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Virus Hoaxes ##TOP##

A computer virus hoax is a message warning the recipients of a non-existent computer virus threat. The message is usually a chain e-mail that tells the recipients to forward it to everyone they know, but it can also be in the form of a pop-up window.[1][2]

virus hoaxes

Most hoaxes are sensational in nature and easily identified by the fact that they indicate that the virus will do nearly impossible things, like blow up the recipient's computer and set it on fire, or less sensationally, delete everything on the user's computer. They often include fake announcements claimed to originate from reputable computer organizations together with mainstream news media. These bogus sources are quoted in order to give the hoax more credibility. Typically, the warnings use emotive language, stress the urgent nature of the threat and encourage readers to forward the message to other people as soon as possible.[2]

Virus hoaxes are usually harmless and accomplish nothing more than annoying people who identify it as a hoax and wasting the time of people who forward the message. Nevertheless, a number of hoaxes have warned users that vital system files are viruses and encourage the user to delete the file, possibly damaging the system. Examples of this type include the jdbgmgr.exe virus hoax and the SULFNBK.EXE hoax.[3][4]

Corporate users can get rid of the hoax problem by simply setting a strict company guideline: End users must not forward virus alarms. Ever. It's not the job of an end user anyway. If such message is received, end users could forward it to the IT department but not to anyone else.[6]

A telephone scam, commonly operated from call centres based in India, has been active since 2008. The victim is quoted his or her name and address, and is told: "I'm calling for Microsoft (or an entity that sounds like it is connected to Microsoft, such as the "Windows Service Center" or "Windows Technical Department"). We've had a report from your internet service provider of serious virus problems from your Windows computer." The victim is then directed to open the Windows event viewer, which displays apparently critical warnings, and is directed to a website to download an application to allow the scammer to control his or her computer remotely. The caller supposedly fixes the problems and demands a fee for the service. In addition to the fraudulent fee, the process usually enables malware to be uploaded to the victim's computer.[15]

The virus hoax has become part of the culture of the twenty-first century and the gullibility of novice computer users convinced to delete files on the basis of hoaxes has been parodied in several popular jokes and songs.

One such parody is "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Virus Alert" from the album Straight Outta Lynwood. The song makes fun of the exaggerated claims that are made in virus hoaxes, such as legally changing your name or opening a rift in time and space.[16]

Another parody of virus hoaxes is the honor system virus which has been circulated under the name Amish Computer Virus, manual virus, the Blond Computer Virus, the Irish Computer Virus, the Syrian Computer Virus, the Norwegian Computer Virus, Albanian Virus, Newfie Virus, the Unix Computer Virus, the Mac OS 9 virus, Discount virus and many others. This joke email claims to be authored by the Amish or other similar low-technology populations who have no computers, programming skills or electricity to create viruses and thus ask users to delete their own hard drive contents manually after forwarding the message to their friends.[17]

The Tuxissa virus is another parody of the virus hoax, based on the concept of the Melissa virus, but with its aim of installing Linux on the victim's computer without the owner's permission. The story says that it was spread via e-mail, contained in a message titled "Important Message About Windows Security". It was supposed to first spread the virus to other computers, then download a stripped-down version of Slackware and uncompress it onto the hard disk. The Windows Registry is finally deleted and the boot options changed. The virus then reboots the computer, leaving the user facing the Linux login prompt with all their Windows security problems solved.[18]

If someone gets a message warning about a new virus, they can check it out by going to one of the leading websites that keep up with viruses and computer virus hoaxes. If someone sends them a note about a virus that they learn is a virus hoax, they should reply to the sender that the virus warning is a hoax.

When receiving a virus alert, recipients can typically tell a hoax email by its sensational claims. For example, the malicious software would cause their hard drive to implode or the operating system to crash.

Typically, they also include fake quotes from reputable news outlets, like CNN, and cybersecurity or antivirus software providers, like Symantec, and urgent emotive language to scare the reader into taking a particular action.

