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It's funny.  Laugh.

Hoax-a-go-go! 144

Soko writes, "I've run into more that a few Internet hoaxes in my time. I get more of a laugh out of the people that frantically forward me this type of SPAM than the hoax itself. Check out this story on C|Net for their list of the five 'best' ones. There's a link on the last page to start your own hoax, too!"
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Hoax-a-go-go!

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The owner of a website which got "slashdotted" is suing slashdot.org for damages. This could cost slashdot.org MILLIONS and FORCE THEM TO CLOSE!!! This is outrageous!!!! Slashdot needs your help!!! Simply forward slashdot's url to 1000 of the friends. But remember, each one of your friends must send the url to 1000 of their friends or else it won't count!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This type of thing goes way back according to the Western Union web site:

    .... . .-. . .. ... ... --- -- . .. -- .--. --- .-. - .- -. - .. -. ..-. --- .-. -- .- - .. --- -. .-.-.- -... . .-- .- .-. . --- ..-. .- ..-. .. .-.. . -.-. .- .-.. .-.. . -.. --. --- --- -.. - .. -- . ... .-.-.- .... .- .--. .--. -.-- .... .- -. ..- -.- .- .... . ...- . .-. -.-- --- -. . --..-- .- -. -.. -... . -.-. .- .-. . ..-. ..- .-.. --- ..- - - .... . .-. . .-.-.- - .... . .-. . .. ... .- ...- .. .-. ..- ... --- -. .- -- . .-. .. -.-. .- --- -. .-.. .. -. . -... . .. -. --. ... . -. - -... -.-- . -- .- .. .-.. .-.-.- .. ..-. -.-- --- ..- --. . - .- -. -.-- - .... .. -. --. -.-. .- .-.. .-.. . -.. --. --- --- -.. - .. -- . ... --..-- -.. --- -. - .-. . .- -.. .. - --- .-. -.. --- .-- -. .-.. --- .- -.. .. - .-.-.- .. - .. ... .- ...- .. .-. ..- ... - .... .- - .-- .. .-.. .-.. . .-. .- ... . -.-- --- ..- .-. .... .- .-. -.. -.. .-. .. ...- . .-.-.- ..-. --- .-. .-- .- .-. -.. - .... .. ... - --- .- .-.. .-.. -.-- --- ..- .-. ..-. .-. .. . -. -.. ... .-.-.- .. - -- .- -.-- .... . .-.. .--. - .... . -- .- .-.. --- - .-.-.-

    was transmitted by an early mechanical teletype set to automatically repeat (based on a phonograph wax cylinder), thus being the first recorded DOS attack and electronic hoax. Amazing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Slashdot staff posts this "news" (for nerds) item, I'm assuming with the attitude that it is amusing. It seems to me, however, that these "hoaxes" are nothing more than trolls (gasp!).

    So, I guess it's different when it's someone else's site?

    What a bunch of tech-savy hypocrites.

    Fuckers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And perhaps YOUR MACHINE has already been hacked by this master-hacker named Root ! If he has managed to insert a fake entry in your password file (/etc/passwd) with his own name, then DELETE THE LINE IMMEDIATELY !!! This will surely lock him out of your system :)
  • Yet another thing you might add:
    If you're really, really worried about some warning or virus you hear about online, take the time to investigate it *before* you pass it on. Sunscreen causing blindness? Go to your favorite search engine, type "sunscreen blind" as the thing to search on, and see what comes back.
  • Sweet, I wrote the same thing (in C) a while back.

    I'm going to write another version eventually that only chops the message to a fixed space after the last >, because otherwise it'll mange ASCII art. (I tried it on your page just to make sure that it works the same way mine does...)

    main()
    {
    inti=0;
    chars[512];
    while(gets(s)){
    while((s[i]=='>')||(s[i]==''))
    i++;
    puts(s+i);
    i=0;
    }
    }

    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • I wonder how soon it'll be before someone invents an intelligent filter that removes these from mailboxes as well as SPAM.

    It's on my to do list [aigeek.com]. I don't think it would be hard. Text document similarity is pretty well studied.

  • <
    >Subject: Fw: viral warning
    >Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 10:28:22 -0400
    >
    >
    >This came from our IT department, so it must be legitimate!
    >
    >Arlene
    >
    > > >>> >Dear All,
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> >This is VERY, VERY SERIOUS!! Please forward it to everyone you
    > > >>> >know..they will be grateful
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> > Important
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> > There is a virus out now being sent to people via email...it
    >is
    > > >>> >called the A.I.D.S. VIRUS. It will destroy your memory, sound card
    >and
    > > >>> >speakers, drive and it will infect your mouse or pointing device..as
    > > >>> >well
    > > >>> >as your keyboards (possibly motherboards) making what you type not
    >able
    > > >>> >to
    > > >>> >register on the screen. It self terminates only after it eats 5MB
    >of
    > > >>> >harddrive space & will delete all programs.
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> > It will come via E-mail called "OPEN: VERY COOL! :)
    ".
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> > DELETE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! immediately!! It will basically
    > > render
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> >your computer useless. Please pass this on to everyone you know!
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> > PASS IT ON QUICKLY & TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> >
    > > >>> >
    > > >>>
    > > >>
    > > >
  • This may be an AC pretending to be the impulsiveprofits guy, who, I'm pretty sure, posted as a logged-in user. Which would make this a hoax, instead of spam, making it just about every bad thing you could call it except for "off-topic".
  • "George W. "W" Bush said almost exactly the same thing last week, in a speech where he also blasted every single major Internet censorship proposal that has come up so far."
    Sorry, hoaxes have to have at least *some* element of believability to them in order to work.
    Thank you for playing and goodnight.
  • "fraudian slip"
    Was this a Freudian slip, disclosing your intenton to fraud us?
  • Is the above not an accurate statement of a security problem with a particular piece fo software? Was it moderated as a troll solely on its own merits (or lack thereof) or because of who posted it?
  • For "fo", read "of". I can spell just fine, it's my fingers that have trouble.
  • This post, which was #20, arrived fewer than 10 minutes later than post #16, making it quite likely that the poster of this was unaware of the first. As both contain the same content, probably neither are original, yet 5 moderation points have been wasted because one or more AC's came along an hour or so later and started whining before considering the evidence.
  • Don't forget the wonderful HCF (Halt and Catch Fire) from early 68k units (aparently(sp?), it was implemented for stress testing the CPU's, and they forgot to take it out :)
  • If you check out some of the anti-drug sites on the net, you'll find a striking similarity.

