NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Hoaxes Continued...
by Betty Davis, Vice President - March 97
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An interesting coincidence happened just as I finished the article I had originally written for this column.

I've been basing my information on an article from the CIAC (Computer Incident Advisory Capability). This is to cyberviruses what the CDC (Center for Disease Control) is to human viruses.

In the article I had mentioned and described a few virus hoaxes: Irina, Good Times, Deeyenda, Ghost.exe and Friday the 13th. Lo and behold, I got a warning from a friend regarding Penpal Greetings, which pretty much followed the format of my last column.

In essence it said, "This message appears to be a friendly letter asking you if you are interested in a penpal, but by the time you read this letter, it is too late. The Trojan Horse virus will have AUTOMATICALLY forwarded itself to anyone who's e-mail address is present in YOUR mailbox! This virus will DESTROY your hard drive, and holds the potential to DESTROY the hard drive of anyone whose mail is in your inbox, and who's mail is in their inbox and so on. If this virus keeps getting passed, it has the potential to do a great deal of DAMAGE to computer networks worldwide..." . It tells you to pass it on to everyone you know and it is signed by Sharon Lee Bechtold, CNE, Harris Computer Services, and gives an address, fax number, phone number and e-mail address. Really very serious stuff. Just reading it can give you a panic attack!

In the column I had included the e-mail address of the CIAC so I decided to try it out, and forwarded a copy of the virus alert. Within two hours I had a message from them. "Penpal Greetings has been identified as a hoax. For more information about Penpal and other internet hoaxes, please see our web page at:: http://ciac.llnl.gov/ciac/CIACHoaxes.html." (No mistake..there is no www in the address).

I gave them a try, and everything you ever wanted to know about internet hoaxes is there. Plus maybe a lot more than you really needed. It also includes a funny spoof of the Good Times virus which is worth a look.

Sooooo, when you run into something you think is a hoax, don't pass it on. Contact the CIAC at:

www: http://ciac/llnl.gov/ (or the one listed above) E-mail: ciac@llnl.gov Voice: 1-510-442-8193

I was very happy with the speed of their response. After all, who knows what will happen when contacting the government. Oh Ye, of little faith!!!

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