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Issue 113 - April 2011 - Page 20

False Virus Warning - Do Not Add "Smartgrrl15" Because Its a Virus

Issue 113 Start Menu

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Outline
Message circulating via social media warns users not to add somebody called "SMARTGRRL15" to their friend list because it is a virus.



Brief Analysis
The message is a hoax. It is just one more in a long line of very similar hoaxes that falsely claim that you can get a virus just by adding someone to your contact list. It is not possible for your computer to become infected with a virus in the way described in this bogus warning. The warning is invalid and should be ignored.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 25th March 2011
First published: 25th March 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
ATTENTION*****: ALL FACEBOOK USERS**********...DO NOT ADD HER!!! IF SOMEBODY CALLED " SMARTGRRL15", ADDS YOU, DON'T ACCEPT IT...IT IS A VIRUS. TELL EVERYBODY, BECAUSE IF SOMEBODY ON YOUR LIST ADDS THEM, YOU GET THE VIRUS TOO. COPY AND PASTE AND PLEASE REPOST THIS HAS BEEN CONFIRMED THRU FB...

SMARTGRRL15 Hoax Message




Detailed Analysis
This message, which is once again rocketing around Facebook and other social networks, warns users not to add a contact called "Smartgrrl15" to their friend list because "it is a virus". The warning suggests that just adding "Smartgrrl15" will give your computer the virus. It also claims that you will get the virus even if other people on your contact list add the name. The message asks recipients to pass it on as a warning to other users and includes the claim that the warning has been "confirmed by FB".

However, there is no truth to the claims in this warning message. The virus infection method described in the warning is technically infeasible. Your computer cannot get infected with a virus just because you add someone to your contact list. Moreover, the claims in the warning certainly have not been confirmed by Facebook.

In fact, the message is just one version of a long running series of silly hoaxes that have been passed around since at least 2004. New versions of the hoax that feature different names as the supposed virus contact continue to emerge. All make the nonsensical claim that you can get a virus just by adding a name to your contact list. None have any basis in fact. Many earlier versions circulated via email and MSN Messenger. Latter day variants have migrated to Facebook, Twitter and other social websites.

The "Smartgrrl15" variant itself has a long and sorry history. The hoax has been discussed on various websites for several years. Sophos security expert Graham Cluley notes that a version of the "Smartgrrl15" variant was posted on MySpace as far back as 2006. The hoax also enjoyed a resurgence in mid 2010, when it again circulated widely via Facebook and other media. And "Smartgrrl15" made an unwarranted guest appearance in the following garbled warning about the Koobface worm:
ATTENTION!!!!!!-Virus spreading like wildfire on Facebook!!

It is a Trojan worm called "Knob Face". It will steal your info, invade your system and shut it down! DO NOT open the link "Barack Obama Clinton scandal". If "Smartgirl 15" adds you, don't accept it; it is a virus. If somebody on your list adds her then you will get the virus, too!! Copy and paste to your wall please!!
Koobface is a genuine threat, but the above "Knob Face" message is far too inaccurate and misleading to have any value as a warning about the worm.

As well as these virus warning hoaxes, a whole series of related "hacker warning" hoaxes are also circulating. The hacker versions falsely claim that you can inadvertently allow a hacker to take control of your computer just by adding him or her to your contact list.

Over the last few years, there has been a seemingly endless string of these pointless virus and hacker warnings circulating in various formats. Passing them on will do nothing other than spread misinformation and clutter networks and inboxes with even more pointless nonsense. If you receive one of these hoaxes, please do not pass it on to other users.

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References
MSN Contact List Virus Hoax
Can you get a virus from someone adding you through yahoo?
The SMARTGRRL15 virus hoax lives again
Knob Face Trojan Worm Warning Message
Hacker Warning Hoax - Do Not Accept Friend Requests From Bobby Roberts



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Issue 113 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. "Photo U Got Tagged In" Rogue App
  2. Internet Rumour: Ramsgate Abduction Attempts - Man With Grey Hair & Glasses Driving a Red Car
  3. Little Rupert The One Pound Deer
  4. Is Lemon A Cancer Killer That is 10,000 Times Stronger Than Chemotherapy?
  5. Modelling Agency Overpayment Scam
  6. Japanese Tsunami 'Whale into Building' Clickjacking Scam
  7. Hacker Warning Hoax - Do Not Accept Friend Requests From Bobby Roberts
  8. DHL Notification Malware Email
  9. Crosses on the Beach at Santa Barbara - ACLU Suit Against Military Crosses And Prayer in the Military?
  10. Scammers Exploit 'Facebook Closing Down' Hoaxes via Rogue Apps
  11. July 2011 - 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays
  12. Craigslist iPad Giveaway Survey Scam
  13. Buscopan Syrup Recall Warning
  14. Facebook 'Virus Alert' - Charlie Sheen Found Dead
  15. White Van with Red Dragon Abduction Alert Messages
  16. Crocodile In Sugar Mill Sump
  17. Australian Tax Refund Scam Email
  18. Dog Comes Home With Deadly Snake Around His Snout
  19. Bogus Hacker Warning - &#039 Between First and Second Names in Facebook Chat
  20. False Virus Warning - Do Not Add "Smartgrrl15" Because Its a Virus
  21. New Prison Photographs - Prison vs Work
  22. Pepsi Can Email Hoax
  23. False Story Claims 450 Gaza Grooms Wed Girls Under Ten in Mass Muslim Marriage
  24. Baby Pacey Moore Prayer Request
  25. Slow Dance Charity Hoax
  26. Fake BBC News Alert Warns of Radiation Rain in Asian Countries
  27. Yahoo Account Phishing Scam Email