    Well, except that the DHMO site is 100% facts.
  • Sheesh, the next thing that's going to happen is that User Friendly is being forced to shut down. If you don't know, don't ask.;-)
  • The word you are looking for to describe the DHMO page is satire.
  • Another tame list from C|Net. Reminds me of the "Greatest hacks" list. Fake eBay listings and 4 email chain letter "forward this and win something" emails. Sigh.
  • My local paper [post-journal.com] found the AP wire on this same topic.

    It just goes to show that one has to take those legends with a grain of salt and pray your timely e-mail messages don't get delayed.
    --

  • With all these hoaxes, it really gets one worried about the future fate of humanity. I mean, look at what some people will actually believe! I had a message forwarded to me before about flesh eating bacteria found in a shipment of bananas "forward this to spread the word and protect yourselves." JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE!! HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE NUTS??? Some of these hoaxes are worse than stories in Weekly World News, and yet more people forward these to eachother and actually believe it!
  • ...can be found here. [azstarnet.com]

    Here's a direct link to the RealVideo [azstarnet.com].

    I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats.
    --

  • If I received that letter, and I was resident in the United States, here are some paragraphs that I would have sent in my reply:

    I have knowledge that your organisation is using a copyright circumvention device commonly known as an e-mailer. E-mailers are software utilities that decode the contents of e-mails (which are commonly coded in the ASCII character set, and which consist of copyrighted electronic communications) or otherwise circumvent the protection afforded by coding the message in ASCII and permit the copying of the e-mail contents and/or any portion thereof. As such, e-mailers are an unlawful circumvention device within the meaning of 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(2),(3).

    This e-mail is Copyright (c) 2000 <my name would go here>. All rights reserved.


    --
  • It's a good FAQ, and includes the following:
    Was the hoax a sort of virus itself?

    Yes, but it wasn't a computer virus. It was more like a social virus or a thought virus.

    When someone on alt.folklore.urban asked if the virus was for real, Clay Shirky (clays@panix.com [mailto]) answered:

    "Its for real. Its an opportunistic self-replicating email virus which tricks its host into replicating it, sometimes adding as many as 200,000 copies at a go. It works by finding hosts with defective parsing apparatus which prevents them from understanding that a piece of email which says there is an email virus and then asking them to remail the message to all their friends is the virus itself."

    Precisely the point the 'turkey' moderated up.
  • The famous "Good Times" virus wasn't a hoax. There really was a virus, transmitted by email,

    There is even a special word for such a thing: it's called a meme


    Kaa
  • This was a hoax that I helped spawn.

    Back in the early days of collectible card games, when everyone was talking about Magic and the first few, non-Magic card games came out, someone posted the Sickness and Health FAQ to rec.games.trading-cards.misc. Thinking this was funny, I thought quickly, did a bit of typing, and wrote up a partial card list. A couple of other people posted cards, comments, and so on, and eventually the original poster created a Sickness and Health web site. (It was even hosted at itis.com. What a name...)

    Anyway, the thing slowly grew. Over the next two or three years I, and the other posters, would get occasional e-mails from game distributors asking when the game would be available. Someone even went so far as to print it up in an online and offline catalog, before asking us. I never had the heart to keep stringing them along.

    Anyway, that's my bit of Internet hoaxing.

    --
  • DHMO was directly responsible for the sinking of the Titanic and the deaths of many of her passengers.
    --
  • You can find my standard response (it's too long to post here) here [em.ca].
  • The good times was indeed a virus sent via email.

    If you note the strictest definition of a virus (in computer terms and normal use of the word) it means something that replicates itself.

    The actual email informing everyone of the virus is the virus itself and it replicates itself by preying on stupid email users.

    You could argue that it creates loss in that it kills bandwidth and takes time to read/delete/etc.

    So, it wasn't a hoax :)
  • Well, it is possible to flash the screen in certain color/timing sequences to cause epiletic-like fits in the population. Witness the Pokemon (TV show) episode in Japan two years ago when a particularly flashy show caused scores of schoolkids to get sick, fall unconscious, etc.

    Myself, I get sick from Pokemon just by watching its absolute inanity. Come on America! Will you buy ANYTHING?

