I get so many emails from friends who think they are helping.

Virus or Hoax?

Please do not send messages concerning computer viruses unless you know that the message is not a hoax.

What must a virus do to be successful? It must propagate itself to another computer.

Hoax messages almost always take the form of a chain letter ("please send this to everyone you know..."). The hoax message is designed to propagate itself - in other words it behaves exactly like a virus.

Let's say that only one in 10 people that receives the hoax believes it, but that on average each believer helpfully sends the message to more than 10 friends. The hoax-virus is enjoying an exponential growth curve. Before long everyone on Earth with email will have received the message at least once.

Think of the bandwidth that this clogs up. Think of the time wasted by the recipients in opening and junking the message - just a few seconds perhaps, but over thousands and thousands of recipients, it all adds up.

Hoax messages are malicious. Don't encourage them. If someone sends you a hoax message, ask them to visit this web page.

Please visit some of the following sites to get a feeling for the huge number of hoax virus messages floating around in cyberspace.

Here are some of the many internet sites that provide information on genuine viruses:

And specially for my sister, the Happy99.exe worm is annoying but can be fixed easily:

...and on and on...

Site maintained by: sharman@iname.com
Revised: Wednesday, 20 Jan 1999