How to find out whether a virus threat is legitimate

Edward Allen (
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 10:17:47 -0500 (EST)


I've noticed that we occasionally get virus warnings on this list.

I thought the attached note about computer viruses by one of my collegues
here was informative. (The message is from a local FAU discussion list.)
He points out that the web site

has lots of information on virus myths, hoaxes, and urban legends.
(Some of you on this list are interested in urban legends.)

Edward B. Allen, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA
Office: (407)367-3916 Home: (407)487-2445
Fax: (407)367-2800 Fax: (407)477-8300

Tom Horton
> Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 09:37:17 -0500 (EST)
> From: Tom Horton <>
> Subject: Re: VIRUS WARNING (NOT!)
> To: fau-l@ACC.FAU.EDU
> No, the following virus is not legit! Just one more in many almost
> identical hoaxes (where only the name has been changed).
> >This was sent to me by a friend....does anyone know about
> >this virus? Is it legit?
> >...
> > If anyone receives mail entitled; PENPAL GREETINGS! please delete it
> I'm clearly getting smarter because now I've retrieved my FAU-L message
> from last November about this kind of thing (that time it was the "Irina"
> virus). I needed it again last month for the "Deeyenda" virus. And now we
> have "Penpal". Here's what I said then that bears repeating now:
> > Well, this sounds suspiciously like the hoax that went around a few years
> > ago, but with the subject line "good times". Generally, reading an e-mail
> > message cannot spread a virus if your mail reader simply "displays" the
> > text contents of a file. (Remember viruses are specific for particular
> > machines or operating systems, and e-mail can be sent to PCs, Mac, UNIX
> > machines, IBM mainframes, pagers, etc.)
> >
> > ... I went looking on the Web. An "advanced" Altavista search of
> > "Irina NEAR virus" found a page entitled "Computer Virus Myths" at
> >
> > (Its subtitle is: "Confirmed, Houston. The sky is not falling.") Pretty
> > amusing page! This page says:
> Yep, this Web page now has a new entry for the Penpal virus.
> Again, if you ever wonder about a virus rumor, check out this page.
> It's quite interesting and amusing, especially if you like urban legends.
> Tom
> P.S. FAU-L readers may not know that all messages to FAU-L are stored on
> the Web at http:/
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Dr. Thomas B. Horton, Associate Professor
> Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, Florida Atlantic University
> Boca Raton, FL 33431 USA Phone: 561/367-2674 FAX: 561/367-2800
> Internet: WWW: