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Topics > Caution - Bad Experiences > ID: 1459

Virus Warning True or a Hoax?

Posted Date: Nov 3rd, 2008 06:21 | Hits: 1279
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  • Bjantiques
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We all get many Virus warnings in our emails. In most cases from well meaning friends, but unfortunatly we also get them from people just out to cause alarm.

I find many  Program Admins that  just blindly pass on hoax warnings to their members, without taking a few seconds to check if it is true or not.

As a Program Admin you have a responsibility to your members  NOT to pass on things to the  members without  first validating the information.

An admin of a traffic exchange today sent out  to all their members about a virus  that will destroy the 0 sector of the hard drive and it refers to  Postcard Image.

it took me less than 30 seconds to go to symantec  paste  Postcard image into the search box and  come up with this result.

http://searchg.symantec.com/search?q=postcard+image&charset=utf-8&proxystylesheet=symc_en_US&client=symc_en_US&hitsceil=100&site=symc_en_US&output=xml_no_dtd&context=gbh

As you can see  it is a hoax. This means that that admin will now be the cause of god knows howmany  false  alarm emails being sent out.

The first thing I recommend doing when you receive a virus warning , no matter who sent it to you, is the following.

  1. Go to www.symantec.com
  2. Copy and past the Virus name given in the email into the right hand box at the top right of the page.
  3. Now click on the arrow at the right of this box.
  4. When the search results are displayed look at the list and select what looks like the most relevant result and click on its title.
  5. You should now have a page, which will tell you if it is a real virus or a Hoax.
  6. If you do not see anything that looks valid then look to see if there is a message at te bottom saying they have only displayed what they think are the most relevant items.

Click on the search again to include all items found..


If it’s a real virus by all means pass it on to your friends but include the url of the page that you found on Symantec and tell them to go and check the details.

If it is a Hoax, reply to your informant and send them the link telling them it is a Hoax and give them a copy of these instructions along with a recommendation to always check before passing such information.

The reason people start these hoax mails is to further tie up the Internet email system with yet more useless emails being sent along with the millions of useless spam mails that are sent out daily.

Be safe on the Internet and always check. Never assume its True, just as you should never assume it’s another Hoax.

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Member's comment

Bjantiques  Nov 3rd, 2008
SansSecret: Unfortunately, for many folks sending out virus alerts is a great way of getting you to open their m
If that is their aim San they are SOL with me as i don't look at their links when I find a false alarm.

Bjantiques  Nov 3rd, 2008
pplcheryl63: snopes is a bit behind on some of their info which is why I use both. But it is a good place to che
I think I can safely say snops is not a reliable source of information considering the "Postcard image" hoax for example was fist seen in 2001 - which means they are almost 8 years out of date

SansSecret  Nov 3rd, 2008
Unfortunately, for many folks sending out virus alerts is a great way of getting you to open their message so you can then click their link. After all, they must be trustworthy and looking out for your better interests to have sent you the information in the first place right?

Good article Bj.

pplcheryl63  Nov 3rd, 2008
snopes is a bit behind on some of their info which is why I use both. But it is a good place to check for various different types of hoaxes and warnings. I have run across the same thing with snopes claiming something is true in it's original form but not updating for newer forms.

Bjantiques  Nov 3rd, 2008
Hi Cheryl,

I just did the acid test on both Snops and truthorfiction. using the example above "Postcard image"

Looking at the results I agree that truthorfction is a viable alternative to Symantec but Snops failed miserably. It claims it is true but is referring to the original "Postcard" virus and has no reference to the "Postcard image" hoax

pplcheryl63  Nov 3rd, 2008
You can also check www.snopes.com or www.truthorfiction.com They both can also be good sources to discover if a virus or other e-mail "warnings" are hoaxes.


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