(2/16/2004) With the recording industry going on the offensive to hunt down and sue known downloaders of illegal music, a message from the FBI claiming to have evidence of your wrongdoing would certainly get your attention. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you want to look at it), this message is more interested in infecting you with a virus than warning you of pending legal action.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
Ladies and Gentlemen, Downloading of Movies, MP3s and Software is illegal and punishable by law.
We hereby inform you that your computer was scanned under the IP XXX.XXX.XXX.XX . The contents of your computer were confiscated as an evidence, and you will be indicated. You get the charge in writing, in the next days. In the Reference code: #23808, are all files, that we found on your computer.
The sender address of this mail was masked, to fend off mail bombs.
You get more detailed information by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation -FBI-
Department for "Illegal Internet Downloads",
Room 7350 - 935 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20535, USA
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
In case the spelling and grammar errors in this message weren't clue enough that it did not come from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the FBI, in a statement on their web site, labels this message "a fake:"
"Have you recently received an e-mail, purportedly from the FBI, with the subject 'Your IP was logged,' warning you about illegal downloading of movies and software and saying you are under FBI investigation? If you have, please be advised that the e-mail is a fake--the Bureau, even though it does investigate violations of Intellectual Property laws, does not investigate or notify persons under investigation as outlined in the e-mail. It may also contain a virus. If you've received the e-mail, please contact the FBI at www.ifccfbi.gov."
The address and phone number given in the message are real and refer to the Bureau's Washington D.C. headquarters. However, there is no such "Department for 'Illegal Internet Downloads.'"
The virus the FBI's statement alludes to refers to the file attached to the message that supposedly contains the details about what evidence the feds have against you. Instead, the file houses a worm known as Sober.C, which affects Windows PCs. For more details and testing and removal instructions, consult the Trend Micro reference below. Break this chain.