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Hallmark Virus Chainletter
Doesn't it make you feel sorry for Hallmark? As if it wasn't bad enough there being a Hallmark E-Card Virus about, they've now got a problem with Chain Letters. Chain letters are a nuisance, and they waste time and resources, and they spread disinformation. Often, even quite clever people are fooled by chain letters, because of a simple assumption. Once you start assuming that everything is either "true" or "false", you are open to some serious deceptions. The fact is, the following message contains some truths and some falsehoods. Most notably, yes there is such a thing as the Hallmark E-Card Virus about, but NO, it is not a big thing and there is no need to panic, nor to get involved with spreading panic. The fact that some things are a mixture of true and false, has been used as a clever technique to sell books, and to propagate various politically-motivated stuff. Anyway, here is a typical Hallmark Virus Scare Chain-Letter:
Original Message -----
From: a friend I know
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 7:43 PM
So now let's examine what's true and what's false about this:
1. There is a message which comes in saying it's a Hallmark E-Card. But instead it's a virus. TRUE
2. The Hallmark virus is the most destructive ever. FALSE
3. You should forward the e-mail to all of your friends. FALSE . You should tell the sender about this page and politely inform them that they shouldn't panic just because someone sends a silly message.
4. "I checked with Norton Anti-Virus, and they are gearing up for this virus! I checked Snopes (URL above:), and it is for real!". MOST LIKELY FALSE . Although I can't call a person a liar for saying "I checked with Norton", I can say with some certainty that Norton aren't likely to be any more impressed with the Hallmark e-card virus than any other of the thousands of viruses they deal with. Plus, if you want to see what SNOPES has to say, take a look: http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/postcard.asp (the URL was missing in the message). See, it's no good saying "I checked Snopes and it's for real", not when Snopes describes it as A MIXTURE OF REAL VIRUS WARNING AND HOAX.
5. CNN, Microsoft, etc verifications that it's HUGE or THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE etc FALSE. Absolutely ridiculous. If any of this were true, you could verify it within seconds by doing a few choice searches.
6. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday. FALSE. This type of nonsense has been around for YEARS!
7. The virus 'burns' the whole hard disc C of your computer / This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept. INCONSISTENT. Either it wipes the drive OR it simply destroys the boot sector, not both.
8. There is no repair yet for this kind of virus. FALSE. If it actually did destroy the boot sector, you could send your disc drive to a Data Recovery Company and they could recover your data. If instead the virus tried to wipe the entire drive, it would take a while, and you'd probably guess something was wrong and unplug it. Besides, viruses very seldom try to destroy all your data, as that wouldn't do them any good. In practice, most viruses try to take over your computer without you knowing, so as to do various dodgy things, such as a DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) attack, undercover distributed spam-sending, viral attacks on other machines, phishing, spying on you to steal your personal information), and other covert nefarious activities. Also see Spyware. Attacks from almost all of these things are recoverable!
9. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it. TRUE. However, it's better just to have some commonsense and not open it. See how to avoid viruses
10. If we all help each other, it will be of benefit to all of us. TRUE. That is, if we do sensible things that actually help, rather than just follow someone's misplaced idea of what's right.
11. Microsoft... IFFY. Note that if we upgrade to LINUX and get rid of Microsoft, we will generally not get viruses. This whole "virus" thing was a passing phase which proper computers went through in the old days, so it's now ancient history in the world of Linux. Most of the virus problem is because of the bug-ridden nature of Microsoft operating systems, combined with most people's lack of commonsense.
So there you have it, the truth about the Hallmark e-mail e-card virus and the chainletter that goes with it. This explanation is at Zyra's eclectic website which is unusual in having a page about Hallmark, and one about the Hallmark Postcard Virus, and one about the Hallmark Virus Chainletter (that's this page). Very few sites (at the time of writing) had all of these things in combination.
Also see Nigerian and other Rogue Messages, SCAMS, Advice, Virus Avoidance, Data Recovery, You've Won The Lottery scam emails, bank messages, and oodles of other things.
You can bookmark this page if you like, and you can tell people. Just don't try to tell everyone. There's no need to panic! Also see panicmail
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