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Virus Hoax - 'Postcard Image' - 'Postcard From Hallmark'

Outline
Warning message claims that an email with an attachment entitled "POSTCARD" or "POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK" will destroy the hard drive of the infected computer and has been classified by Microsoft and CNN as the most destructive virus ever.

Virus Hoax

© Depositphotos.com/chrisdorney



Brief Analysis
The warning is a hoax. It is just one in a series of very similar hoaxes that have circulated for well over a decade. There is no virus like the one described in the message. This version has caused further confusion because it includes a link to information about a genuine but totally unrelated computer threat. Several years back, a series of malicious emails that included the word 'postcard' or related terms in their subject lines and text were hitting inboxes. However, these emails carried a trojan and were in no way related to the nonexistent virus described in this hoax message. Sharing this message will help nobody.

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Examples
THIS IS IMPORTANT BEWARE and tell everybody you can think of!!! Regards,

Better to be safe than sorry Dave' s brother is a very advanced programmer who does computer work for a living and has a high up status with Microsoft. He doesn't send these if they aren't real. If He says this is for real, it for sure is. Be aware. VIRUS COMING !

Hi All, I checked with Norton Anti-Virus, and they are gearing up for this virus! I checked Snopes , and it is for real. Get this E-mail message sent around to your contacts ASAP. PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS! You should be alert during the next few days. Do not open any message with an attachment entitled POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK , regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, 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. This is the reason you need to 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 an email entitled 'POSTCARD' even though it was sent to you by a friend, do not open it! 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.

COPY THIS E-MAIL AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS. REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US

Subject: Fw: HUGE VIRUS COMING ! PLEASE READ & FORWARD !

VERY IMPORTANT - BIG VIRUS COMING !!! PLEASE READ & FORWARD !!!

http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/postcard.asp -
(Snopes lists all the names it could come in. )

Hi All,

I checked with Norton Anti-Virus, and they are gearing up for this virus! I checked Snopes (URL above:), and it is for real!!

Get this E-mail message sent around to your contacts ASAP.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS!

You should be alert during the next few days.
Do not open any message with an attachment entitled 'POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK,'
regardless of who sent it to you.

It is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE - it 'burns' the entire hard disc C.
This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in their contact list. This is the reason why you must send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message multiple times than to receive the virus and open it.
If you receive mail called' POSTCARD,' even though sent to you by a friend, do not open it! Shut down your computer immediately.

This virus has been classified by Microsoft as extremely destructive.

McAfee discovered this virus yesterday.

This virus destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.

COPY THIS BCC E-MAIL TO YOUR FRIENDS.

REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT ON, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US


Detailed Analysis


According to this warning message, a virus is currently being distributed that will destroy the hard drive on the infected computer and has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. The message claims that opening an email attachment named "POSTCARD" or "POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK", will open a postcard image that will "burn" the entire hard disk on the infected computer and destroy the disk's "zero sector".

The supposed warning first began circulating via email back in 2008. A later variant now circulates via social media. The later version claims that the information comes courtesy of 'Dave's brother' who is a 'very advanced programmer' with a 'high up status with Microsoft'.

However, the claims in the warning message are untrue. There is no virus like the one described in the message. In fact, the warning is just a newer variant of older virus hoaxes that have circulated in various forms for well over a decade.

As the following example shows, this hoax email is just an altered version of the Olympic Torch Invitation Virus Hoax that began circulating in 2006:
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
And the Invitation virus hoax is in turn just a variant of the even older Virtual Card For You Virus Hoax that has been circulating since 2001:
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 . 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 opened 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 !! 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.
Unfortunately, the 'Postcard' variant of the hoax has gained completely undeserved credibility due to the following factors: Because of these factors, this hoax variant has spread rapidly around the world and has caused a great deal of confusion.

Thus, in spite of what may appear at first glance to be connections to a real malware threat, the information in this hoax email has no validity whatsoever. Forwarding it is entirely counterproductive because it serves only to spread misinformation and create confusion.

If you receive this hoax message please do not send it to others. And please take a moment to inform the sender that the warning is untrue.

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Last updated: February 20, 2014
First published: February 26, 2008
Written by Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Postcard From a Family Member Malware Email
Snopes: Postcard
Olympic Torch Invitation Virus Hoax
Virtual Card For You Virus Hoax





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