Virus Warnings and Other Common Hoaxes

Plus some actual dangers to watch for!


Email Facts of Life

Hoax Info Sites

More on the Disney/Gates Hoax

The number of hoax emails dropped for a while as netizens got the word. However, seeing a lucrative new market, outright scams continue to proliferate and evolve. Desperate Nigerian princes may get less of a response, but clever deceptions and enticements continue to appear.
The spread of invisible-to-the-user malware remains steady, but the response time has speeded up -- if the computer user has kepts their own antivirus software properly updated.

Here's an excellent book to help everyone be more aware of real-life scams and their online counterparts:

The Art of the Con by R. Paul Wilson.

Several nations have established 'cyber warfare' departments, as have notorious hacker groups, and even a few sophisticated terrorist organizations.

Email Facts of Life

by Nancy Asmundson

1. Big companies don't do business via chain letter. Bill Gates is not giving you $1000, and Disney is not giving you a free vacation. (Also there is no Walt Disney, Jr. -- he only had daughters.) There is no baby food company issuing class-action checks. You can relax; there is no need to pass it on "just in case it's true." Furthermore, just because someone said in the message, four generations back, that "we checked it out and it's legit," does not actually make it true.
Note! That "Bill Gates will pay you for sharing this" hoax has popped up again, via Facebook messages, more than 20 years after it began!
2. There is no kidney theft ring in New Orleans. No one is waking up in a bathtub full of ice, even if a friend of a friend swears it happened to their cousin. If you are insistent on believing the kidney-theft ring stories, please see:

Urban Legends

And I quote: "The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly issued requests for actual victims of organ thieves to come forward and tell their stories. None have." That's "none," as in "ZERO". Not even your friend's cousin.
3. Neiman Marcus doesn't really sell a $200 cookie recipe. And even if they do, we all have it. And even if you don't, you can get a copy at:


Then, if you make the recipe, and decide the cookies are that awesome, feel free to pass the recipe on. (But I hear they stink.)
4. We all know all 500 ways to drive your roommates crazy, irritate co- workers, gross-out bathroom stall neighbors, and creep out people on an elevator. We also know exactly how many engineers, college students, Usenet posters, and people from each and every world ethnicity it takes to change a light bulb.
5. Even if the latest NASA rocket disaster(s) DID contain plutonium that went to particulate over the eastern seaboard, do you REALLY think this information would reach the public via an AOL chain-letter?
6. There is no "Good Times" virus. In fact, you should never, ever, ever forward any email containing any virus warning unless you first confirm it at an actual site of an actual company that actually deals with virii.


And even then, don't forward it. We don't care.
7. If your CC: list is regularly longer than the actual content of your message, you're probably going to be punished eternally. (Ever heard of BCC:?)
8. If you're using Outlook, IE, or Netscape to write email, turn off "HTML encoding." Those of us on Unix shells can't read it, and don't care enough to save the attachment and then view it with a web browser, since you're probably forwarding us a copy of the Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe anyway. 9. If you still absolutely MUST forward that 10th-generation message from a friend, at least have the decency to trim the eight miles of headers showing everyone else who's received it over the last 6 months. It sure wouldn't hurt to get rid of all the ">" that begin each line. Besides, if it has gone around that many times, we've probably already seen it.
10. Craig Shergold in England is not dying of cancer or anything else at this time and would like everyone to stop sending him their business cards.
He apparently is also no longer a "little boy" either.
If you've received some of these hoaxes, you'll understand the following:

I know this guy whose neighbor, a young man, was home recovering from having been served a rat in his bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. So anyway, one day he went to sleep and when he awoke he was in his bathtub and it was full of ice and he was sore all over. When he got out of the tub he realized that HIS KIDNEYS HAD BEEN STOLEN and he saw a note on his mirror that said "Call 911!" But he was afraid to use his phone because it was connected to his computer, and there was a virus on his computer that would destroy his hard drive if he opened an e-mail entitled "Join the Crew!" He knew it wasn't a hoax because he himself was a computer programmer who was working on software to save us from Armageddon when the year 2000 rolls around. His program will prevent a global disaster in which all the computers get together and distribute the $600 Neiman Marcus cookie recipe under the leadership of Bill Gates. (It's true - I read it all last week in a mass e-mail from BILL GATES HIMSELF, who was also promising me a free Disney World vacation and $5,000 if I would forward the e-mail to everyone I know.) The poor man then tried to call 911 from a pay phone to report his missing kidneys, but reaching into the coin-return slot he got jabbed with an HIV-infected needle around which was wrapped a note that said, "Welcome to the world of AIDS." Luckily he was only a few blocks from the hospital-the same one, actually, where that little boy who is dying of cancer, the one whose last wish is for everyone in the world to send him an e- mail and the American Cancer Society has agreed to pay him a nickel for every e-mail he receives. I sent him two e-mails and one of them was a bunch of x's and o's in the shape of an angel (if you get it and forward it to twenty people you will have good luck but ten people you will only have ok luck and if you send it to less than ten people you will have BAD LUCK FOR SEVEN YEARS). So anyway the poor guy tried to drive himself to the hospital, but on the way he noticed another car driving along without his lights on. To be helpful, he flashed his lights at him and was promptly shot as part of a gang initiation. And it's a little-known fact that the Y1K problem caused the Dark Ages.
Spread the truth...
Please pass this message along. Don't believe everything you read!

Hoax Info Sites


Anti-Spam Bots!

Bill Gates Hoax

Circulating the Internet since November 1997, is a chain letter hoax claiming to be from the office of the chief executive of Microsoft Corporation. Although there are special variants, they all claim to be from Bill Gates and merely ask the receiver to forward the letter to other people.

(Guess what? This same hoax enjoyed a strong (and hopefully brief) revival in the summer of 2008! And once again, in 2017, now spreading via Facebook messages!!!)

FROM: GatesBeta@microsoft.com
ATTACH: Tracklog@microsoft.com/Track883432/~TraceActive/On.html

Hello Everyone,

And thank you for signing up for my Beta Email Tracking Application or (BETA) for short. My name is Bill Gates. Here at Microsoft we have just compiled an e-mail tracing program that tracks everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. It does this through an unique IP (Internet Protocol) address log book database.

We are experimenting with this and need your help. Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 1000 people everyone on the list you will receive $1000 and a copy of Windows98 at my expense. Enjoy.

Note: Duplicate entries will not be counted. You will be notified by email with further instructions once this email has reached 1000 people. Windows98 will not be shipped unitl it has been released to the general public.

Your friend,
Bill Gates & The Microsoft Development Team.

Disney Giveaway Hoax

August 1998 - Here's a new twist to the Bill Gates Chain Letter Hoax. This one concerns a giveaway by Disney. Walt Disney Company IS NOT responsible for any of the information contained in this chain letter.

Disney Worldwide Services states:
"There is no such product or offer made by Disney."

* * * * * * * * * *

Hello Disney fans,

And thank you for signing up for Bill Gates' Beta Email Tracking. My name is Walt Disney Jr. Here at Disney we are working with Microsoft which has just compiled an e-mail tracing program that tracks everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. It does this through an unique IP (Internet Protocol) address log book database.

We are experimenting with this and need your help. Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 13,000 people, 1,300 of the people on the list will receive $5,000, and the rest will receive a free trip for two to Disney World for one week during the summer of 1999 at our expense. Enjoy.

Note: Duplicate entries will not be counted. You will be notified by email with further instructions once this email has reached 13,000 people.

Your friends,
Walt Disney Jr., Disney, Bill Gates
& The Microsoft Development Team.

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