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September 2, 2005

New Internet Virus Discovered (Updated)

Topics: Administrative

Update: I received this by email, and posted it last night - call it satire:

If you receive any emails having as subject "Ultimas de Atenas" or "Invitation", DO NOT OPEN THEM, regardless of who is the sender. According to a CNN report which quotes Microsoft, the virus is supposedly "THE WORST ever to hit the Internet."

It was discovered yesterday by McAfee. There is no solution to eliminate this virus once it has been detected. It completely destroys your hard-drive.

It is sent automatically to everyone on your mail list with the title "A Card for You".

Ergo: DO NOT OPEN ANY EMAILS having the subjects "A Card for You", "Ultimas de Atenas" and "Invitation", EVEN IF you know the sender. Delete them directly, avoiding to open them.

Spread the word (The link will take you to a translation of a page in Italian that explains that Greg's comment below is correct - it's a hoax, so 'don't pass this around.' Since it's a very slow load, the translation is provided in the extended post below (the source of the email, Stefy at Free Thoughts, has since sent another email advising that it appears to be a hoax)


Several e-mail alerts about alleged viruses have been circulating on the Internet, forwarded from person to person. According to these alerts, if you receive an e-mail with a specific subject (such as "Good Times", "Join the Club", "A Virtual Card for you", "Life is beautiful", "Deeyenda Maddick") you must never open it, because it certainly contains a terrible computer virus against which there is no remedy.

CNN, Microsoft or IBM are sometimes vaguely quoted as sources, although no specific link to an informational Webpage of these companies is given.The alerts invariably end with the recommendation to forward them to everyone you know.

These alerts are hoaxes and should be ignored. You can't tell from the subject of an e-mail whether it's infected or not. Anyone who bases their antivirus policy on the subject or title of incoming e-mails is recklessly looking for trouble. You should use proper antivirus protection rather than rely on unconfirmed word-of-mouth warnings.

A good antivirus will check all e-mails for a very good reason: any e-mail can carry a virus, regardless of its subject. And it's trivial for an attacker to change the subject of an infected e-mail before sending it.

In other words, these alerts are absolutely useless and can actually produce a false sense of security ("hey, the subject of this e-mail is not mentioned in the alert, so it must be safe.... *click* ooops, I'm infected!").

A genuine virus alert can be recognized easily. It will include a link to a specific Web page of an authoritative antivirus source, describing the virus cited in the alert. Hoaxes do not.

(Let's hope that the alert of the virus hoax isn't itself a hoax - either way, I won't be opening emails such as the one described above, just in case.)

Hat tip - reader Greg

Posted by Richard at September 2, 2005 12:15 AM

thanks for the tip

Posted by: tim at September 1, 2005 11:58 PM

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