Yet another email message stating, “There’s nothing you can do. Your machine is infected. This is the worst virus yet!!! Your hardware is ruined. TELL EVERYONE!” has arrived. Figuring out which doomsday alerts are real and which aren’t is an art. Chapter 13 will tell you how to recognize a hoax virus warning.
This “virus alert” about the BadTimes virus arrived in my email inbox one morning:
Subject: Virus Alert
If you receive an email entitled “Badtimes,” delete it immediately. Do not open it. Apparently this one is pretty nasty. It will not only erase everything on your hard drive, but it will also delete anything on disks within 20 feet of your computer. It demagnetizes the stripes on ALL of your credit cards. It reprograms your ATM access code, screws up the tracking on your VCR and uses subspace field harmonics to scratch any CD’s you attempt to play. It will re-calibrate your refrigerator’s coolness settings so all your ice cream melts and your milk curdles. It will program your phone autodial to call only your ex-spouse’s number. This virus will mix antifreeze into your fish tank. It will drink all your beer. It will leave dirty socks on the coffee table when you are expecting company. Its radioactive emissions will cause your bellybutton fuzz to migrate behind your ears. It will replace your shampoo with Nair and your Nair with Rogaine, all while dating your current boy/girlfriend behind your back and billing their ...