    Anyway, your comment reminded me of the hack on Commodore PETs and 64s where a certain PEEK command could set the monitor flyback into self-destruction mode.

    Was this true or urban legend?

    Karen
  • Of course, the funny thing was when all the windows administrators started getting all officious, and posting notices to the effect that "a virus cannot possibly spread via email".

    Result? Melissa. (Well, it made me laugh - I use Linux).
  • Way before most folk's time, but I still have to give nod to the original "Chernenko here: USSR is now on Internet" hoax way back in 1984. Three whole computers: kremvax, moskvax and of course the dreaded kgbvax. Posted on April 1st, or course.

    Eric

  • by Zurk ( 37028 )
    there was a hoax a while back about a virus that could flash colours invisibly on your monitor causing you to have an epileptic fit (this was in the days of CGA/hercules mono screens)...
  • its true im afraid. A poke instruction into IO ports changed the horizontal timing. On some PETs it speeded up the system. On others, it toasted the monitor. You could do the same thing with the original mono screen on the PC. ASR-33's EOU (End Of User) character and RBT - Rewind and Break Tape are some other instructions.
  • I just got this letter [underwhelm.org] from the MPAA.

    This has got to be up there among the greatest of all times. After all, I'm not in the jurisdiction of this injunction, and it is certainly not a legally binding document, yet it is as threatening as they could possibly make it without mentioning your loved ones.

    Anyone else get this one?

  • Here, [underwhelm.org] incidentally, is my response.

    My favorite part of their letter was where they mentioned, so briefly, that perhaps the injunction wouldn't apply to me. So I sent them an email about a law that doesn't apply at all, even if I did live in Washington, and is possibly even unconstituitonal itself.

    Hell, if I can get their lawyers to spend ten minutes worried about that, I can keep them from sending out another threatening email to another poor civil disobediant.

  • Not by Welles, anyway. According to this movie [imdb.com], the broadcast was a cover for an actual alien invasion.
  • I'm sure the next urgent virus warning that comes along will have them madly forwarding again. Oh well, what can you do?

    I've found the perfect solution to this problem. On a highly SECURED partition of my harddisk resides a copy of the Good Time virus. Everytime someone sends me a `beware of the XXXX virus' message, I send them the GT. BUT, and this is the cunning part, I change the HEADER!!!

    Unsuspecting, the hoaxspammer opens the email, convinced that it will make him earn a million dollar(!!), and his entire harddisk is ERASED!!!

    After that, they usually keep from sending me such email. (I've got this advice from the vice president of AOL.)

    YDD

    -- multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind --

  • Do you mean the root virus, or the ROOT virus? :)
    Dear my! What are those things coming out of her nose?
    Spaceballs!
  • ...I decided to write a more effective email etiquette guide. The ones I'd seen were way too nice, and nice doesn't work on the more feeble offenders: http://unquietmind.com/email.html [unquietmind.com]

  • How about those "The phone company wants to charge per minute on modem use." Those seemed to go around every so often..
  • So, people have started advertising inside of Slashdot. What is the world coming too!?
  • Local phone calls are not free in any state in this country. For instance, Bell Atlantic in Maryland charged $16+ for unlimited outgoing calls, but you can have 2 other services (rarely used by people):
    1) Limited service for about $14/mo, you get 65 calls a month. All calls after that are $0.10/call.
    2) Economy service: Form about $8/mo, you get 0 calls a month. All calls are $0.085/call after that.

    So, calls are not free, they are just relatively inexpensive. Since most people think that the $16+ is just for having a phone, they don't remember that they chose the "expensive" plan for their phone.

    T

  • I think what he's trying to say is that, by being so popular and oft forwarded, it acted as a virus in the sense that it ate bandwidth and cluttered servers with unnecessary data...
  • I've made a "tool" (whatever you want to call it...) to strip them. I know _nobody_ out there actually forwards stuff to people, but...just in case you got that new virus warning from metoo@aol.com and are positive it's true (sure it is...), at least you won't have to waste bandwidth....

    http://www.caffeine.f2s.com/forwards/ fwd.html [f2s.com]

    Grades, Social Life, Sleep....Pick Two.
  • They should rename it to "Net Hoaxes that we got the bored interns to put together for us". And you know the 18 yr old, zit-faced H@CkER D00d (forgive me my hacker dude linguistics are lacking) only have tech industry memories that go back ohhhhh 5 months or so.

    "Join the Crew", "Bill Gates will send you $1000 if you pass this along", "the internet tax", "PBS is losing funding" ... and some of those other ones that people have actually HEARD OF, are probably a bit more worthy. You don't even want to know how many of my friends I've written to and said

    "Hey... I thought that you, having worked in the tech industry for 5 years, are a bit more savvy than to pass on stupid hoax emails!"

    Actually I think one of the best hoaxes are when you get a spam email on AOL (I have a free acct) that tells you that something is wrong with your AOL billing and you need to to go to a website that looks like the real AOL website, but the URL is usually and IP address. People don't know any better (it's AOL... nuff said) so they put their username and password and click submit on the website... and then they wonder why their account gets closed down 5 days later or that they can't log on, or that their credit card is charged up a lot. HAHAHAHHA :)
  • AMEN BRUTHA!!!!!!
    My usual response is "You goddamned sonofabitch muthafucka... What the HELL are you thinking sending that SHIT to me?!?!?!"

