Sophos technical support has reminded users of the nuisance caused by forwarding emails, as a message claiming to contain the contents of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's recipe book cooks up a storm on the internet.
The email, which has been hitting inboxes across the UK in the past couple of days, claims to contain a copy of a new Jamie Oliver book, entitled "Naked Chef 2" and shows a picture of the faux-Cockney chef eating an apple.
Many recipients of the email have forwarded it onto their friends and colleagues, slowing down email systems because of its 4MB size.
However, Oliver's publisher, Penguin Books, advises that the email is a hoax and that the 100+ recipes and images contained in the email are stolen from previous publications by Oliver.
"Sending a 4MB email clogs bandwidth like some of Jamie's more indulgent desserts may clog arteries," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "If you're hungry for his latest recipes, buy his books at the store rather than cheat the system and upset your IT administrator."
Penguin Books is no stranger to hoaxes. In 1996, its own publicity department started a hoax about a computer virus called Irina, which went on to concern thousands of users worldwide who did not realise it was intended to promote a new book.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.