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Virus Scares & Warnings   ...are they real or a hoax?

At one time or another you have most likely received an e-mail that sounds very scary.  That's because it contains a complicated technical message, which reads something like the following:

From: One of Your Friends
Subject: Virus Alert for E-mail with XYZ Attached
Action: Pass this warning on to everyone you know!

Message:  Infection Target is Windows ME/XP/2000/.../10/2020. Even worse is that this virus originated in Taiwan only one week ago and is now worldwide.  The virus can infect any Windows file and will quickly infect your entire computer, then crash or take control of it.  The virus uses two methods of infection.  The first method overwrites or deletes information on the hard drive by using direct disk-write calls, which bypass all standard BIOS virus protection, while overwriting the MBR and boot sectors.

The second action has the ability to overwrite certain flash BIOS chipsets on some machines, such as Pentiums and/or other Intel CPU's, which may have flash BIOS.  Some computers have a jumper on the motherboard, which acts as hardware write protection.  Other machines also have a DIP switch, which allows the flashing BIOS to be disabled.  Some newer, more vulnerable, computers cannot be protected by either the switch or jumper.  If this virus executes, it will leave the PC inoperable and might even take it hostage!

Sounds Scary

Since this sounds dangerous you probably passed it on to many friends and acquaintances.  The sad fact is that you have probably been taken in by a hoax!  This type of warning is often just used to tie up the internet, frighten people and maybe get a news story.  It is the modern-day equivalent of the chain letter, you remember, Send a copy of this letter to ten people within the next week or a terrible fate will befall you!

The Net Effect

So, you think, what is wrong with sending this message, better safe than sorry, right?  Well, think about it for a minute.  When you receive one of these messages don't you begin to worry?  Think about all the people you needlessly worry when you pass along the message.  In fact, what you are really doing is something like saying loudly, There MAY be a FIRE!  Hopefully, you wouldn't want to do that.

To further make matters worse, all this extra network traffic (the technical term for anything sent on the Internet) slows down everything for everyone.  Indeed this traffic jam is the same as the one on the highway at 5 o'clock.  At some point all this extra traffic requires more bandwidth (like adding more lanes - or - can you say G3, G4, G...20?) for no real reason.  And that costs all of us more money.  Think about that the next time you pass along one of these fool-makers.

Check It Out

If you click on the link below you will be taken to the Symantec site, a company who makes many products including the Norton Utilities and virus protection software*.  The story is from quite a while ago, however the more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

A Look at Virus History

*NOTE:  Sherwood does not endorse these products or have any affiliation with Symantec.  To the best of our knowledge they are a reputable company with good products. We offer you this link as a courtesy only.

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Legal  This page was last modified:  02/29/2020 16:47:54 -0400