    But yours works. definitely.
  • Well, no they don't.

    It is just that there are so few people and they have a relatively even population distribution. Thus making a phone call to your neighbour can be long distance.


    Have you lived in Vermont recently? You are wrong about the phone service in most of the state (at least in the parts I am most familiar with). In the state of Vermont residents are charged for local calls. The charges are small and there is a monthly limit on these charges, but it is not simply a matter of paying for local service and making all of the calls you want at no additional cost. I lived in Vermont briefly a couple of years ago and I now live a mile over the border in New Hampshire. It never bothered me that much, but I left the house every morning before 8 and rarely returned before midnight (being at home was rather boring), so my phone bill was minimal.

    I have also never heard of a situation in Vermont where calling ones' neighbor would incur long-distance charges. Not all in-state calls are local, but calling a few houses down the road should always be a local call.

    joe
  • Several European countries have timed local calls, both voice and data. The UK I believe is one of them.

    The hoaxes (and the real .au Telstra plans) are about introducing time charging for data alone.

    Or, in the case of Telstra, introducing charges to ISPs for each phone call they receive.

    --
    goldfishz0rs
  • Telstra rock. [accsoft.com.au]

    Really. [clendons.co.nz]

    --
    I wish, I wish, to be a fish.

  • if you do open some email, it can be a virus

    Isn't it called a "worm" when it exploits software holes without intervention from the victim?

    --

  • http://www.soton.ac.uk/~scp93ch/refer/morseform.ht ml says that translates as:

    HEREISSOMEIMPORTANTINFORMATION.BEWAREOFAFILECALL EDGOODTIMES.HAPPYHANUKAHEVERYONE,ANDBECARE FULOUTTHERE.THEREISAVIRUSONAMERICAONLINEBEINGSENTB YEMAIL.IFYOUGETANYTHINGCALLEDGOODTIMES,D ONTREADITORDOWNLOADIT.ITISAVIRUSTHATWILLERASEYOURH ARDDRIVE.FORWARDTHISTOALLYOURFRIENDS.ITM AYHELPTHEMALOT

    so i doubt it's that old :P

    --

  • Isn't opening the email an intervention?

    I guess you could call it one, but it's not an intervention in the same way that opening an executable e-mail attachment is. The malicious code that I think the original person was referring to actually exploited a security hole, allowing it to run arbitrary code including "forward this message to everyone in your address book".

    Outlook express happens to show an e-mail in a panel as soon as you click on it, but that's not really important here; even if the user had to double-click the message to trigger the malicious code, he/she probably would (expecting that simply reading an e-mail should be safe, and most likely knowing the person who sent the message).

    --


  • I don't think /. comments are an appropriate place to be re-spamming all this spam. We ought to know better.

  • Yeah, and I seem to remember TWO anti gravity articles right here on slashdot that some people took seriously.
  • Really! I mean, there's absolutely no sport in hoaxing AOL users...

    I'm surprised that the M$ "A monopoly? Us?" hoax didn't make the list...

  • I don't really think we should be celebrating hoax's as funny points of amusement.

    Sorry, I have to disagree. Humor has always been the best way to defuse anything.

  • Well, this is what made the Good Times virus amusing, at least the version I saw. It warned of a virus that would spread to all your friends mailboxes, clogging up all the mail servers. You didn't even need to execute a program for this to happen. So, if you see an email with the title "Good Times" delete it immediately!

    Of course, the title of the warning email was Good Times. Many naive people spread the warning between each other, and infact the warning WAS the virus. It propogated not through a software exploit but via the foolishness of the typical computer user, who would themselves transmit the "virus".

    Pretty clever and fairly amusing at the time.

    cot
  • by cot ( 87677 )
    To quote your own source, Was the hoax a sort of virus itself? [usit.net]

    cot

  • was this the same machine with the HCF instruction? (Halt and Catch Fire :) In the days of the C64 someone went through all the undocumented opcodes and gave the ones that locked up the machine etc silly names so this could have been it...
  • I know I saw these hoaxes [zdnet.com] at least three or four times.

    Anytime something sounds devious, the initial reaction is "well, I wouldn't put it past Microsoft" ;)

    Best regards,

    SEAL

  • I remember getting this one, and passing it on to the other computer guys at my last job. One of them forwarded it to his mother. He came into my office a few days later, and told me that his mother said I owed her a new fridge. It seems immediately after reading the posting, her fridge died.
    Coincidence? I think not.
  • "Good Times"
    This seems to resurface ever few years or so inciting people on usenet and irc and generally is a pain in the butt.
  • There was a rumor going around a while back about someone working on a virus that would uninstall windows and install linux for you over the net..

    have to admit, ive thought a little too much about how that could be done..

    LW

  • The current list isn't as good as C|net's top 10 list from 1999 [cnet.com] which contains a 1993 USENET hoax by Joe Skaggs (sp? Is it a word?).
    Joe Skaggs has been hoaxing the mainstream media for years and is one of NYCs most loved and hated citizens. Here's a retrospective [joeyskaggs.com] of some of his hoaxes going as far back as the sixties. My favorites are dog meat soup [joeyskaggs.com], the geraldo hoax [joeyskaggs.com] and coma cocoon [joeyskaggs.com]

  • I'm getting sick of it... I don't see it anymore though... it's in the killfile.

