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Bogus Warning - 'BBQ Enthusiast' Avatar on Cafe World is a Trojan Horse Virus

Outline
Message circulating on Facebook warns Cafe World users not to click on an avatar named "BBQ ENTHUSIAST" because it is a "trojan horse virus".



Brief Analysis
The warning is untrue. There are no credible reports about a threat like the one described. Moreover, there is no such thing as a "trojan horse virus". Reposting this warning will help no one.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 28th November 2011
First published: 28th November 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by Steve Williamson , Shevaun Fitzpatrick, David White and Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
PLEASE POST TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW WHO PLAYS CAFE WORLD. .. If an avatar walks into your cafe in CAFE WORLD holding the name "BBQ ENTHUSIAST" do not click on it. This avatar contains a TROJAN HORSE VIRUS. If you click on it by accident, log off Facebook, immediately. Go to your Security Program, click on BOOT SCAN. Click on TURN OFF COMPUTER. You computer will turn off and then turn on, by itself and then the BOOT SCAN will begin. It may take up to an hour before it is finished. When it is finished, check your Scan logs to see if there was a virus. If you find a virus, move it to the VIRUS CHEST. Do not try and turn it off yourself. Let the security program do it. RECEIVED FROM A FRIEND



Detailed Analysis
According to this urgent sounding message, which is currently circulating around Facebook, users who play popular Zynga game Cafe World should watch out for an avatar named "BBQ Enthusiast". The message claims that the avatar contains a "trojan horse virus" and users should therefore avoid clicking on it. The message also contains instructions on how to deal with the supposed "trojan horse virus" should a user accidentally click on the avatar.

However, the claims in the warning are untrue. There are no credible reports about a computer security threat that has the characteristics of the one described in the warning. Moreover, there is no such thing as a "trojan horse virus". There are, of course, types of malware called trojan horses and other threats known as computer viruses. However, these two threats have significantly different characteristics with regard to how they behave, how they are distributed or replicated, what impact they have on the infected computer and how to effectively deal with them. Thus, calling something a "trojan horse virus" is utterly meaningless and will just cause confusion and misunderstanding.

Moreover, the instructions in the message for dealing with the supposed "trojan horse virus" are confusing, garbled and unhelpful. While some security software may have features labelled "boot scan" and "virus chest", others do not. For many users, the instructions in the message will make no sense whatsoever. And since the threat described in the "warning" does not exist in the first place, these instructions are doubly useless.

If you receive this misleading and inaccurate message, please do not repost it. Sending on such nonsense will do nothing whatsoever to help your fellow Cafe World players.

Bogus game-related virus warnings like this one are not unprecedented. Another Facebook driven - and equally spurious - message falsely warns Farmville players to watch out for a white gift box surrounded by blue lace because it is a "virus".

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References
What’s a Trojan Horse virus?
Top Games Forum - Facebook CW virus status hoax
Farmville White Gift Box Virus Warning Hoax



Last updated: 28th November 2011
First published: 28th November 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by Steve Williamson , Shevaun Fitzpatrick, David White and Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer