| Home | Officers | Newsletter | SIGs | Regular Meetings | Sarasota | Join NOW! |
| Coming Attractions | Favorite Links | Calendar | Search | Site Map |


Internet Viruses, Virus Hoaxes & Urban Legends
by Gary Schweinshaupt, SPCUG Webmaster

Periodically I get frantic email from members and friends with "important messages" about new email or computer viruses or "special requests" that are actually hoaxes. Even more frequently, it seems, I get forwarded chain letter hoaxes with some fantastic giveaway (always think to yourself before forwarding, is this probably too good to be true?) or other wild claim. 

While savvy Internet users can usually immediately spot the hoaxes, many of our members can be both intimidated and frightened (not to mention the time and effort wasted when the messages are passed back and forth, to spread these 'alerts/hoaxes'). Running virus checking software can also be a very time-consuming endeavor (especially on a large Local Area Network), when you find that you have stopped everyone from working for several hours to check for a hoax, it can be really embarrassing. However, if you actually discover a virus (especially if you discover it prior to any real damage), you are a hero! You can't be too careful, it is certainly best to error on the safe side.

My advice is to do a little checking on your own before you excitedly message all of your friends and associates, and possibly embarrass yourself by wasting a lot of their time. For sure, all of these hoaxes eat up major amounts of Internet bandwidth. The easiest thing to do is assume that all virus warnings and chain letters are fraudulent, until you can prove otherwise, if you can't find that they are hoaxes, then forward them. I haven't seen a valid  chain letter yet.

Here are some of the most recent offenders: 

Last week's Top 25 Urban Legends from About.com
(Includes Terrorism Rumors & Hoaxes)

We are all also going to have to become as vigilant about security issues, as we are about computer virus issues. Check out our Online Computer Security Issues and News page for more on implementing security on your computers.

Here are some of the better sites that track both email and other computer viruses, virus hoaxes and urban legends. I rely heavily on the U.S. Department of Energy Computer Incident Advisory Capability's (CIAC) Internet Virus Hoaxes page, Trend Micro (viruses and hoaxes) and the About.com Guide to Urban Legends and Folklore, but the others all have good and usually current information. Between them, they describe dozens virus hoaxes, bogus chain letters and urban legends. 

Return to Home Page  Up to the top Back a page Back to Table of Contents Next page Not Defined Here

These sites provide a valuable service to the Internet community, especially for new users.

Other Virus 
Information 
Websites

Virus
Updates

Cert.org

AVP

 Incidents.org

Command

SANS Institute

Dr Solomon

McAfee

eSafe (Aladdin)

Norton

F-Prot

 

Inoculan

  

McAfee

  

Norton

  

PC-cillin

  

Sophos

  

VET

Return to Home Page  Up to the top Back a page Back to Table of Contents Next page Not Defined Here

If you don't find your 'alert' listed as a hoax on one of these sites—then, by all means, send 'alerts' to everyone you think you can help. "It's dangerous out there, please take care of yourselves!"

Updated: December 16, 2003

homebar.gif (327 bytes) 


| Home | Officers | Newsletter | SIGs | Regular Meetings | Sarasota | Join NOW! |
| Coming Attractions | Favorite Links | Calendar | Search | Site Map |