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Issue 105 - August 2010 - Page 12

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Mars, Earth - Closest Approach in Recorded History
  2. Falsely Attributed Quote - A Norman Rockwell Moment
  3. Telstra Bill Account Update Phishing Scam
  4. Scammers Pose as Microsoft Tech Support Workers to Hijack Computers
  5. Laptop Fire Death Warning Email
  6. Verified By Visa Banking Incident Phishing Scam
  7. St. Augustine Find - Huge Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
  8. Free Blackberry Storm for Forwarding Hoax
  9. Five Headed Cobra Hoax Images
  10. AOL Update Billing Information Phishing Scam
  11. Kevin Rudd Fire the Cattle Guards Hoax
  12. Resignation Of Barack Obama Virus Hoax
  13. Decorative Magnets on Refrigerators - Cancer Warning Hoax
  14. Knob Face Trojan Worm Warning Message
  15. Face Book Promotion Advance Fee Scam
  16. BlackBerry RIM Inactive Account Hoax
  17. Circulating Request - Help Pooja Find Her Parents
  18. Black in the White House Virus Hoax
  19. 1954 Home Computer Hoax
  20. Debbie Shwartz Charity Hoax

Issue 105 Start Menu

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Resignation Of Barack Obama Virus Hoax

Outline
Message warns recipients not to open an email with a subject or attachment titled "Resignation Of Barack Obama" or "Postcard From Bejing" because it contains a virus that will destroy the hard drive on the infected computer.



Brief Analysis
The claims in the warning message are false. The message is just a newer version of older virus hoaxes that have circulated for a number of years. There is no virus like the one described in the message. Note however, that Internet criminals have often used bogus eCard notification emails as a means of distributing malware that may include the word "postcard". However, other than the reference to a postcard, the real malware threat and the fictional virus have nothing whatsoever in common ( See detailed analysis below for details).

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



Last updated: 6th July 2010
First published: 6th July 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS

PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS! You should be alert during the next few days. Do not open any message with an attachment entitled 'POSTCARD FROM BEJING' or 'RESIGNATION OF BARACK OBAMA ',regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus that opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, then 'burns' the whole hard C disc of your computer.

This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in their contact list. This is the reason why you need to send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive a mail entitled ' POSTCARD FROM BEJING ' or ' RESIGNATION OF BARACK OBAMA even though sent to you by a trusted friend, under no circumstance, do not open it! Shut down your computer immediately.

This is the worst virus announced by CNN last evening. It has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. The virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus.

This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.

COPY THIS E-MAIL, AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS. REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US.




Detailed Analysis
This message warns recipients to watch out for emails that have the subject line or attachment name "Resignation Of Barack Obama" or "Postcard From Bejing". According to the warning message, opening the email will launch the "most destructive virus ever" and will destroy the infected computer beyond repair. Supposedly, the virus will "burn" the hard drive on the infected computer and destroy sector zero, "where the vital information is kept".

However, the claims in this "warning" message are untrue. There is not, nor has there ever been a virus with the characteristics described in this message. In fact, the message is just one more in a long series of pointless virus hoaxes that have circulated for several years. A very similar hoax that was launched in 2009 and still continues to circulate warns about a supposed virus with the subject line "Black in the White House". As the following example illustrates, the two hoaxes were obviously cut from the same cloth:
In the coming days, Do not open any message With an attachment called: Black in the White House, Regardless of who sent you ... It is a virus that opens an Olympic torch that burns the whole hard disk C of your computer. This virus comes from a known person who you had in your list Directions. That's why you should send this message to all your Contacts.

It is better to receive this email 25 times to receive the virus and Open .. If you receive a message called: black in the white house, even Sent by a friend, do not open and shut down your machine immediately. It is the worst virus announced by CNN. A new virus has been discovered Recently it has been classified by Microsoft as the virus most destructive ever. This virus was discovered yesterday afternoon By McAfee. And there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus Simply destroys the Zero Sector of the hard disk, where information Vital function is stored.
And the "Black in the White House" variant was itself copied from an earlier hoax:
You should be alert during the next days: Do not open any message with an attached filed called "Invitation" regardless of who sent it. It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which "burns" the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list, that is why you should send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive a mail called "invitation", though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately.