    I know the email's a joke but certain less than robust persons will believe it!
  • and even harder to eradicate as it's livelihood is dependant on human gullibility. Sadly to say, the problem is difficult to fix as it would require a total rewrite of DNA.

    I guess getting SPAM and other junk mail is the price of freedom and privacy. Is it possible to have one without the other?
  • UK riot police use DHMO-firing "cannons" to attack rioters. Many people have suffered severe injuries as a result.

    I don't think it can be said to pollute sewage, but it's certainly a major component in toxic sludge.

    Ban DHMO!
    --
  • Yeah, the same folks who think a p120/16mb is a reasonable machine for faculty and doesn't even ened a memory upgrade because "that's enough for windows 95."

    Anyway, one of them sent one of the Good Times style ones to the department. I wrote her back with the reminder that the message *is* the virus. She insisted that this one, which clamed netscape (?) had verified it and wanted you to send it to everyone was real . . .

    I gave up.
  • >It was more like a social virus or a thought virus.

    Yuk. Social viruses. THe ones that drop into your office and
    drop for hours. Then they leave to infect another office, and your
    day is so shot by this point that you go bother someone for
    a couple of hours . . .
  • Lots of us thought about it for a moment, realized it was possible, saw how to do it, and then, the problem solved, lost all interest . . .

    Kind of like the "Perfect Crime"--the attributes that would let one plan it correctly are the same ones that stop people from doing it . . .
  • I also saw a shorter version which wasn't nearly as amusing. Here
    it is:

    If you receive an e-mail with a subject line of "Badtimes," delete it
    immediately WITHOUT reading it. This is the most dangerous E-mail
    virus yet.

    It will re-write your hard drive. Not only that, but it will scramble any
    disks that are even close to your computer. It will recalibrate your
    refrigerator's coolness setting so all your ice cream melts and your
    milk curdles. It will demagnetize the strips on all your credit cards,
    reprogram your ATM access code, screw up the tracking on your VCR
    and use subspace field harmonics to scratch any CDs you try to play.

    It will give your ex-boy/girlfriend your new phone number. It will mix
    antifreeze into your fish tank. It will drink all your beer and leave
    its dirty socks on the coffee table when there's company coming over.

    It will hide your car keys when you are late for work and interfere with
    your car radio so that you hear only static while stuck in traffic.

    Badtimes will make you fall in love with a hardened pedophile. It will
    give you nightmares about circus midgets. 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 hotel rendezvous to
    your Visa card.

    It will seduce your grandmother. It does not matter if she is dead, such is
    the power of Badtimes. It reaches out beyond the grave to sully those things
    we hold most dear.

    Badtimes will give you Dutch Elm disease. It will leave the toilet seat
    up and leave the hair dryer plugged in dangerously close to a full bathtub.

    It will not only remove the forbidden tags from your mattresses and pillows,
    it will refill your skim milk with whole. It is insidious and subtle. It is
    dangerous and terrifying to behold.

    It is also a rather interesting shade of mauve.

    These are just a few signs.

    Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
  • Ohhh... I know exactly what it is.

    Can you belive I actualy used to dring stuff with high concentrations of it ? The very thoght of that makes me shiver.

    Fortunatly Red Stripe isn't as poluted as most other beers are so the efect of DHMO in that brew should be minimal.
  • Sorry, I forgot:
    This virus is spreading like wildfire so forward this message on to all of your friends so that their files won't be destroyed!
    Sincerely,
    Steve Thompson, Compaq Computer Corp
  • Ah, but in common English usage, the two words are the same. It's only in scientific usage that the two words take on different meanings, and mainstream dictionaries generally do not cover technical definitions.
  • I assumed that the Slashdot readership was intelligent enough to read the article:

    What's more, in honor of April Fools' Day, we've actually put the power of creative prankstering in your hands with our interactive Net-hoax generator. Now, CNET doesn't advocate or endorse playing online pranks or spreading hoaxes, so be advised that this feature is for entertainment purposes only.

    Read the section title, too. It's funny - laugh. Hope that gives you a sense of why I submitted the story.

  • Ok, hands up - who was the turkey who moderated THIS one up?

    You (and your clueless moderator) missed the joke. The Good Times virus is a REAL virus.. a meta-virus that spreads via email. Dig? This Particular virus pop up again and again. It spreads via clueless users who bounce their email warnings (telling to you beware the good times virus) around like ... um... a virus?

    Now do you get it?
  • It is precisely these hoax's that are worrying some folks and giving those people that want to regulate the internet some ammunition. I'm not saying we should dismiss them entirely but lauding them as wonderful forms of humour seems to just be asking for more trouble to me.

    Oh, yeah??!? I take it that any form of irony, sarcasm or leg-pulling on the Internet should be now verboten just in case "some folks" get upset and will close the Internet down? And I should probably start wearing a three-piece suit with a sober and responsible dark tie to work, so that some folks wouldn't get the wrong impression? You'd probably want me to start using expressions like "would you be so kind as to" and "I cannot even start express my undying gratitude and appreciation to you"? And, let me guess, you don't like the word "fuck", do you?

    Well, tell you what, sport. These "some folks" can fuck off. Yes, I actually used a naughty word on the Internet -- in case you didn't hear, they can FUCK OFF. And as to you, some thinking about the meaning of the word 'freedom' will probably do you good.

