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Gordon Brown Smiling Virus Hoax

Outline
Message claims that emails featuring photographs of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown smiling contain a dangerous computer virus that will crash your computer and damage it beyond repair.



Brief Analysis
The message is a hoax. It is just one more variant in a long line of similar hoaxes. All versions are equally untrue. There is not nor has there ever been a virus like the one described in this email. Forwarding such emails is pointless and counterproductive.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



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Last updated: 3rd February 2010
First published: 3rd February 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example:
Subject: FW: VERY VERY URGENT PLEASE READ AND FORWARD

READ AND HEED

PLEASE INFORM EVERYONE


Emails with pictures of Gordon Brown actually smiling are being sent and the moment that you open these emails your computer will crash and you will not be able to fix it!

If you get an email along the lines of Gordon Brown smiling or Gordon Brown even "looking happy" don't open the attachment.

This e-mail is being distributed through countries around the globe, but mainly in England , Wales and Scotland

Be considerate & send this warning to who ever you know.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AN D CONTACTS:

You should be alert during the next few days:
Do not open any message with an attached file 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



Detailed Analysis

©World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org), swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger

Gordon Brown
A warning claiming that an email featuring images of Gordon Brown smiling contains a computer virus is just yet another version of an old virus hoax
According to this emailed warning message, Internet users should watch out for emails that contain photographs of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown smiling because the emails contain a dangerous computer virus that can render the infected computer inoperable. The message also warns recipients to watch out for an email with an attached file called 'Invitation' because it will open an Olympic torch that will "burn" the entire hard drive of the infected computer and "destroy sector zero". Supposedly, the threat has been classified as "the most destructive virus ever".

However, the claims in the email are pure nonsense and have no relation whatsoever to any real computer security threat. In fact, the message is just one more pointless incarnation of a number of very similar hoaxes that have circulated for several years.

As the following example reveals, the first part of the message, which relates to Gordon Brown, is apparently derived from earlier warnings about emails with photographs of Osama Bin-Laden hanged:
Emails with pictures of Osama Bin-Laden hanged are being sent and the moment that you open these emails your computer will crash and you will not be able to fix it!

This e-mail is being distributed through countries around the globe, but mainly in the US and Israel.

Don't be inconsiderate; send this warning to whomever you know.

If you get an email along the lines of "Osama Bin Laden Captured" or "Osama Hanged" don't open the attachment.
The "Osama Captured" warning may have began life as a muddled and highly inaccurate reference to a genuine malware threat. In 2005, information-stealing trojans were being distributed via bogus "news" emails that claimed Bin Laden had been captured. However, this particular threat has long since ceased to be significant and, even when it was relevant, the threat bore no relation to the destructive "virus" described in these hoax emails.

Like the Gordon Brown version, the Osama Bin Laden Hanged version was later tacked on to the Olympic torch virus hoax, another utterly bogus warning that has also circulated separately since at least 2006. And, the Olympic torch virus hoax was in turn a mutated variant of the even earlier Virtual Card for you hoax, which began circulating back in 2001.

It seems likely that the Gordon Brown version included above was created by some unknown prankster as a snide reference to that prime minister's often somewhat dour countenance. However, submissions indicate that many recipients believe that the warning message is valid.

It is important that Internet users take the time to check the veracity of any virus warnings that circulate via email and social networking websites. Sending on false virus warnings does nothing more than clutter inboxes with misleading, unhelpful and inaccurate information.

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References:
Bin-Laden and Olympic Torch Virus Warning Hoax
Osama Bin Laden Virus Emails
Olympic Torch Invitation Virus Hoax
Virtual Card For You Virus Hoax

Last updated: 3rd February 2010
First published: 3rd February 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer