Summary: Message warns that a person named Christopher Butterfield is a hacker and that simply accepting a friend request from him will allow him to hack in to your computer (Full commentary below).
Example:(Submitted, April 2009)
Subject: this is real
DO NOT ACCEPT a friend request from a CHRISTOPHER BUTTERFIELD he is a hacker. Tell everyone on your list because if somebody on your list adds him u get him on your list too and he'll figure out ur computer's ID and address, so copy and paste this message to everyone even if u don't care for them cause if he hacks their email he hacks your mail too! SEND TO ALL FRIENDS. Copy and paste to ur page...
According to this warning message, a hacker named "Christopher Butterfield" is currently active. The message warns that simply accepting a "friend request" from Christopher Butterfield will allow him to hack into your computer and gain access to your email account. The warning is circulating rapidly via social networking websites such as Facebook as well as via email.
This warning is a hoax and has no basis in fact. It is nothing more than a new variant in a seemingly endless list of similar hoaxes. A number of versions of the hoax are currently circulating, including one that claims that a person named Simon Ashton is the supposed hacker. A 2007 version, which is very similar to the Christopher Butterfield version above, claimed that adding the email address "email@example.com" will allow a hacker to take control of your computer. The following example shows the similarities between the two versions:
if somebody called firstname.lastname@example.org adds you don't accept it because its a hacker. Tell everyone on your list because if somebody on your list adds them you get them on your list he'll figure out Your ID, computer address, so copy and paste this message to everyone even if you hate them and fast cause if he hacks their email he hacks your mail
Like all of these hoax warnings, the Christopher Butterfield version is technically impossible. The message suggests that just accepting "Christopher Butterfield" as a "friend" on your contact list will not only give the hacker access to your computer but to the computers of everyone else on your list as well. This is total nonsense. Hackers certainly do use a range of tactics to trick users into relinquishing access to their computers. Hackers might, for example, trick victims into installing trojan software that allows a computer to be controlled remotely. Or they might use a phishing attack to trick a victim into sending them personal information such as usernames and passwords, which would, of course, allow hackers to access their victim's account. However, even the smartest hacker will not be able to hack your computer just by being added to your contact list. For a hacking attempt to be successful, some sort of file transfer or exchange of information must take place.
Any warning message that claims that adding a contact address or accepting a friend request will, by itself, give a hacker access to your computer should be regarded as a hoax and should not be passed on to others.