Virus/Hoax Information

4 Point Protection Plan
A little history
Security Tips
Protect Yourself from Unwanted Links

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am taking the opportunity to express my most sincere concern regarding the ever-growing waste of our valuable time (electronically and personally). I am referring to the ever popular Virus Hoaxes that I continually see passing around the Internet. This is a very big concern internationally as it ties up telecommunications with the wasted time of valuable bandwidth.

I have taken the time and effort to compose this web page with some basic information regarding virus hoaxes as well as real virus information. This page is comprised of information gathered from all over to ease your frustration from bouncing from web site to web site. I have also inserted hyperlinks to many virus hoax sites for your reading pleasure. Before you send a warning to everyone you know, PLEASE take the extra time to research the so-called virus. Most of the time (almost ALL of the time), you will find that it is just a hoax or an electronic chain letter.


There is *NO* such thing as an E-mail text virus!!

Does this sound familiar: "Don't read or open any e-mail titled Good Times! It will destroy your computer!" Many of you have received e-mails warning you of reading a specific e-mail sent to you going by a certain name (e.g.- "Good Times," etc.). These warnings tell you your computer will face certain doom if you open these e-mails and read them. THESE WARNINGS ARE A HOAX.

The TRUTH of the matter is, *YOU CAN NOT GET A VIRUS OR ANY SYSTEM DAMAGING SOFTWARE BY READING AN E-MAIL*. E-mails (that is, the ACTUAL message) can not contain viruses. This is why:

A virus can not exist in an e-mail text message. They also can NOT exist in USENET (newsgroup) postings or simply "float around" the internet. Viruses must be attached to and infect an executable program. Viruses and other system-destroying bugs can ONLY exist in FILES, and since e-mail is not a system file, viruses can not exist there. While reading e-mail, you are not executing any malicious code to activate! Thus, no virus can exist. HOWEVER, if you (or your computer) download a FILE attached to an e-mail or USENET posting (i.e.-binary) and run it, there IS a chance that file could contain a virus, since a run able file could contain a virus. It is also very important that you DO NOT, under any circumstances, allow your e-mail program to automatically download and/or execute an attached file. You risk infection by doing so!

If you carefully read these hoax letters, you can pick out strange, nonsense technical jargon, used to confuse and scare those who aren't computer experts. This jargon usually talks about systems of a computer that don't exist or things that aren't possible.

Oh great, do I believe you or do I believe the virus warnings? Why should I believe you?

Good question. Well, I've been working with computers on various platforms for over twenty-five years. I am presently working as a Senior Systems Architect for Telecommunications, Windows NT and IT Security. I have my own computer business as a computer consultant based in Newark, DE. I am a retired United States Marine communications chief and have worked with the Internet since it's basic conception. But, please, don't simply take my word for it. Ask your ISP (Internet Service Provider) whether or not e-mail viruses exist. Also, please check out the following links that prove e-mail viruses can NOT exist.

  • The FCC's (Federal Government) Response to the Good Times Virus Hoax
  • U.S. Department of Energy - CIAC division - Report on Hoaxes
  • IBM on how to spot a virus hoax.
  • Symantec Corp.'s Descriptions of Virus Hoaxes
  • Stiller Research
  • HoaxKill
  • The 10 worst Internet hoaxes

    So how can I get a real virus?

    You can get a real virus ONLY by downloading or receiving a file which is infected that you run on your computer. Ways that can happen:

    • If you get an e-mail with a file attached to it that contains a virus and you download that file AND run it, your computer will become infected.
    • If you download a file from the internet that contains a virus AND you run it, your computer will become infected.
    • Viruses are also transmitted by computer networks (2 or more computers linked up together) and by infected disks. Don't use someone else's floppy without virus-checking it first!
    • If you were to boot a computer with an infected floppy (boot virus), your computer will be infected (it isn't advisable to boot your computer using a floppy).

    How can I protect my computer from real viruses?

    Take these precautionary steps:

    What can I do to stop these hoaxes from spreading?

    If you are ever forwarded a copy of one of these hoax warnings, simply reply back to the person who sent you the warning that it IS a hoax and suggest they check out this page. The URL is:

    Remember, don't be angry with the person who forwarded the message to you, they were most likely forwarded the same message by someone else. The more people we can educate about such hoaxes, the better! NEVER forward these hoaxes - it will only continue the problem and waste our precious bandwidth!

    Some Important Clarification

    I've received quite a bit of e-mail from people who say "Yes, you can receive a virus from e-mail." YES, you can. As explained on this page, that is one of the many ways to receive a file. The entire point, however, is you can NOT infect your machine simply by *READING* an e-mail. You (or your computer) must download an infected attachment and run it. The page is quite clear about this.

    Additional sites to use for SPAM

    Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE)
    Choose Your Mail
    SPAM Recycle
    Break The Chain

    Additional sites to use for URBAN LEGENDS
    Truth Or Fiction
    Identifying Hoaxes and Urban Legends

    Additional sites to use for HOAXES

    Hoax site list
    That's Nonsense
    Hoax Busters
    Hoax Slayer
    Identifying Hoaxes and Urban Legends

    Additional sites to use for VIRUSES

    SOPHOS Anti-Virus
    Trend Micro

    Additional sites to use for SCAMS

    Specifics regarding the Nigerian Scam
    Crimes Of Persuasion

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