IMPORTANT! Hoax vs Virus email warnings.


Good evening fellow Quilters.

I would like to go a little off-topic from our Guild and Quilting activities.   My intent of this post is to educate how to determine if an email warning is legitimate or if it is a Hoax.

Email warnings have been circulating for more than 10 years.  They warn you from everything from potential virus’ if you click this link, or open that program, to everyday items causing cancer, to major corporations give-aways to ill or injured children requests for assitance.

Before you follow the directions at the bottom of the email, to forward it to everyone you know, please consider this:

From Symantec (Norton Anti-virus):

What is a virus hoax?
Virus hoaxes are messages, almost always sent by email, that amount to little more than chain letters. Following are some of the common phrases that are used in these hoaxes:

  • If you receive an email titled [email virus hoax name here], do not open it!
  • Delete it immediately!
  • It contains the [hoax name] virus.
  • It will delete everything on your hard drive and [extreme and improbable danger specified here].
  • This virus was announced today by [reputable organization name here].
  • Forward this warning to everyone you know!

Most virus hoax warnings do not deviate far from this pattern.

Although the email may state that it is from someone that may be a computer technician, webmaster, computer geek, guru, whatever.   Check out the following websites to see if the email warning is legitimate or a hoax.  I have found that 99% of the email warnings I receive are HOAXES!   It is quite possible the email warning you are sending out, has been emailed several times, over a span of 10-15 years.

You may have heard of SNOPES.com – This site lists hoaxes, urban legends, rumours etc. by category.  Or you can do a search.

Another site to learn about Hoaxes and such is HoaxBusters.org

The major anti-virus companies also have info  McAfee.com – a hoax list.   Although I couldn’t find a list on Symantec’s website, they did have a very good page on determining what is a virus, a hoax, and what is not a virus, and good safe computing!

With all the possible emails you could receive, how do you know what is safe or not?  What can you do to protect yourself?  The sites above do have important information, and I am including a few that may be listed already.

  1. Do not open an attachment on an email, unless you are expecting it.
  2. Always personalize your emails, and try to sign them all the same.
  3. Do not forward emails using the TO or CC.  Use BCC.  This hides the email addresses from everyone receiving it.  You may have received email jokes and such, that seem to have pages and pages of email addresses.  Consider what would happen if that email was forwarded to someone who had malicious intent?  They now have your email address and everyone elses.  Guess where that spam email is coming from.
  4. If you are sending to a group (such as our Quilt Guild) start the subject line with the initials of the group (TQG) with the subject.  Not only will guild members now that it is a guild email, but it is not a spam email.
  5. Be sure that you anti-virus program is up-to-date, not only with virus definitions, but you have a current version.  Most pay for anti-virus programs only have a one year subscription.  You still have the program on your computer, but you didn’t renew your subscription, means you are not receiving the updates to ward off any current virus’.

Please, before you send that email out, no matter how official looking it is, check out the above sites to see if that warning is a hoax or not.   Believe it or not, I have probably seen the warning at least twice before.

-Alice

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