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Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Virus hoaxes: a worldwide problem

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Thursday, 8 July 1999

AN URGENT NEWSWIRE from Africa News Service warned of a dire new computer security threat. "A statement by the Ghana Consumer Association in Accra said the [Wobbler virus] was very dangerous and there is no remedy for it. A message received by the association from its counterpart in South Africa cautioned computer users that..." I'll spare you the rest.

I received the newswire from Bruce Hughes (ICSA), who said "I need to do some major work on the ICSA hoax pages, I get about 50 messages a day asking about different hoaxes." Internet user Bob Dashman noticed US DoE CIAC made a similar statement on their website: "we are spending much more time de-bunking hoaxes than handling real virus incidents." The war against Internet gullibility continues.

We've got a long way to go in this war, too. My own blushing bride dropped her guard the other day — she wrote from work to ask if I'd take part in a "let's get filthy rich sending spam to all our friends" chain letter. I forwarded it to her brother for a good laugh. (No joke.) I didn't "get any" that night but, hey, at least she learned a lesson!