(4/13/2000) This one first arrived in our inboxes in 1999, but continues to dupe those who've never seen it before.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
Very Urgent Must Read Please - If you receive an e-mail titled "Win A Holiday" DO NOT open it. It will erase everything on your hard drive. Forward this letter out to as many people as you can. This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it. This information was announced yesterday morning from Microsoft.
Compaq Computer Corporation
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
This is probably the most simple of the "classic" virus hoaxes on which most newer hoaxes are based. Let's dissect it line-by-line:
Very Urgent Must Read Please It's somewhat hard to believe that a message urgent had to be forwarded 20 times before it got to you.
If you receive an e-mail titled "Win A Holiday" DO NOT open it. With very few exceptions, the simple act of opening an e-mail, no matter what the title, will not infect your computer with a virus. You can, however get infected by opening an executable file attachment that contains the virus. That's why it's good practice to never open any file attachment you weren't expecting.
It will erase everything on your hard drive. Very few, if any, viruses actually destroy all of your data. This type of payload is very unlikely in a virus, but, let's face it, is every computer user's nightmare.
Forward this letter out to as many people as you can. If this letter really did come from a Compaq representative, don't you think that company's substantial PR firm would have more effective means of spreading the word than by asking random strangers to forward it.
This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it. Well, of course! Why else would they bother sending out a warning? The problem is, there is no way to know when the message was authored. But, more importantly, not many people know about it because IT ISN'T TRUE!
This information was announced yesterday morning from Microsoft. Microsoft is not in the antivirus business. Companies like McAfee, Symantec, and Norton are, but which names do you know better? If a warning cites Microsoft, AOL, or IBM as the source, then you can be pretty sure it's a hoax.
Thank You, Neil Ferrick Compaq Computer Corporation Odds are this person doesn't exist. But, if he is real, it's likely that he has no association with this warning except that he forwarded it once, inadvertently adding his name and credentials to it.
Depending on e-mail chain letters to defend against viruses is akin to hiding from someone behind a plate-glass window - it's utterly ineffective and gives you a false sense of security while it may actually expose you to risks. For real ways to prevent unwanted intrusions on your data, read "Protecting Your PC" in the Chain-Breaker's Library.