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Charles Hymes

Background

For the last few years, the internet community has endured a wave of e-mail hoaxes and pranks, exploiting users' unfamiliarity with how the internet, and computer systems in general work. With the explosive growth of the internet and its popularity, more and more new users are "getting online" and becoming targets for pranksters. "Ancient" myths, like the cookie story, are just waiting for a critical mass of people who have not been exposed, so that they can go streaming across the net again. There is no technical solution to this problem. Even when users become experienced enough to be able to tell a silly message when they see one, anyone can get suckered sometimes. It seems that all users of the internet will have to put up with a certain amount of nonsense. Generally, these messages are only an annoyance, but internet hoaxes have already cost victims property, reputation, and even endangered their lives..

Experienced users call these problem messages Junk-mail Viruses, because they act like other computer viruses, only they use people as the method of infecting new systems. Users of the internet must learn to be skeptical, and think carefully before spreading a message to new users. There are some simple things you can do to avoid being a carrier for Junk-mail Viruses.

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