Hoax Alert: Olympic Torch Virus

HOAX!I have to admit something: there was a time when, had I been just a couple years younger and had I thought of it, I would have probably tried to start a few email virus hoaxes myself. Some of them are just so off-the-wall they’re hilarious.

Of course, given my sense of humor, I would have gone the absurdist route. My hoaxes would have promised a virus that “MAKES A FIST ON YR SCREEN N PUNCHES YR FACE FOR REAL!!!” or something.

Of course, I might have been dismayed if people had actually believed it.

Alas, I never went that route (plus, I’m sure there’s some way you can get in legal trouble for that kind of monkey business, so there’s that, too). However, I still get a kick out of some of these. Here’s one that’s resurfaced:

Subject: URGENT!!! VIRUS WARNING:

URGENT!!
 
PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS NOTICE TO YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, CONTACTS!
 
In the coming days, you should be aware…..Do not open any message with an attachment called: Invitation FACEBOOK, regardless of who sent it. It is a virus that opens an OlympIc torch that burns the whole hard disc C of your computer.
 
This virus will be received from someone you had in your address book. That’s why you should send this message to all your contacts. It is better to receive this email 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.
 
If you receive an email called: Invitation FACEBOOK, though sent by a friend, do not open it and delete it immediately. It is the worst virus announced by CNN. A new virus has been discovered recently that has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever.
It is a Trojan Horse that asks you to install an adobe flash plug-in. Once you install it, it’s all over.. 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 of their function is saved.
 
SNOPES SAYS THIS IS TRUE………… http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/youtube.asp

Actually, Snopes says this is a hoax. The link in the message is for a completely different threat.

Whoever wrote this does not have the faintest idea of how computers function. How exactly does it “burn” your “whole hard disc C”? Do they mean that literally, as in, there will be smoke and stuff?

For that matter, since when is Microsoft in the business of classifying computer viruses as the “most destructive virus ever”? Would Microsoft use language that inaccurate (“most _____ ever”)?

The real lesson here is this: if you get an email about a virus and uses any variation of “THIS IS NOT A HOAX!” (including references to Snopes), there is about a 99% chance that it is totally a hoax and that you should click “delete” instead of “forward.”

In any case, always check it out first, before you panic or forward the message.

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2 Responses to Hoax Alert: Olympic Torch Virus

  1. Marianne says:

    Thanks Clint, for as always a great sense of humor and vital information.

  2. dave says:

    Actually, just about any email that says ‘forward this to all of your friends’ (or something similar to that,) is almost always a hoax. This includes but is not limited to the ones that say ‘this is not a hoax’.

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