Re: Computer virus - IMPORTANT!!!

From: Warren Straszheim (
Date: Wed Aug 20 1997 - 08:58:40 EDT

Sorry, Wally, but you have been "had". This is another of the hoaxes roaming
around out there. The warning is the virus so to speak. The damage is done
be filling up mailboxes with the false alarm.

Pen Pals had been around for a while, but this is the first time I have seen
the warning myself. I have seen Good Times and others quite often.

There are a variety of sites that describe the hoax "viruses". I suggest you
(and everyone else) check them out before forwarding such warnings. A useful
web site is the "Computer Virus Myths home page"
( which contains descriptions of several known
hoaxes. In most cases, common sense would eliminate Internet hoaxes.

Those who know computer workings to some detail will recognize a number of
flaws in the warning. (Infecting the boot sector does not/cannot destroy all
the data present on a disk - the damage is done later when the computer is
rebooted.) I would expect a more technically accurate warning from the likes
of IBM.

You still cannot get a virus from an e-mail message, although you can get it
from attachments to e-mail messages. And if you are going to be trafficking
on the internet, please see about a good virus checker.

The following paragraph is from CIAC, the Computer Incident Advisory
Capability, for the U.S. Department of Energy
How to Identify a Hoax
There are several methods to identify virus hoaxes, but first consider what
makes a successful hoax on the Internet. There are two known factors that make
a successful virus hoax, they are: (1) technical sounding language, and
(2) credibility by association. If the warning uses the proper technical
jargon, most individuals, including technologically savy individuals, tend to
believe the warning is real. For example, the Good Times hoax says that
"...if the program is not stopped, the computer's processor will be placed in
an nth-complexity infinite binary loop which can severely damage the
processor...". The first time you read this, it sounds like it might be
something real. With a little research, you find that there is no such thing
as an nth-complexity infinite binary loop and that processors are designed
to run loops for weeks at a time without damage.

At 10:04 PM 8/18/97 -0500, you wrote:
>I usually do not forward these kinds of things to the list... but I trust
>Jim and his judgment.
>So read and heed:
>I received this warning this morning from a friend. Please keep your eyes
>Jim Myslik
>FYI. This appears to be legit -- it came from a source I trust, anyway.
>> WARNING!!!!!! If you receive an e-mail titled "JOIN THE CREW" DO NOT
>> open it! It will erase EVERYTHING on your hard drive! Send this letter
>> out to as many people you can.......this is a new virus and not many
>> people know about it!
>> This information was received this morning from IBM, please share it
>> with anyone that might access the Internet.
>> Also,
>> If anyone receives mail entitled; PENPAL GREETINGS! please delete it
>> WITHOUT reading it!! This is a warning for all Internet users - there
>> is a dangerous virus propagating across the Internet through an e-mail
>> message entitled "PENPAL GREETINGS!".
>> This message appears to be a friendly letter asking you if you are
>> interested in a penpal, but by the time you read this letter, it is
>> too late. The trojan horse" virus will have already infected the boot
>> sector of your hard drive, destroying all of the data present. It is
>> a self-replicating virus, and once the message is read, it will
>> AUTOMATICALLY forward itself to anyone who's e-mail address is present
>> in YOUR mailbox!
Warren E. Straszheim
Co-Director of Ambience for BIBLE@VIRGINIA.EDU

E-Mail: (or:
Roland, Iowa

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of calm understanding is of
a calm spirit. - Pr 17:27
Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips,
he is considered perceptive. - Pr 17:28
It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth
and remove all doubt. - Murphy

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