Helpful Warning or Crying Wolf?
Date Added: April 29, 2000
OK, we know what the virus-savvy of you out there are saying right now, but stick with us here. Yes, Pretty Park is a real threat, but posing an even bigger threat is the nauseatingly uninformed warning message that recently began circulating about it.
DO NOT OPEN "PRETTY PARK". It is a virus that will erase your whole "C" drive. It will come to you in the form of an e-mail from a familiar person.
I repeat DO NOT OPEN. DELETE RIGHT AWAY. I don't know how it gets into your address book, but a "friend" sent it to me. Luckily for me I had not opened it yet. She was not as lucky and now she can't even start her computer!
Forward this to everyone in your address book.
I would rather receive this warning 25 times then not receive it once!
According to Symantec's Antivirus Research Center, Pretty Park is a "worm." Worms are different from viruses, but a threat all the same. Pretty park does not inflict a lot of damage and certainly won't "erase your whole 'C' drive." However, it will, if opened, search your e-mail address book and automatically send itself out to everyone in it every 30 minutes. So, yes, as the warning claims, it will most likely come from a familiar person. That's about as accurate as the warning gets. Another thing Pretty Park can do is to access an IRC server which can allow a malicious hacker to steal personal information such as passwords and certain files from you. It shouldn't, however prevent a computer from starting.
What earned this warning a place in the Break the Chain Hall of Shame is the admitted ignorance of the author. "I don't know how it gets into your address book..." As you can see from the last paragraph, the answer is just a few clicks away if he or she had bothered to look, but it is easier to spread panic than it is to spread facts.
And we just about had a stroke when we read the line: "I would rather receive this warning 25 times then not receive it once!" We'll try to ignore the grammatical errors, but we can't ignore how ignorant this line is. We would rather receive one scrap of cold, verifiable fact than to receive 25 baseless and over-dramatized warnings. If you truly want to help your friends, encourage them to install reliable virus protection on their computer. Check out our collection of resources. Break this chain.