Computer Virus Hoaxes
Computer virus hoaxes are
bogus computer virus alerts that are typically sent via email. The
email message offers a warning to the recipient about the possibility of
viral threat to one’s computer. After explaining the possible dangers of the
virus to one’s computer, it ends with a call to action encouraging the
recipient to forward the email to their contacts to warn them about the said
In most cases, there is no
danger directly involved with such computer virus hoaxes themselves.
However, the danger comes with the suggested plan of action that is included
in the “chain email” that is sent to one’s inbox.
Some virus hoax email would
recommend deleting certain system files off the computer, indicating that
this is the best way to get rid of the viral threat. In reality, it will
only cause damage to the computer system even when there is no real computer
It is easy to identify computer virus hoaxes since they exhibit common
characteristics. The email message is often sensational in nature, such as
warning severe damage on one’s computer system. These messages are composed
in such a way that the reader will be prompted to take immediate action
regarding the warning. In some cases, it will also contain announcements
from reputable organizations to inspire credibility into the message
contained in the said email.
One way to protect one’s self is to identify the common characteristics of
virus hoaxes. The Antichrist virus hoax authored by Dylan Nicholas warned
about a virus that was developed by McAfee and Microsoft. The email comes
with a subject line “SURPRISE?!!!!!!!!!!!!” and attempts to destroy the
zeroth sector of one’s computer system.
Another popular virus hoax is the Invitation attachment virus, which was
developed by Jim Flanagan. This started in 2006 wherein an email spam
recommended users to delete an email that comes with an invitation
attachment as it will introduce a virus into the computer, also referred to
as the Olympic Torch virus.
The recommended action for those who encounter computer virus hoaxes is to
delete those e-mails. It is also not advisable to forward the email hoax to
other users to prevent it from propagating the agenda of the malicious
people who designed them. Instead, one must spread the word of warning in
case they receive an email that is characteristic of a virus hoax.
Prevention is the best way to deal with these hoaxes and keep them from
causing damage to a computer system. Some corporate users employ strict
guidelines when dealing with virus alerts. In such cases, there is an IT
department that is assigned to deal with the virus warning, if in case there
For home users,
receive one of these warnings via email, go to the internet and search for
the topic first. Do not delete any file or forward the message unless
you are certain that the warning is true.
Computer virus hoaxes can
indeed cause the same amount of damage as real viruses do as they can trick
you into deleting important system files and they can spread rapidly on the
internet like computer worms.. This is why users are advised to take more
precaution when reading or responding to emails in their inbox. With this
information, hopefully, computer users will be smart enough to take the
right action in such situations.
You can find a list of
popular virus hoaxes at