What Happens When You Mix A Real Infection With A Mass Mail Hoax?

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Here's a strange one. Snopes has always been a website that helped to combat mass mail hoaxes. However, I've seen a few mails snowballing (with ever increasing CC lists) regarding a page on Snopes that talks about a real infection - namely, the Storm Worm. I'm all for spreading the word on infections going around, but as the emails talk about a "new threat incoming" (specifically, the title of the forwarded mail is "Subject: read this!Please read: Big Virus coming") when the Storm Worm has actually been around for some time, it seems almost perverse to be sending mass mails about a real infection from a website devoted to combating hoaxes and.....mass mails.

Even weirder, the content of the mail begins with the Storm Worm, but actually finishes with text from a certified, 100% hoax (as you'll see with my handy all-in-bold additions).

The full content of the mail reads as follows:

    Subject: read this!Please read: Big Virus coming

        Please read: Big Virus coming

        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!!

(At this point, that would be correct - the  link does indeed point to an article on Snopes regarding the Storm Worm. However, it's all about to go horribly wrong).

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


(The above suspiciously uses the required tone needed for fake EMail hoaxes to be passed around. It's almost like someone has done that on purpose, isn't it? At any rate, it all goes horribly wrong right....about.....now):

        You should be alert during the next few days. Do not open any message with an attachment entitled 'POSTCARD,' 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 why 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 a mail called' POSTCARD,' even though 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 .


(.....wait, what? We're suddenly talking about something entirely different. The above is taken from the "Invitation" hoax virus warning).

Interestingly, Snopes themselves have picked up on the fact that people are combining two (or in some cases three) different sets of information about one real virus and two hoaxes, and warn people to that effect at the bottom of this page:

"Readers should take particular care not to confuse the real postcard/greeting card virus with a number of virus-related hoaxes that have been circulating for several years. A variety of messages forwarded by well-intended people to warn others about the Postcard virus contribute to this confusion by including within them links to our article about the "Virtual Card for You" hoax (or by mistakenly incorporating elements from that hoax into their warnings). Other versions of the postcard virus warning erroneously combine it with elements of the Invitation virus hoax"


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This page contains a single entry by Christopher Boyd published on June 23, 2008 6:51 PM.

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