    Kaa
  • Hmm. For a hoax, it seems pretty well done. This website has a DLL remover: http://grc.com/optout.htm [grc.com]
    ---
  • This is one of the best Web-hoaxes I've found (well, so far ;-):

    A guy created this fake (and not really real-looking) commercial site selling the "IDChip" [idchip.com] which was described (on purpose) a lot like the "sign of the Beast" from Revelation. He got so many e-mails and death-threats from religious fanatics, he had to shut down and reveal the hoax in less than a week. Definitely worths the click to his "letters" section ;-)...


    engineers never lie; we just approximate the truth.
  • There's this really funny story about some poor sap who thought he was going to someone's personal home pahe, but in reality was sent to a hardcore bestiality web site! Check it out at http://home.san.rr.com/~jrf/hoaxes/hoax1.html [farmsex.com].

    Not that I clicked it, but I still think this is funny enough to repost at a higher score.

    ------

  • The hoaxes like these, get a gift certificate from the Gap, Abercrombie and Fitch, etc., Bill Gates will give you money for testing his email traking system aren't the worst of the bunch. Most people (I hope) realize that they aren't really true, but forward them for the fun of it. On the other hand, a recent rash of "URGENT: Email virus XXXXX strikes" type messages went flying through my company, down from some senior-type IT folks who should know better. When it found its way into my mailbox, being the diligent skeptic that I am, quickly discovered that it was a typical hoax virus warning. I replyed to the higher-up folks that warnings of email viruses should be treated with the utmost skepticism, it is unlikely that they are a "real" threat. It actually took some convincing, and pointing them to some sources who confirmed my suspician before they actually believed me, but I'm sure the next urgent virus warning that comes along will have them madly forwarding again. Oh well, what can you do?

    Spyky
  • I found this in my mailbox this morning...
    __________________________________________

    I was on my way to the post office to pick up my case of free M&M's, (sent to me because I forwarded their e-mail to five other people, celebrating the fact that the year 2000 is "MM" in Roman numerals), when I ran into a friend whose neighbor, a young man, was home recovering from having been served a rat in his bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken -which is predictable, since as everyone knows, there's no actual chicken in Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is why the government made them change their name to KFC.

    Anyway, one day this guy went to sleep and when he awoke he was in his bathtub and it was full of ice and he was sore all over and when he got out of the tub he realized that HIS KIDNEYS HAD BEEN STOLEN. He saw a note on his mirror that said "Call 911!" but he was afraid to use his phone because it was connected to his computer, and there was a virus on his computer that would destroy his hard drive if he opened e-mail entitled "Join the crew!"

    He knew it wasn't a hoax because he himself was a computer programmer who was working on software to prevent a global disaster in which all the computers get together and distribute the $250.00 Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe under the leadership of Bill Gates. (It's true - I read it all last week in a mass e-mail from BILL GATES HIMSELF, who was also promising me a free Disney World vacation and $5,000 if I would forward the e-mail to everyone I know.)

    The poor man then tried to call 911 from a pay phone to report his missing kidneys, but a voice on the line first asked him to press #90, which unwittingly gave the bandit full access to the phone line at the guy's expense.

    Then reaching into the coin-return slot he got jabbed with an HIV-infected needle around which was wrapped around a note that said, "Welcome to the world of AIDS." Luckily he was only a few blocks from the hospital - the one where that little boy who is dying of cancer is,the one whose last wish is for everyone in the world to send him an e-mail and the American Cancer Society has agreed to pay him a nickel for every e-mail he receives.

    I sent him two e-mails and one of them was a bunch of x's and o's in the shape of an angel (if you get it and forward it to more than 10 people, you will have good luck but for 10 people you will only have OK luck and if you send it to fewer than 10 people you will have BAD LUCK FOR SEVEN YEARS).

    So anyway the poor guy tried to drive himself to the hospital, but on the way he noticed another car driving without its lights on. To be helpful, he flashed his lights at him and was promptly shot as part of a gang initiation.

    Send THIS to all the friends who send you their junk mail and you will receive 4 green m&ms, but if you don't the owner of Proctor and Gamble will report you to his Satanist friends and you will have more bad luck: you will get cancer from the Sodium Laureth Sulfate in your shampoo, your wife will develop breast cancer from using the antiperspirant which clogs the pores under your arms, and the government will put a tax on your e-mails forever.

    I know this is all true 'cause I read it on the Internet.
    _______________________________
    The Good Reverend
  • A few years ago, my local paper put in a notice about the "Good Times" virus. I e-mailed them and told them it was a hoax. They responded with, "A very respected doctor sent us that information. Do you have any proof?" (I worked for the local ISP, and I have helped many doctors. Just because they have a medical degree doesn't make them computer experts). I sent them some URL's from Norton and McAffee, but they never printed a retraction.
  • PLEASE PASS THIS NOTICE TO OTHER USERS WHO MAY NOT SEE IT!

    As many of you know, each year the Internet must be shut down for 24 hours to allow us to clean it. The cleaning process, which eliminates dead e-mail and inactive ftp, www and gopher sites, allows for a better-working and faster Internet.

    This year, the cleaning process will take place from 12:01 a.m. GMT on April 1 until 12:01 a.m. GMT on April 2. During that 24-hour period, five very powerful Japanese built multi-lingual Internet-crawling robots (Toshiba ML-2274) situated around the world will search the Internet and delete any data that they find.

