Since each new outbreak of a virus causes hysteria and panic among computer users, you can cause nearly as much trouble by inventing a fictional virus rather than creating a real one. By visiting the Vmyths.com page (http://www.vmyths.com), you can learn about the latest virus hoaxes. The following are examples of some more common virus hoaxes.
Some of the more annoying virus hoaxes are those that encourage you to email copies of the hoax to your friends. Not only does this spread the virus hoax, but it creates undue panic and confusion.
To convince people to propagate the hoax, virus hoaxes often contain information that sounds valid and threatening. One virus hoax, dubbed the Disney hoax, consists of this message:
Hello Disney fans,
And thank you for signing up for Bill Gates' Beta Email Tracking. My name is Walt Disney Jr. Here at Disney we are working with Microsoft which has just compiled an email tracing program that tracks everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. It does this through an unique IP (Internet Protocol) address log book database. We are experimenting with this and need your help. Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 13,000 people, 1,300 of the people on the list will receive $5,000, and the rest will receive a free trip for two to Disney World for one week during the summer of 1999 at our expense. Enjoy.
Note: Duplicate entries will not be counted. You will be notified by email with further instructions once this email has reached 13,000 people.
Walt Disney Jr., Disney, Bill Gates
& The Microsoft Development Team.
Since warnings of a new virus almost always grab someone's attention, many people have deliberately created virus hoaxes for publicity. A pornographic website once issued a virus hoax purportedly from a "Dave Norton, VirusCenter@CNN.com" with a message claiming, "CNN Brings you information on the new devastating computer virus known as the ‘Lions Den’ virus. This virus is reported to be costing internet providers such as AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and Earthlink millions of dollars due to loss of members." The end of the message provided a link where readers could find more details about protecting their computer, but clicking on that link led directly to the porn site.
A struggling rock band named Disturbing The Peace, concocted a phony virus dubbed the New Ice Age virus, which they used to promote their new CD. The hoax warned that terrorists had stolen the New Ice Age virus from a top secret government information warfare program and provided a link to the band's website for additional details.