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10.0 Hoaxes and myths (Viruses and the Mac)




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This article is from the Viruses and the Mac FAQ, by David Harley D.Harley@icrf.icnet.uk with numerous contributions by others.

10.0 Hoaxes and myths (Viruses and the Mac)

Some of these are PC-specific, rather than Mac-specific, while some
have no basis in reality on any system. [I look forward to hearing
about the first Turing machine infector....] They are included here
(a) because Mac support staff are accustomed to being asked about
them (b) because anything that -might- work on a real PC -might-
also work with DOS emulation, in principle.
This section may vanish in the near future, or at least contract.
The hoax business has changed a lot since this FAQ began.

10.1 Good Times virus
----------------------
There is *no* Good Times virus that trashes your hard disk and
launches your CPU into an nth-complexity binary loop when you read
mail with "Good Times" in the Subject: field.

You can get a copy of the latest version of Les Jones' FAQ on the
Good Times Hoax on the World Wide Web:
<http://www.public.usit.net/lesjones/goodtimes.html>

There's a Mini-FAQ available as:
<http://www.public.usit.net/lesjones/gtminifaq.html>

10.2 Modems and Hardware viruses
---------------------------------
There is no modem virus that spreads via an undocumented subcarrier
- whatever that means.... There is no virus that causes damage to
hardware.

10.3 Email viruses
-------------------
Any file virus can be transmitted as an E-mail attachment. However,
the virus code has to be executed before it actually infects.
Sensibly configured mailers and browsers don't allow this: check
yours. In particular, check that your Web browser doesn't
automatically pass Word documents to Word 6 to open, since this may
result in embedded macros being launched.

10.4 JPEG/GIF viruses
----------------------
There is no known way in which a virus could sensibly be spread by
a graphics file such as a JPEG or .GIF file, which does not contain
executable code. Macro viruses work because the files to which they
are attached are not 'pure' data files.

10.5 Hoaxes Help
-----------------
If you should receive a virus warning, look at these sites before
forwarding it along (in fact, it's probably never justified to pass
on a virus alert indiscriminately, and reputable antivirus
companies don't do this. In fact, the information that such and
such a virus exists is not, in itself, useful to the average
computer user, even if it does. A statement like, "Please forward
to everyone!" is one mark of a hoax.

Computer Virus Myths home page
<http://www.kumite.com/myths/

CIAC
<http://www.ciac.org/ciac/CIACHoaxes.html>

Data Fellows
<http://www.datafellows.com/news/hoax.htm>

Scams and Hoaxes FAQ: Messages you DON'T want to post
<http://www.faqs.org/faqs/net-abuse-faq/scams/>

Corporates who haven't sorted out their hoax management strategy
might get some mileage out of my mini-paper on "Dealing with
Internet Hoaxes", though it's getting a bit long in the tooth. It
is, however, one of the few papers on the subject which deals with
it from an adminstrator's/manager's point of view as well as from
an everyday user/victim's. [DH]
<http://www.sherpasoft.org.uk/anti-virus/hoaxes.txt>
I'm slightly surprised to find that I'm managing an EICAR project
in this area: watch this space.


 

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