Sending virus warnings

Do not send virus warnings without authenticating first!

While most of us appreciate getting warnings about computer viruses and telephone scams and such, please beware that most such warnings we get are hoaxes and are meant to trick you to forwarding the bogus email to everyone you know. These hoaxes are a humungous waste of time. If you receive a virus warning and wish to forward it to your friends do take a minute to first verify if the warning is legitimate or a hoax.

Yes, your trusted friends and colleagues will get fooled by hoaxes too so be suspicious of every warning. Even so-called computer experts of large companies and organizations get fooled by these hoaxes. Several times I’ve received messages from employees of such organizations and when I contacted them to advise them of the true nature of the warning, they defended it because it came from their head office! Once they realized I was correct they probably earned brownie points when they set head office straight.

Visit www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html where you will find a very large list of virus warnings that really are hoaxes. You will find another list of hoaxes at www.sophos.com/virusinfo/hoaxes.

When you are looking at these lists to see if the warning you received is listed there and if you don’t find it please take another closer look. Expect to find it.

Add these two hoax list sites to your favourites/bookmarks. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the many hoaxes that are circulating around the world and likely will end up in your inbox some day. If you have seen them on the hoax list you will likely recognize it when it does hit your Inbox and you will be less likely to be tricked by it and not perpetuate the problem.

If the message is a hoax do not pass it on, delete it instead. Look for the following:

  • If the alleged warning contains the instructions that you should forward it to all your friends that usually is a tip off that it is a hoax.
  • If the message has the earmarks of being forwarded several times before you get it then it is likely a hoax too.