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Olympic Torch Invitation Virus Hoax


Outline

Message claims that an email with an attached file called "Invitation" contains a virus that will open an Olympic Torch that destroys the computer's hard drive (Full commentary below.)

Brief Analysis

A new version of the hoax email falsely claims that the information in the message has been verified by Hoax-Slayer.com and Snopes.com (details below).

Example

WARNING

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


Detailed Analysis

This "warning" message claims that an email with an attached file named "Invitation" contains a virus that will destroy the hard drive of the infected computer. According to the message, the attachment opens an "Olympic Torch, which "burns" the whole hard disc C of your computer". However, the claims in the message are untrue. The message is simply a rehashed version of the long running Virtual Card for You virus hoax (see example below) and should not be taken seriously.

An examination of the two messages reveals that they share very similar wording and attempt to perpetrate the same falsehoods. Both hoaxes claim that the information has been announced by CNN, which is untrue. There is nothing on the CNN website about a virus like the one described in the message. Both also claim that the virus has been classified by Microsoft as "the most destructive virus ever" and that the virus "destroys the Zero Sector" of the infected hard drive. These claims are unfounded.

There is no mention of such a virus on any of the major anti-virus company websites other than articles debunking the "warning". McAfee, the company named in the message, dismisses the warning as a hoax.

If you receive this hoax message, please do not forward it to others. Virus hoaxes such as this one do nothing more than clutter inboxes and spread misinformation. If you receive a virus warning via email, always take the time to check the veracity of the message on a reputable anti-virus or anti-hoax website.

In March 2007, I began receiving examples of the hoax that had the following tacked to the top of the message:
I checked snopes.com and this is for real..

And also checked on Hoax-Slayer.com

And found that this is a real virus.
Apparently, someone has tried to add some legitimacy to the hoax by pretending that he or she has checked the information on this site as well as Snopes.com and found that its was true. However, the only information about the "invitation" virus on Hoax-Slayer.com is the article you are currently reading and other articles that clearly identify it as a hoax. Moreover, urban legend site Snopes.com also classifies the message as a hoax.

This tactic is one that is quite commonly used by pranksters. Just because a message claims that information has been verified on a hoax or virus information site does not mean that it is true. Always check such claims for yourself before forwarding the message.

Original Version:
WORST VIRUS EVER ---CNN ANNOUNCED

PLEASE SEND THIS TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST !!

A new virus has just been discovered that has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive ever

This virus was discovered yesterday afternoon by McAfee and no vaccine has yet ! been developed. This virus simply destroys Sector Zero from the hard disk, where vital information for its functioning are stored.

This virus acts in the following manner:

It sends itself automatically to all contacts on your list with the title "A Card for You".

As soon as the supposed virtual card is o pened the computer freezes so that the user has to reboot. When the ctrl+alt+del keys or the reset button are pressed, the virus destroys Sector Zero, thus permanently destroying the hard disk. Yesterday in just a few hours this virus caused panic in New York, according to news broadcast by CNN. This alert was received by an employee of Microsoft itself.

So don't open any mails with subject: "A Virtual Card for You." As soon as you get the mail, delete it!! Even if you know the sender!!!

Please pass this mail to all of your friends. Forward this to everyone in your address book. I'm sure most people, like myself, would rather receive this notice 25 times than not at all



Virtual Card for You Virus Hoax
CNN Website
McAfee: A Virtual Card For You Hoax About Hoax-Slayer






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