by Jen Kitchen
HOW DO I SPOT A HOAX VIRUS WARNING?
Check for the following signs that
an email message is a hoax:
- Tells you to forward message to
all your friends
- Credibility by association -
message mentions "experts" like AOL or
- Contains phrases like "DO
NOT OPEN!!!" or "DELETE
- Uses many instances of all
capital letters and/or exclamation points
- Contains warnings of horrible
consequences such as "This will kill your
computer!" or "This will erase your
entire hard drive!"
- Claims that warning comes from
FCC - this is a red flag; the FCC does not issue
- Claims that you will get virus
from opening email - this is another red flag;
merely opening a piece of email will not harm your
computer. You should, however, be cautious about
opening attachments to email.
- Message has been forwarded
- Message does not originate from
any of the mentioned "experts"
- Seeks credibility by using very
technical sounding jargon
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I RECEIVE A HOAX
- Inform the person who sent you
the warning that it is false, and they should not
forward it to anyone else
- Do not forward it yourself
- Visit http://www.hoaxkill.com
and submit the warning to them
WHAT IF I'M NOT SURE IF IT'S A HOAX?
There are many sites that list
various virus hoaxes. If you're not sure whether an
email warning is a hoax or not, visit one or more of these
sites for information before
you forward the message to anyone else.
In general, your best protection
against these hoaxes and similar email is to use
common sense and to apply the "what if it were
paper mail?" principle which basically says,
"If I received this email as a regular paper
letter, what would I do?" Most of us would not
forward chain letters, and we should apply the same
behavior towards virus hoaxes. Remember that the true
virus is not the one mentioned in the hoax, it is the
time wasted, panic created, and traffic generated by
spreading the hoax.
Copyright (c) 1999 by
Jennifer Kitchen. Permission given to copy, post,
print out, and publish as long as this copyright
notice is included in its entirety.