    In order to protect your valuable data from deletion we ask that you do the following:

    1. Disconnect all terminals and local area networks from their Internet connections.

    2. Shut down all Internet servers, or disconnect them from the Internet

    3. Disconnect all disks and hard drives from any connections to the Internet

    4. Refrain from connecting any computer to the Internet in any way

    We understand the inconvenience that this may cause some Internet users, and we apologize. However, we are certain that any inconvenience will be more than made up for by the increased speed and efficiency of the Internet, once it has been cleared of electronic flotsam and jetsam.

    Sysadmins and others: Since the last Internet cleaning, the number of Internet users has grown dramatically. Please assist us in alerting the public of the upcoming Internet cleaning by posting this message where your users will be able to read it. Please pass this message on to other sysadmins and Internet users as well.
  • OK, hands up - who was the turkey who moderated this one up?

    In case anyone believes the above, here's a link to the Good Times Virus Hoax FAQ [usit.net].

    Geddit? (Goddit.) Good!

  • Insightful my ass, somebody shoot or maybe wake up the moderator. It's the lack of security regarding personal info that might be a downfall to the net. False adverts can occur in all forms of advertising, it's not a net thing. And if someone really thinks that they might be able to buy a F-117 off of EBAY, they deserve what ever happens to them.
  • The hoaxes mentioned in the article are those
    that sucker hundreds of thousands of people who
    have little or no computer knowledge.

    My favorites are the ones that circulate in
    supposedly knowldgable circles.

    For example, I have had several friends who
    bought into this teledildonics ad [teledildonics.com], but maybe that was wishful thinking.

    At its core, a hoax is just a meme that
    reproduces without depending on the rationality
    of its host.

    Hoaxes are clever hacks that take place
    in 'meatspace'. Maybe the biggest difference
    between a hoax and an urban legend is that
    hoaxes are created by someone while urban legends
    are memes that evolve in a
    common way.

  • Since this is about urban legends, the whole point is to be redundant.

    If these things were not redundant, then it would not have become an urban legend?

  • He saw the albino gator using the sparks from his pepermint lifesaver. He almost got eaten by the gator, but the gator exploded from the pop rocks and coke it just swallowed.

    Are there any other legends I left out?

  • Do they include anti-virus software for the teledildonics product line?

  • by K-Man ( 4117 ) on Thursday March 30, 2000 @07:39PM (#1159773)
    I used to have a procmail filter that did a fairly decent job. It got around 75% of the spam.

    It looked for regexp's like /[Mm]ake ($?[0-9]+|millions|thousands|unlimited amounts) (per|every|in (one|a)) (year|month|day|hour|short time)/.

    It got to be sort of a hobby to build the thing. I basically figured out that the rules could be based on the seven deadly sins: greed, lust, vanity, etc., so I built the thing to look for those. Spam itself is urban-legend-like in that people tend to latch onto the same phrases and euphemisms over and over, eg "wealth building" or "I could barely afford (rent|food|clothing), until I discovered .*", or "herbal". A big one was "Dear friend". Never, ever, use that salutation.

    Two years ago I could barely afford clothing. Now I make millions every day, selling herbal anti-spam technology to my friends, neighbors, even my doctor! It's the most amazing wealth-building program ever.
  • by Ross C. Brackett ( 5878 ) on Thursday March 30, 2000 @08:21PM (#1159774) Homepage
    VIRUS ALERT!!!!! THIS IS NOT A HOAX!!!!
    -----------------------------------
    Exp erts at Microsoft have determined that there is a new and very destructive virus that infects your computer just by opening an email! It is called the ROOT VIRUS. "ROOT" is a famous hacker who has broken into thousands of computer systems and sends fake emails with a virus that can infect your computer just by opening them.
    When you open a message sent to you by Root, it infects a virus onto your system which basically wipes out your hard drive. If you see a mail from ROOT, DELETE IT IMMEDIATELY!!!! Sometimes this hacker will attempt to trick you into opening an email by making it look official. DO NOT TAKE ANY CHANCES! DELETE ANY AND ALL MESSAGES FROM ROOT IMMEDIATELY!
  • by Bald Wookie ( 18771 ) on Thursday March 30, 2000 @10:17PM (#1159775)
    Based on the forward you sent me, you still have a bit to learn about the Internet. Let me take this opportunity to give you a brief education.

    1. Please do not pass on chain letters. There never has been, and never will be a reward for forwarding an email message.

    2. Virus warnings tend to be hoaxes. Do not forward them. Anyone who would heed your warning is probably already protected. Everyone else will just ignore you anyway.

    3. Please be selective with the jokes that you pass on. Here is the acid test: Would you bother telling me this joke in person? Jokes that dont pass this test should probably be kept to yourself. If it is good enough, tell it to me the next time I see you. I would rather spend time with you than be another name on your distribution list.

    4. Forwards are never a reliable source of information. Unusual reports, especially those involving major corporations, are urban legends. If it were legitimate news, it would be carried by the mainstream media. Scary or outlandish stories are usually nothing but fiction. Enjoy reading them, but keep them to yourself.