This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept. SEND THIS E-MAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW, COPY THIS E-MAIL AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS AND REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US
In fact, the origin of this string of hoaxes can be traced back to the old Virtual Card For You Virus Hoax, which has been circulating since at least 2001.

In reality, a virus threat as destructive as the one described in these warnings would certainly be widely publicized via news outlets, computer security websites and anti-virus websites. If the threat was genuine, warnings about it certainly would not circulate solely in the form of a vague and breathless email forward. Moreover, the very fact that virtually the same wording has been used in a number of such warnings over almost a decade is by itself enough to identify each new version as spurious. Each and every one of these warnings has turned out to be utterly without foundation. It appears that, from time to time, some malicious prankster alters a few of the details in one of the hoax messages and launches it anew. Thus, the warnings are clearly invalid and should not be forwarded. Sending on such bogus warnings will do no more than spread misinformation and clutter inboxes and social networking sites with even more pointless nonsense.

Unfortunately, this and other versions of the hoax have gained totally undeserved credibility because some genuine computer security threats have used the word "postcard" in their messages. On and off since mid 2007, a series of malware emails that are disguised as eCard notification emails have been distributed. Some of these purport to be a postcard sent by a family member and include the word "postcard" in the subject line. Recipients who click a link in these bogus emails can unknowingly install malware on their computers. However, this malware is designed to steal information and give hackers access to the infected computer and does not destroy or damage the computer's hard disk. Since the goal of the criminals responsible for distributing this malware is to hijack the infected computer for their own nefarious purposes, their intention is certainly not to make it useless by destroying the hard disk.

Regrettably, because "postcard" is mentioned in both the real malware email and the bogus warning, many recipients have mistakenly concluded that the misinformation contained in the hoax email is genuine. It is important to understand that the claims in the hoax email are in no way related to the real malware threat. Other than the reference to a postcard, the real malware threat and the fictional virus have nothing whatsoever in common.

Furthermore, the claims in this hoax email should not be confused with a long since passed malware attack launched in early 2009 that claimed that Barack Obama had resigned. The attack used fake news messages that tried to entice recipient's into following "more information" links which lead to malicious websites that carried malware.

If you receive one of these "zero sector" hoax warnings, please take a moment to inform the sender that the claims in the warning are untrue. And do not continue the spread of such hoaxes by forwarding them to others.

Bookmark and Share References
Virus Hoaxes
Black in the White House Virus Hoax
Olympic Torch Invitation Virus Hoax
Virtual Card For You Virus Hoax
Postcard From a Family Member Malware Email




Previous Article            Next Article

Issue 105 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Mars, Earth - Closest Approach in Recorded History
  2. Falsely Attributed Quote - A Norman Rockwell Moment
  3. Telstra Bill Account Update Phishing Scam
  4. Scammers Pose as Microsoft Tech Support Workers to Hijack Computers
  5. Laptop Fire Death Warning Email
  6. Verified By Visa Banking Incident Phishing Scam
  7. St. Augustine Find - Huge Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
  8. Free Blackberry Storm for Forwarding Hoax
  9. Five Headed Cobra Hoax Images
  10. AOL Update Billing Information Phishing Scam
  11. Kevin Rudd Fire the Cattle Guards Hoax
  12. Resignation Of Barack Obama Virus Hoax
  13. Decorative Magnets on Refrigerators - Cancer Warning Hoax
  14. Knob Face Trojan Worm Warning Message
  15. Face Book Promotion Advance Fee Scam
  16. BlackBerry RIM Inactive Account Hoax
  17. Circulating Request - Help Pooja Find Her Parents
  18. Black in the White House Virus Hoax
  19. 1954 Home Computer Hoax
  20. Debbie Shwartz Charity Hoax