While most virus hoaxes don't amount to more than a chain letter or a prank, there are some that urge the reader to download critical system files that could cause significant harm to the computer -- for example, the SULFNBK.exe and jdbgmgr.exe virus hoaxes.

It's also important to remember that virus hoaxes circulate today in more than just email. They can also be seen on social media messenger platforms. As a general rule of thumb, users should never open or forward messages or URL links that seem suspicious.

A virus hoax is an email that provides a warning about a virus, worm or some other disaster, and urges recipients to forward the message. Hoax emails are often sent from what appears to be a reliable source, which can make determining whether to heed their message difficult for recipients. Although such hoaxes are usually benign, they suggest that recipients delete important files from their computers or download an infected attachment.

An actual computer virus is a malicious software, often known as malware, that can harm a computer and its users. Some computer viruses can harm a system's memory or access personal information from its users. On the other hand, a computer virus hoax is usually just a hoax. This hoax attempts to trick computer users into believing that a virus exists which actually does not.

Virus hoaxes, unlike viruses, do not replicate themselves. People who forward them on are either taken aback by the threats and (helpfully) warn others or have a reflex to share anything unexpected in their email.

Virus hoaxes are, for the most part, harmless. The majority of them frustrate their intended receivers or waste the time of those who pass them on. The motivations behind these hoaxes differ, but they appear to be sent for the author's pleasure, to test how ignorant people are and how far the message can go.

However, sometimes viral hoaxes are more malicious than others. Instead of simply alarming the recipient and encouraging them to spread the message, they may also persuade them to take action that would harm or jeopardize their computer's security to remove the "virus."

Delete commands for System32, jdbgmgr.exe, and SULFNBK.EXE are among them. Each of these instructions has the potential to be harmful. For example, removing the System32 folder can only be rectified by reinstalling Windows. Even though these virus hoaxes do not contain any virus, they can still cause significant issues.

Hoax emails are frequently sent from what looks to be a trustworthy source, making it difficult for recipients to decide whether or not to take their message seriously. While most of these hoaxes are harmless, they often instruct recipients to remove crucial data from their systems or open an infected attachment.

A virus hoax typically begins as a single email or message sent to individuals at random, then spreads through an organization's intranet, is transmitted via a messenger app like WhatsApp, or is shared on social networking sites like Facebook.

If the communication is a warning about a real virus, you do not need to respond to the sender. If you feel compelled to alert friends or family, attach a link to the website page where you confirmed the virus's authenticity.

Do not take action regarding virus warnings that are received via email until you verify if the warning is genuine; instructions in the email hoax may ask you to perform tasks on your computer that may harm it and your data.

There are thousands of viruses circulating each day with various payloads and means of propagation. The messages may be from an unknown sender or from someone you know. The damage caused by a virus can vary, affecting your personal computer as well as overloading email servers and networks. In order to protect your devices from infection, it is important to understand the characteristics of virus emails and hoaxes, and the importance of updating the anti- virus software installed on your devices on a regular basis.

Occasionally, messages are sent warning users of a virus threat and encouraging individuals to notify all of their contacts. Often, these messages are not viruses at all, but are hoaxes. Virus hoaxes are more than mere annoyances, as they may lead some users to routinely ignore all virus warning messages, leaving them vulnerable to a genuine, destructive virus.

The SMU Exchange email server automatically scans all incoming mail for possible virus files provided the mail is accessed through Webmail or the Outlook client. If you have an outside email account that you access on campus such as, AOL, or Yahoo, please exercise caution when opening any attachments.

It is very rare that you will receive legitimate warning messages regarding the release of a new virus, or necessary software patches and updates by email. OIT will send bulk email messages if a virus is spreading rapidly across campus; however, these messages are rare.

If you receive information regarding a virus or a suspicious email, please feel free to contact the IT Help Desk. We will be happy to research any virus reports for you. Please do not forward suspicious emails to any other address. The best way to prevent viruses from infecting your devices or spreading to others is to exercise caution when opening attachments, update the virus definitions on your anti-virus software regularly, and be wary of suspicious emails instructing you to perform some action on your computer. 041b061a72


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