|The hoax warns of a virus that can spread via Yahoo Instant Messenger software.|
Experts at Sophos have warned users of a new hoax spreading between users of Yahoo instant messenger service, warning them of a non-existent virus.
The Yahoo instant message hoax (also known as "Hard drive killer") warns users of Yahoo's instant message service to be wary of a fellow user contacting them. The hoax claims that their computers will be infected by "a very horrible" virus and passed on to instant messenger contacts. Sophos is receiving an increasing number of reports of the hoax from users who are concerned it may be genuine. It has also been seen distributed via email and posted on internet messageboards.
"The warning is clearly nonsense and no such virus exists," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "However, hoaxes and chain letters like this are not harmless - they waste time and bandwidth, and can be a genuine headache for support departments. Users need to consider carefully whether everything they are told can be believed."
A typical version of the hoax message reads as follows:
If somebody by name email@example.com adds you. dont accept it. Its a virus. Tell everyone on ur bulletin because if somebody on ur list adds them, u get the virus too. Tell everyone on your list not to open anything from angell11, tewwtuler, and sassybitch. It is a hard drive killer and a very horrible virus. pass this letter to everyone on your buddy list. We need to find out who is really using these accounts. Sorry for the inconvienience. Sincerely, Director of Yahoo Services, tanwir2001.
Right click on the group name of your buddy list and click Send Message to All
"Hoaxes like this exist because it's so easy to forward an electronic warning to all of your friends and colleagues, and many people who may be suspicious of the the veracity of the warning decide it's better to be safe than sorry." continued Cluley. "People should think very carefully before they send a message on to all of their contacts, as they may be perpetuating an irritating hoax. You should always check to see if it is believable, and not a known hoax, before even considering sending it onto other computer users."
Sophos has made available a free, constantly updated information feed for intranets and websites which means users can always find out about the latest viruses and hoaxes.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.