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10.0 Hoaxes and myths (Viruses and the Mac)


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:

There's a Mini-FAQ available as:

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

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


Data Fellows

Scams and Hoaxes FAQ: Messages you DON'T want to post

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]
I'm slightly surprised to find that I'm managing an EICAR project
in this area: watch this space.


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