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Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Bark Worse Than The Bite

"In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words Don't Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover." Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
And those words are precisely what my advice is to you when you receive a Fwd:Fwd:Fwd: Virus Warning! There are very frequent Virus Warnings that are nothing more than a hoax. In fact these are more common than the virus threats themselves. The panic actions they cause (people shutting down networks for fear of the virus and the ensuing loss of productivity and/or trade, or individuals not checking mail and missing out on something really important) are often almost as bad as getting infected by the virus. Most Virus Warning emails read something like this, anyway, so they should not be too difficult to recognize:
Worst Virus Ever! Though it exhibits all the signs of a hoax, this warning is legitimate and may foretell the end of the Internet as we know it! Subject: VIRUS WARNING There's a new virus going around. It's extremely Disastrous and has been confirmed by Microsoft and Bundu Khan to be the worst ever. AOL and Okra's IT Department say there is no cure. If you see a message with the subject line "George W Bush is the Anti-Christ", delete it right away. It will destroy all your data and cause your computer to disable your bluetooth phone. I would rather get a banana stuck in my ear than get infected with this virus. Please send this to all the paranoid people you know. I hate to say it, but this chain makes perfect sense. I have checked it out with all my usual sources and we are all astounded at how legitimate it appears to be. To be honest, it has me downright frightened. I think I will sell my computer and move to a cave in Isloo just to be safe. Whatever you do, do not Break this Chain!
However, unlike my earlier advice on other hoaxes and urban legends and chain letters, I would certainly not want you to ignore these warnings entirely! After all, one of them could be true. So, do not be complacent but do not help spread panic. DO NOT FORWARD THESE WARNINGS WITHOUT CHECKING THINGS OUT! Just follow the steps below:
  1. Visit Symantec's Hoax Page
  2. Corporate Users: Heed F-Secure's advice! They say - "Corporate users can get rid of the hoax problem by simply setting a strict company guideline: End users must not forward virus alarms. Ever. It's not the job of an end user anyway. If such message is received, end users could forward it to the IT department but not to anyone else."
  3. Cross-Check with McAfee's Website
And just in case you thought the warning example above was amusing, you can generate similar warnings by using the Virus Warning Generator yourself.

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Blogger the olive ream said...

ZAK, unbelievably funny, satirical and helpful to boot. Much like the Hitchhiker's Guide.

Thank you for this..and saving for future panic attacks.

01 June, 2006 21:58

Blogger vintage said...

its irritating the way people take these things seriously.

its very very irritating. there is no other way to describe it.

04 June, 2006 01:41


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