On this Page:
Where to lookup Hoaxes and Real Viruses
How to recognize a Hoax
Virus" Virus Alert
If you receive an e-mail message with "End-All
Virus" in the Subject line, don't open it. If you do: End-All will
re-write your hard drive. Not only that, it will scramble any disks that
are even close to your computer. It will recalibrate your refrigerators
coolness setting so all your ice cream goes melty. It will demagnetize the
strips on all your credit cards, screw up the tracking on your television
and use subspace field harmonics to scratch any CDs you try to play.
It will give your ex-girlfriend your new phone number.
It will mix Kool-aid into your fish tank. It will leave dirty socks on the
coffee table when company comes over. It will hide your car keys when you
are late for work. It moves your car randomly around parking lots so you
can't find it. It will kick your dog. It is insidious and subtle. It is
dangerous and terrifying to behold. It is also a rather interesting shade
End-All may give you Dutch Elm disease. It will leave
the toilet seat up. And it will leave bacon cooking on the stove while it
goes out to chase gradeschoolers with your new snowblower.
Send it to all your friends but "DON'T open
DANGER, AND BEWARE!
Gullibility Virus Spreading over the Internet!
WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Institute for the Investigation of
Irregular Internet Phenomena (IIIIP) announced today that many Internet
users are becoming infected by a new virus that causes them to believe
without question every groundless story, legend, and dire warning that
shows up in their Inbox or on their browser. The Gullibility Virus, as it
is called, apparently makes people believe and forward copies of silly
hoaxes relating to cookie recipes, E-Mail viruses, taxes on modems, and
get-rich-quick schemes [perhaps conspiracy theories should be included
"These are not just readers of tabloids or people
who buy lottery tickets based on fortune cookie numbers," a spokesman
said. "Most are otherwise normal people, who would laugh at the same
stories if told to them by a stranger on a street corner." However,
once these same people become infected with the Gullibility Virus, they
believe anything they read on the Internet.
"My immunity to tall tales and bizarre claims is
all gone," reported one weeping victim. "I believe every warning
message and sick child story my friends forward to me, even though most of
the messages are anonymous."
Another victim, now in remission, added, "When I
first heard about 'Good Times,' I just accepted it without question. After
all, there were dozens of other recipients on the mail header, so I
thought the virus must be true." It was a long time, the victim said,
before she could stand up at a Hoaxes Anonymous meeting and state,
"My name is Jane, and I've been hoaxed." Now, however, she is
spreading the word. "Challenge and check whatever you read," she
Internet users are urged to examine themselves for
symptoms of the virus, which include the following:
· the willingness to believe improbable stories without thinking
· the urge to forward multiple copies of such stories to others
· a lack of desire to take three minutes to check to see if a story is
T. C. is an example of someone recently infected. He
told one reporter, "I read on the Net that the major ingredient in
almost all shampoos makes your hair fall out, so I've stopped using
shampoo." When told about the Gullibility Virus, T . C. said he would
stop reading e-mail, so that he would not become infected.
Anyone with symptoms like these is urged to seek help
immediately. Experts recommend that at the first feelings of gullibility,
Internet users rush to their favorite search engine and look up the item
tempting them to thoughtless credence. Most hoaxes, legends, and tall
tales have been widely discussed and exposed by the Internet community.
Courses in critical thinking are also widely available, and there is
online help from many sources, including:
· Datafellows Hoax Warnings
( A Great Hoax and Real Virus Information Resource)
· Urban Legends Reference Pages
· Symantec Anti Virus Research Center at
Those people who are still symptom free can help
inoculate themselves against the Gullibility Virus by reading some good
material on evaluating sources.
Lastly, as a public service, Internet users can help
stamp out the Gullibility Virus by sending copies of this message to
anyone who forwards them a hoax.
Users are requested to please not spread unconfirmed
warnings about viruses and Trojans and stories. If you receive an
invalidated warning, don't pass it to all your friends, pass it to your
computer security manager to validate first.
Forward this message to all your friends right away!
Don't think about it! This is not a chain letter! This story is true!
Don't check it out! This story is so timely, there is no date on it! This
story is so important, we're using lots of exclamation points!!! For every
message you forward to some unsuspecting person, the Home for the
Hopelessly Gullible will donate ten cents to itself. (If you wonder how
the Home will know you are forwarding these messages all over creation,
you're obviously thinking too much. THEY CAN'T)
You can tell a hoax
virus warning because they always say something like "Send this to
EVERYONE in your address book". Hoax viruses are spread by humans
(not computers) that follow that instruction. Hoax warnings are typically
scare alerts started by malicious people - and passed on by innocent users
who think they are helping the community by spreading the warning. The
cute stories and chain letters are the same type of virus, they just don't
tell you. If you get a cute story through email and you want to share it
with some of your friends, please delete the lines at the bottom that say
to "Send this to EVERYONE in your address book" before you send
it. Otherwise it just becomes SPAM (Internet junk mail) that is spread by
those gullible enough to follow the "Mail to Everyone"
instructions at the end.
Another way to tell a hoax is if there is no verifiable
source and no date listed in the email. But just having a legitimate source
listed isn't a guarantee that the email is from that source. An
email was going around listed as being from a real phone company saying
you can get a free phone by forwarding the message to all your
friends. We checked their web site and they already had a note
posted saying the email was a hoax and not from them.
One thing this type of email is used for is to gather
people's email addresses for other types of spam advertising, as the
addresses you send this to are included in the message. When one of these
emails get to a spam mailer, they add all the addresses to their spam
lists. Why would they do this? Because people will pay them for lists of
unique email addresses that actually get them to a person. That's the
reason so many of those "8-year old's dying wish" and
"Microsoft and Disney" and whatever else emails get sent
There are a few things you can do to prevent this type
of email address gathering.
First, delete any lines at the bottom of the
story that says anything about sending to everyone you know, and the lines
about getting good luck or something. (We all know we don't get luck or
anything else by sending email.)
Also delete all the names and addresses
that have already accumulated from previous senders. (Best to just copy
and paste the story to a new message.) Then when you send it, use the BCC
field (Blind Carbon Copy) so you won't spread your list of names
throughout the Internet. Note: If you're using Outlook be sure
to have at least one address in the To: field or an Outlook bug will move
all the BCC address up to the To: field for you without warning.
If we all follow these rules, we can continue to enjoy
good stories through email, and we'll be less likely to end up on spammers
(a compilation of info found on the web
and in various emails)