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Hoaxes, Myths and outright LIES
Revised 12-19-18

What are they? Who, What, Why, Where, When?

First what is the definition of a hoax? Here are some dictionary definitions:

A plan to deceive or trick someone with something that is not true.

To play a trick upon for sport, or without malice.

Fraud, fraudulence, dupery, hoax, humbug, put-on -- (something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage)

hoax, pull someone's leg, play a joke on -- (subject to a playful hoax or joke)

Synonyms: Dupe, trickery, chicanery, guile, wile, shenanigan -- (the use of tricks to deceive someone (usually to extract money from them))

To trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous.

Then here is a Internet definition from this page:

There are many hoaxes continually popping up on the nets. False viruses are the most common of these with names like "Join the Crew" or "PenPal Greetings", but there are many more themes that keep recurring. Appeals to charity is a common theme for a hoax, sometimes partially based in fact. If you get a chain letter appeal about Jessica Mydek or Craig Shergold or anything involving the Make A Wish Foundation, please Click Here to check it out first before spreading it.

There are also lots of stories going around about Bill Gates and money-making schemes and expensive cookie recipes and stolen kidneys, all of which are interesting stories, but usually false or even fraudulent.

Do you see a difference between a classic hoax and the Internet hoax? By one definition, a classic hoax is without intent of malice. By another, it may be done for financial advantage. In the Internet hoax, these are neither true. They are always with malice and rarely for financial advantage.

What is the same in both is that a lie is perpetrated. And in the classic hoax, it is usually a one time thing, where in the Internet, the intent is to create a chain letter and clog the e-mail.

All the Anti-virus sites have lists of real virus and hoaxes.

When in doubt, never spread a story around. Instead, check these sites first:

This is my favorite. It has identified every hoax or real virus immediately and is easy to use:
Virus Learn about computer virus myths, hoaxes, urban legends, hysteria, and the implications if you believe in them. You can also search a list of computer virus hoaxes from A to Z. Jan 2006: the site is in transition & may not be up to date,
Another page with excellent information is Snopes & they are still going strong in 2019.

Here are some other places to check:

Department of Energy's Computer Incident Advisory Committee (CIAC) has been changed since I wrote this originally.
Try Googling "Computer Incident Advisory Capability"
Here is a Wikipedia article about it.

This page is considered the industry standard information source for new virus hoaxes and false alerts.
Check the blogs for latest info.

This site is a UK site with info on virus' and hoaxes.

Last but not least, click here to look at my page about real virus'.

Finally remember that if it is a real virus, everyone probably already knows about it. As of this writing, everyone has heard about the SirCam and Code Red virus', so there is no need to write everyone you know. If someone sends you a warning letter, tell them to stop sending warnings without reading this information first.

It's much better to become educated and act dumb than to remain ignorant and act educated.


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