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Computer Virus!!!!

By Wil Clark, ACS General Access Lab Manager and Campus Virus Guru

Never mind, it was just a hoax.

I know it has happened to you. If you work at UNT it happened to you on August 3. No, you didn't get a whopping $1200 raise. You received an E-mail message forwarded to you from someone with good intentions. He wanted you to beware of a new and very destructive computer virus. What he did not know was that he had fallen victim to a very common hoax.

Hoaxes, urban legends, old wives' tales and pranks all seem to seep into every corner of society. E-mail has provided ready fuel for the hoax wildfires. Remember you can still question the source and validity of statements you read in e-mail and on web sites. I guess it is an innate human characteristic to trust things you read.

So today I will give you my "It might be a hoax if..." list.

It might be a hoax if...

  • You need to forward it to every one you know!
  • You need to forward it immediately!
  • You know it's true because a friend of a guy's sister who rides the bus with her co-worker called and verified that it is real!
  • Your processor will be put in an nth-complexity infinite binary loop.Your mouse will become infected.The message came from Walt Disney Jr. himself.
  • You stand to receive $5000 just for forwarding the mail.
  • Someone ends up with a tube in his back in a hotel bathtub full of ice in the Big Easy.
  • You see more exclamation marks than any other punctuation!!!!

The number one giveaway is the presence of "FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW IMMEDIATELY!" This sentence has hoax written all over it.

So, still feel the next message might have some validity to it? Then check it out. These Web sites list known hoaxes:

Most importantly, the real danger of a virus hoax is becoming desensitized to virus warnings. Many virus warnings are real. The things real warnings have in common are:

  1. A verifiable source.

  2. Rare usage of the exclamation mark.

  3. They lack the statement "FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW IMMEDIATELY".