Data Recovery Article
Virus Hoaxes - Have You Been A Victim
Have you ever gotten an email message like this?
BIGGGG TROUBLE !!!! DO NOT OPEN "WTC Survivor"
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
a friend sent it to me, but called and warned me before I opened
it. He was not so lucky and now he can't even start his computer!
Forward this to everyone in your address book. I would rather
receive this 25 times than not at all. If you receive an email
called "WTC Survivor" do not open it. Delete it right away! This
virus removes all dynamic link libraries (.dll files) from your
Again,,, I urge all of you to make sure your virius scanners
are up to date daily!!!!!!
Sounds very bad, doesn't it? My, what a horrible virus. It, and
others like it, will eat your hard drive, destroy your email,
infect every other machine on your network and listed in your
address book, and even perhaps give you cookies and make your
car break down!
This email and others like it are simply hoaxes? How do I know
they are a hoax and not a real warning? Here's how it works. A
virus propagates (reproduces) by automatically sending itself to
all of the addresses in your address book. This is a fairly
complex piece of code, requiring a little knowledge on the part
of the person who created the virus.
Well, instead of writing code to propagate something, why not
ask some gullible people to do it for you? That's what these
hoaxes are all about - the "virus" is the email message and the
delivery system is human being.
Why will people do this? Sometimes it's just for a laugh, and
sometimes it's for more insidious reasons. Someone could send
out a message which claimed that any message from AOL contained
a virus, for example, in an effort to make AOL look bad.
Here is one of the first hoaxes known to have been sent out
across the internet. It went out in 1988.
SUBJ: Really Nasty Virus
I've just discovered probably the world's worst computer virus
yet. I had just finished a late night session of BBS'ing and
file treading when I exited Telix 3 and attempted to run pkxarc
to unarc the software I had downloaded. Next thing I knew my
hard disk was seeking all over and it was apparently writing
random sectors. Thank god for strong coffee and a recent
backup. Everything was back to normal, so I called the BBS
again and downloaded a file. When I went to use ddir to list
the directory, my hard disk was getting trashed again. I
tried Procomm Plus TD and also PC Talk 3. Same results every
time. Something was up so I hooked up to my test equipment
and different modems (I do research and development for a
local computer telecommunications company and have an in-house
lab at my disposal). After another hour of corrupted hard
drives I found what I think is the world's worst computer
virus yet. The virus distributes itself on the modem
sub-carrier present in all 2400 baud and up modems. The
sub-carrier is used for ROM and register debugging purposes
only, and otherwise serves no othr (sp) purpose. The virus
sets a bit pattern in one of the internal modem registers, but
it seemed to screw up the other registers on my USR. A modem
that has been "infected" with this virus will then transmit
the virus to other modems that use a subcarrier (I suppose
those who use 300 and 1200 baud modems should be immune).
The virus then attaches itself to all binary incoming data
and infects the host computer's hard disk. The only way to
get rid of this virus is to completely reset all the modem
registers by hand, but I haven't found a way to vaccinate a
modem against the virus, but there is the possibility of
building a subcarrier filter. I am calling on a 1200 baud
modem to enter this message, and have advised the sysops of
the two other boards (names withheld). I don't know how this
virus originated, but I'm sure it is the work of someone in
the computer telecommunications field such as myself. Probably
the best thing to do now is to stick to 1200 baud until we
figure this thing out. Mike RoChenle
So what should you do if you receive a warning about some
horrible virus? Generally, if these demand to be sent to everyone
you know, it's a hoax. If you are unsure, then check out the
Symantic Antivirus Research Center
Go to the search page and enter a few words from the message
claiming to warn you about a horrible virus. Behold, you will
now read about the hoax. In fact, here's the datasheet on the
virus mentioned at the start of this article:
In any event, hoax or not, it's a good idea to just file the email
or delete it. Don't send it on to all of your friends. Don't do
anything dramatic. These things only gain power when people give
In other words, maintain your reason and don't give in to an
emotional response which simply floods email inboxes with junk.
About the Authors:
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This
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Claudia Arevalo-Lowe is the webmistress of Internet Tips And Secrets
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