Have you ever gotten an email message like this?
BIGGGG TROUBLE !!!! DO NOT OPEN "WTC Survivor" It is a virus that will erase your whole "C" drive. It will come to you in form of an E-Mail from a familiar person. I repeat a friend sent it to me, but called and warned me before I opened it. He was not so lucky and now he can't even start his computer! Forward this to everyone in your address book. I would rather receive this 25 times than not at all. If you receive an email called "WTC Survivor" do not open it. Delete it right away! This virus removes all dynamic link libraries (.dll files) from your computer.
Again,,, I urge all of you to make sure your virius scanners are up to date daily!!!!!! FG
Sounds very bad, doesn't it? My, what a horrible virus. It, and others like it, will eat your hard drive, destroy your email, infect every other machine on your network and listed in your address book, and even perhaps give you cookies and make your car break down!
This email and others like it are simply hoaxes? How do I know they are a hoax and not a real warning? Here's how it works. A virus propagates (reproduces) by automatically sending itself to all of addresses in your address book. This is a fairly complex piece of code, requiring a little knowledge on part of person who created virus.
Well, instead of writing code to propagate something, why not ask some gullible people to do it for you? That's what these hoaxes are all about - "virus" is email message and delivery system is human being.
Why will people do this? Sometimes it's just for a laugh, and sometimes it's for more insidious reasons. Someone could send out a message which claimed that any message from AOL contained a virus, for example, in an effort to make AOL look bad.
Here is one of first hoaxes known to have been sent out across internet. It went out in 1988.
SUBJ: Really Nasty Virus AREA: GENERAL (1)
I've just discovered probably world's worst computer virus yet. I had just finished a late night session of BBS'ing and file treading when I exited Telix 3 and attempted to run pkxarc to unarc software I had downloaded. Next thing I knew my hard disk was seeking all over and it was apparently writing random sectors. Thank god for strong coffee and a recent backup. Everything was back to normal, so I called BBS again and downloaded a file. When I went to use ddir to list directory, my hard disk was getting trashed again. I