Carrying a Torch for an Old Hoax
Date Added: Feb. 7, 2006
Virus warning e-mails date back to the Internet's infancy, when the only reliable defense against the malicious programs was vigilance and knowledge. Viruses have become more sophisticated, and so have the defenses against them. Since most e-mailed virus warnings today, like this one, are bogus, relying on these through-the-grapevine defenses is both unadvisable and unnecessary.
Please read the attached warning issued today .
PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS:
You should be alert during the next days:
Do not open any message with an attached filed called "Invitation" regardless of who sent it. It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which "burns" the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list, that is why you should send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it. If you receive a mail called "invitation", though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately. This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.
FORWARD THIS E-MAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW . . . REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US.
The text above first surfaced in February, 2006, just days before the opening ceremonies of the XX Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy. It is a reworking of early hoaxes around since 2002 that warned against opening e-mails titled A Card For You and WTC Survivor, and is no more true.
Virus warnings play on common societal fears that something we do, such as unknowingly opening an infected file, will cause us a great deal of heartache and embarrassment, since our infection will undoubtedly spread to others and, thus, they will know we were foolish enough to fall for the hook.
Just as many real viruses key in on current events to coax their victims into unleashing their bugs, hoaxes often use newsworthy names and events to increase the 'fear factor' and perceived timeliness of the tome. Then, they tell you that not only could your actions be key in protecting yourself, but also that you have a responsibility to your friends and family to share the information with them - that you are their only defense against malicious hackers.
Yet, in the 'real world,' relying on e-mailed virus warnings to ensure the safety of your computer and the data it contains is foolhardy at best and suicidal - technologically speaking - at worst.
The so-called advisories are almost always false. Even when they do have an ounce of truth to them, they are either blown out of proportion (such as in the case of the Osama Bin Laden virus warning) or devoid of any real information or advice that would truly help you avoid or clean an infection. They serve only to make us paranoid and, in some cases, can do more harm than good (e.g., forwarding them increases your exposure to spam and scams).
True protection from unwanted intrusions on your data and hardware comes from active, up-to-date, real-time antivirus software. These programs are inexpensive, effective and easy to install. If you currently are browsing the internet without protection, you are asking for trouble - trouble that all the forwarded e-mail warnings in the world won't prevent.
For more that you can do to make sure your computer is as safe as it can be, please read Protecting Your PC in the Chain-Breaker's Library. Then, never forward another virus warning. Break this chain.