor a Trojan horse.

Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and please do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The hoax message, similar to Good Times hoax, included the following "warning":

This is a warning for all internet users - there is a dangerous virus propagating across the internet through email message entitled "PENPAL GREETINGS!" DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANY MESSAGE ENTITLED "PENPAL GREETINGS!"

Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and please do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

Message 1

Yesterday a friend of mine called and told me about something that happened to him. He opened his E-mail and this BUDDYLST.ZIP was there. When he opened it his computer crashed and when he tried to re-boot he had lost everything!

It was a Virus that is being passed around...BEWARE!

Please forward to as many people as you can so no one will get hurt. These people need to be stopped. Don't download anything form "buddylst.zip" or you will lose all your files.

Message 2

A computer virus is going around! It is called BUDDYLST.ZIP! Do not download or some jerk from the Internet will get your screen name and password!

Please send this to any names you can think of and remember never download BUDDYLST.ZIP

Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and please do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The hoax was first discovered posted to a newsgroup on Prodigy in early December 1996.

The message includes the following "warning":

There is a new horrible virus on the loose! created late November by elite hacker "DEATH-BLAZE." The virus is full stealth and Trojan, once thought never possible, it first formats the hard drive, then it physically eats at the materials of the drive. researchers are stunned, they say it is probably the most destructive virus ever created. The virus's name is "death69" witch as I stated earlier was created by elite hacker "DEATH-BLAZE"

The closing statement of the message claims that the warning was "written by the technicians at Norton AntiVirus! distribute freely." Symantec and the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center have never released such a notice.

Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and please do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The hoax was first posted to Usenet in May 1997 with the following text:

Please read the following message and forward it to ANYONE you know!!! FCC Virus Warning!!! The FCC has just released a new virus warning of an email virus named "Hackingburgh". This virus is spread throughout networks and email servers.
The infected message has random titles with one attachment and one Java applet. When the person reads the message, the virus would be evoked automatically by the commands of the suspicious Java applet.
However, since the virus is so small, executing it would be undetectable.
"Hackingburgh" is a Multi-Partite, memory resident virus. Once the virus has been executed by the commands of the Java applet, it would overwrite the MBR and place the original MBR in sector 7, cylinder 1 of the disk. It would become memory resident every time the computer is booted up and would infect any removable media, including floppies and Zip disks, that are put drives, by placing itself at the end of the disk and altering the boot sector to point to this code. After the computer has boot up on the 13th of every month, the virus would reformat all visible hard drive partitions.
This virus attacks MS-DOS based computers. Under Windows 95 and NT, the files Explorer.exe & System.dat has a 3-in-5 chance of being corrupted.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING MESSAGE TO ANYONE YOU KNOW!!

Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and please do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

If anyone receives mail entitled: VALENTINE'S GREETINGS! please delete it WITHOUT reading it. This is a warning for all Internet users - there is a dangerous virus propagating across the Internet through an e-mail message entitled "VALENTINE'S GREETINGS!". DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANY MESSAGE ENTITLED "VALENTINE'S GREETINGS!"
This message appears to be a letter informing you about valentine day Internet greetings but by the time you read this letter, it is too late. The "Trojan horse" virus will have already infected the boot sector of your hard drive, destroying all of the data present. It is a self-replicating virus, and once the message is read, it will AUTOMATICALLY forward itself to anyone whose e-mail address is present in YOUR mailbox!
This virus will DESTROY your hard drive, and holds the potential to DESTROY the hard drive of anyone whose mail is in your inbox, and who's mail is in their inbox, and so on. If this virus remains unchecked, it has the potential to do a great deal of DAMAGE to computer networks worldwide!!!!
Please, delete the message entitled "VALENTINE'S GREETINGS!" as soon as you see it! And pass this message along to all of your friends and relatives, and the other readers of the newsgroups and mailing lists which you are on, so that they are not hurt by this dangerous virus!!!!

Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and please do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The message includes the following "warning:"

There is a macro virus going off on Oct 1!!! All computers installed with Windows 95 are installed with this virus. It is a time bomb virus. Microsoft has already apologized for the mass breakdown of computers around the world on that day. However they had yet to come up with a remedy. Some versions of Win95 are safe but some are not.
Please Be Careful, and forward to all your on-line friends A.S.A.P. not a lot of people know about it, just let everyone know, so they won't be a victim. Please Be Careful, and forward to all your online friends A.S.A.P. not a lot of people know about it, just let everyone know, so they won't be a victim.


Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and please do not pass on any messages regarding it.

This is not a virus, it is a hoax.  It is meant only to panic new or inexperienced computer users.

The message includes the following "warning:"

If you receive an email titled "It Takes Guts to Say 'Jesus'" 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 morning from IBM; 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.

Please ignore any messages regarding this supposed "virus" and please do not pass on any messages regarding it.

Variants of this e-mail message have been circulating the Internet. This warning is a hoax. There is no such thing as a "cleanup day" for the Internet. If each web site shutdown their web server there would be NO Internet to clean. The e-mail message is usually forged with an ambiguous signature. You should trash any message related to this subject.

The message includes the following "warning:"

Subj: Internet Cleanup Day

THIS MESSAGE WILL AGAIN BE REPEATED IN MID FEBRUARY. *** Attention ***

It's that time again!

As many of you know, each year the Internet must be shut down for 24 hours in order to allow us to clean it. The cleaning process, which eliminates dead email and inactive ftp, www and gopher sites, allows for a better working and faster Internet.

This year, the cleaning process will take place from 12:01 a.m.. GMT on February 27 until 12:01 a.m. GMT on February 28 (the time least likely to interfere with ongoing work). During that 24-hour period, five powerful Internet search engines situated around the world will search the Internet and delete any data that they find.

In order to protect your valuable data from deletion we ask that you do the following:

1. Disconnect all terminals and local area networks from their Internet connections.

2. Shut down all Internet servers, or disconnect them from the Internet.

3. Disconnect all disks and hardrives from any connections to the Internet.

4. Refrain from connecting any computer to the Internet in any way.

We understand the inconvenience that this may cause some Internet users, and we apologize. However, we are certain that any inconveniences will be more than made up for by the increased speed and efficiency of the Internet, once it has been cleared of electronic flotsam and jetsam.

We thank you for your cooperation.

Please, do not circulate.

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Disclaimer:  These pages are provided for information purposes only.  We cannot be held responsible for any damage you might inflict on your system while using the information contained herein.  We recommend you always refer any technical matter that is "over your head" to a qualified computer technician.
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© 2011 Double-Hammer Computer Services.  All rights reserved.
Last Updated: September 04, 2011

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