New Hoaxes

The Deeyenda virus
The MMF virus
The Irina virus
The Pen Pal virus
Chain Sympathy Letters
Pyramid Scams
Kidney Theft
St. Valentines Day Massacre




I First saw this first in November '96, warning users not to open any message, email or Usenet post that has the word "Deeyenda" in the subject line. It's obviously a reworking of the "GOOD TIMES" virus hoax that is now several years old. See

First of all, the FCC *NEVER* publishes virus warnings. The Computer Emergency Response Team does, but it has nothing to do with the government. This is the same misinformation used by "Good Times"

Second, no executable "virus" could POSSIBLY infect anyone's computer by being read from an email message or Usenet posting. You CAN get a virus by downloading an included executable and then accidentally running it, but this is NOT THE SAME THING. Again, "Good Times" claimed this.

Third, there is absolutely no way that "it can attack any O/S". Viruses are to most OS specific software in existence. They have to be very finely tuned to take advantage in weaknesses in a computer system, disguise themselves, attach to executables. etc. There ARE vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office (Word, Outlook Excel, Internet Explorer, etc ) and Netscape but those weaknesses would NOT allow the behavior the article describes. Java holes could instruct your browser to download a larger program, but this program would be obvious in its action.

If you still doubt me, call the FCC,and ask them to connect you the "Virus Alert" team or whatever. If you go to their web pages, you will find nothing about any virus, except the mention of the "Good Times" hoax. You can also check out CERT at, and a page called Internet Hoaxes: PKZ300, Irina, Good Times, Deeyenda, Ghost at can also call the CS department at Princeton, and try to reach "The Researchers who have found the virus".

Pen Pal

The Pen Pal virus is also a rerun of the "Good Times/Deeyenda" myth.


Chain Letters

There are a few new hoaxes that play upon the sympathy of people, and they are making their way around the world.

The first chain letter has the subject "MAY HEAVEN LET THE LIGHT SHINE DOWN ON YOU" and claims that it is the dying wish of a young boy to have a chin letter go around the world forever. But look at the header....

From: Anthony Parkin

>>>>> Date: Wed, 17 Apr 1996 12:46:46 +0800

>>>>> To: Amy E Nygaard

>>>>> Subject: My dying wish

This message is a forgery! "Anthony Parkin" posted from a FAKE ADDRESS! there isn't even a ""!

The second chain letter is in essence the same, but this time it is a little boy dying of cancer. The twist is that the letter claims that if you forward the message, a donation will be made to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
The truth is, there is no way to track the forwarding of messages as they are sent. So this is clearly just a ploy to continue the hoax. Check out the ACS's response.

Pyramid Scams

It's irritating enough when these Make Money Fast schemes are on the internet, but when they show up in my mailbox they really make me angry. Let's just be clear:

They are hoaxes and illegal.

You CAN'T MAKE MONEY by constantly bringing new members into a scheme, because if the scheme is attractive enough to bring in suckers at all, than the pyramid will be too flat for you to get any real payoff. Basically, the scam artists above you will get the most suckers, leaving very few suckers left who will be gullible enough to give money to you.

Any unsolicited messages you get from someone saying you can make thousands of dollars in weeks should be forwarded to your countries Postal Inspector and if you work at a company, tell your corporate lawyers that these crooks are using your organizations information technology resources to run illegal businesses.

Kidney Theft

There is a new version of an old legend going around where a person is lured into situation where he wakes up in a tub of ice with his kidneys stolen. For some reason, various people are particularly insistent that their version is true.

There are versions where it happens in Texas, India and Tijuana. The only one that is even remotely realistic is the Version set in Washington DC.

This story is a hoax.
Various observable facts make this clear:
Like the best Urban Legends, the story is weeks old, but every version you hear mentions "yesterday" or "last weekend"
Like the best Urban Legends, there are never
specific names of specific victims like "Charles Hymes of San Jose CA"
specific dates like "Monday Jan 21st 1997"
specific clubs like "The Applebees at 1500 El Camino Real in Santa Clara CA"
specific hotels like "The Red Rose Inn of Sunnyvale CA"
specific hospitals like "Santa Clara Emergency, Dr. Kent Siner attending" etc.

Like the best urban legends, The people are acquaintances, brothers in law, friends, etc
Like the best urban legends, The other details mutate randomly, students into sailors, businessmen whatever, as if these attacks are happening all the time, but they are not reported in a single story in a established newspaper, TV show, radio news, or magazine. If this had happened even two times, the news media would be hysterical about it, because right now, there are no other domestic stories worth broadcasting or printing.

Transplantation is deadly serious. Please do your best to stop these myths.

St. Valentines Day Massacre

There is a new alert going around warning people that there is going to be a "Hacker Riot" on Feb 14.

First, The original message itself is not formatted correctly to be transmitted over the internet. This immediately reduces it' believability. Because it is not formatted correctly, it cannot be traced and verified. If you can't contact the original poster and verify it is true, you should not froward it.

Second, The "All Caps" style and spelling characterizes this is a message from "B1FF" a mythical hacker. B1FF is only emulated by truly clueless posters, and by posters who are trying to convince others the message is from a hacker.

Third, while mailbombing and sending viruses are possible, neither clearing your mailbox nor refraining from logging on will protect you. Deleting your mail before you read it would not be necessary, as long as you did not run any executables or macros in the received messages.

So, it is clear that the message should be ignored, and it is either a hoax, or originated by someone without a clue.


This posting is most likely a crude attempt to mobilize the African American community to political action. The problem is that it is based on a lie. The assertion that "Blacks are the only group of people who require permission under the United States Constitution to vote!" is untrue, and insulting. Here are the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America. Any campaign to delude people that they do not have the same rights as everyone else is wicked. Do not confuse this with the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act.

Internet Charges

In my opinion, this is a deliberate distortion distributed for political purposes, but it is not clearly a "Hoax" . The fact is, that local phone companies are petitioning the FCC to allow them to charge Internet Service Providers (ISPs) the same way they charge long distance telephone carriers. This means that they want to bill AOL, Netcom, etc. the same way they charge MCI, AT&T for access to the local telephone network. I fully realize that other people, may disagree with my interpretation. For the real scoop, start out at the FCC's call for public comment.


Who am I and how do I know?

I have been maintaing information on internet hoaxes for several years. My web page, Has been recognized by Yahoo, Information Age, America Online, several newspapers and magazines as a useful site to debunk internet hoaxes.