    5. Do not buy anything from spammers. NEVER! Don't even go to their websites. If you know what headers are, hunt down the bastards and get their accounts cancelled. Never reply to a spam, even just to ask to be removed from their mailing list. They wont take you off, but instead they will put your name on the valid list.

    6. Never run any programs or open any executable attachments that you recieve in an email. If it ends in exe, bat, or com, you should delete it. It is usually safe to open zip files, but be suspicious of any contents.

    7. Dont be a spammer. Multi level marketing schemes do not intrigue me. I am not interested in becoming part of your downline. Whether it is vitamins, herbs, long distance, magnets, distributed processing, or get-paid-to-surf-the-net I will never sign up. Seriously, I have lost friendships over this kind of stuff. Dont even start.

    8. Investment advice comes from professionals, not open web-boards or unsolicited email.

    9. Anything that promises an outrageous salary for working at home is bogus. If the opportunity was so good, they would be turning away applicants, not begging for them.

    10. This is the last forward that you will ever send. The next time someone forwards you junk, send this to them. Lets break the chain one link at a time.


    -BW
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday March 30, 2000 @07:38PM (#1159776)
    I didn't get any of the e-mail hoxes they mentioned - but the one I did get again and again (and again) was that stupid e-mail claiming Bill Gates was running some sort of e-mail test and would send you $1000 for forwarding the e-mail to some friends!

    At the end of every message was some lame remark like "I'm not sure its' true, but it's worth a shot!". No. It. Is. NOT!!!!! The next one I get I'm going to respond with one saying Bill Gates will give them $1 million to walk in front of a train - hey, it may not be true, but it's worth a shot!
  • by BigTed ( 78942 ) on Thursday March 30, 2000 @06:55PM (#1159777)
    I don't really think we should be celebrating hoax's as funny points of amusement. While they are for us (assuming your average /. reader can tell a hoax from a real prize of $1000 if you forward this on =)

    It is precisely these hoax's that are worrying some folks and giving those people that want to regulate the internet some ammunition. I'm not saying we should dismiss them entirely but lauding them as wonderful forms of humour seems to just be asking for more trouble to me.

  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Thursday March 30, 2000 @07:22PM (#1159778) Homepage
    The famous "Good Times" virus wasn't a hoax. There really was a virus, transmitted by email, which merely needed to be read by a human to be activated.
    Of course, most of the details were wrong... it didn't normally have the subject line 'good times', nor did it reformat hard drives. In fact, all that it did was clog up email systems and waste time by propagating itself.
  • 99% of the slashdot gang is able to tell the stupid things from the real (well, most of the time) and hoaxes like these may give ammunition to the luddites of the world.

    But....

    By letting the Blame The Net Crowd pick up on the stupid things, we are making our jobs of fighting them all that much easier.

    Take for instance things like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. A while back they were running around Washington DC screaming and yelling that 50% of all missing kids were being abducted by satanic cults. The FBI did some investigating and found they were full of bunk. There is not a single case in US history where anyone has ever been killed by a satanic cult. It is balderdash.

    Next we have an episode that happened when I was in high school - one of the local religious zealot groups was trying to crack down on kids playing D&D. At one of their meetings, they were claiming that "so and so's kid was playing and they had this sword laying on the table and the sword started hovering in the air!" Um, yeah right... whatever. Yet again another idiotic bunch of twits.

    Finally we have yet more bunk from the State of Kansas (as if the whole evolution thing was not bad enough)... A few years back, people in Kansas were screaming and yelling about such and such a school district teaching kids how to masturbate. Everyone was pointing fingers at each other's school districts on this one saying "they are doing it!" Well, bring in the officials and guess what? Not a single claim could be proven. Zilch. None. Nada.

    I say let the idiots and morons of the world run around screaming about stupid things. Let them tell the world about "the really big moon", "how you can get a free cellular phone", and "the $200 cookie recipe." It helps me filter out very easily who I want to associate with. As soon as something idiotic is claimed as truth, then I know they are morons. If it is someone trying to enact a law based on stupidity, then it makes our jobs as citizens even easier to fight them.

  • by kren2000 ( 33120 ) on Thursday March 30, 2000 @06:57PM (#1159780) Homepage

    It seems that net hoaxes are now reaching the level of urban legends -- you know, the "my brother's friend told me this true story.... that KFC chicken has chemicals that sterilize black men", etc.

    An excellent book to read if you're interested in urban legends is I Heard It through the Grapevine [amazon.com] by Patricia Turner, a folklore sociologist. Even if you don't read the book, read the blurb on Amazon.

    Another interesting web site to visit is AFU Urban Legends.com [urbanlegends.com]. They have pretty much every one listed.

    The interesting thing about net hoaxes is that the chain mail ones are semi-participatory. That is, action taken actually (is supposed to) results in something happening, i.e. getting a free PC or cargo pants or whatever.

    I wonder how soon it'll be before someone invents an intelligent filter that removes these from mailboxes as well as SPAM. This to me would be one of the really useful uses of AI technology. I have so many clueless relatives and "friends".....

    Karen

  • http://www.dhmo.org [dhmo.org] has got to be the most elaborate and convincing hoax of them all. In fact I think the only reason it didn't make the list is that even after being told what it's about you go back and recognize the underlining honesty.

    This stuff really dose pollute sewage and is at least partially responsible for El Ninio.

    Down with Dihydrogen Monoxide -

    check out the DHMO Homepage [dhmo.org]

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