virus hoax

Mike Lieber (U28550@UICVM.BITNET)
Wed, 7 Dec 1994 10:38:41 CST

Thought you all would be interested in this report.

| this service, dial 1-800-759-7243. The PIN numbers are: 8550070 (for |
| the CIAC duty person) and 8550074 (for the CIAC manager). Please keep |
| these numbers handy. |

Welcome to the fourth issue of CIAC Notes! This is a special edition to
clear up recent reports of a "good times" virus-hoax. Let us know if you
have topics you would like addressed or have feedback on what is useful and
what is not. Please contact the editor, Allan L. Van Lehn, CIAC,
510-422-8193 or send E-mail to

$ Reference to any specific commercial product does not necessarily $
$ constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by $
$ CIAC, the University of California, or the United States Government.$


In the early part of December, CIAC started to receive information requests
about a supposed "virus" which could be contracted via America OnLine, simply
by reading a message. The following is the message that CIAC received:

| Here is some important information. Beware of a file called Goodtimes. |
| |
| Happy Chanukah everyone, and be careful out there. There is a virus on |
| America Online being sent by E-Mail. If you get anything called "Good |
| Times", DON'T read it or download it. It is a virus that will erase your |
| hard drive. Forward this to all your friends. It may help them a lot. |

THIS IS A HOAX. Upon investigation, CIAC has determined that this message
originated from both a user of America Online and a student at a university
at approximately the same time, and it was meant to be a hoax.

CIAC has also seen other variations of this hoax, the main one is that any
electronic mail message with the subject line of "xxx-1" will infect your

This rumor has been spreading very widely. This spread is due mainly to the
fact that many people have seen a message with "Good Times" in the header.
They delete the message without reading it, thus believing that they have
saved themselves from being attacked. These first-hand reports give a false
sense of credibility to the alert message.

There has been one confirmation of a person who received a message with
"xxx-1" in the header, but an empty message body. Then, (in a panic, because
he had heard the alert), he checked his PC for viruses (the first time he
checked his machine in months) and found a pre-existing virus on his machine.
He incorrectly came to the conclusion that the E-mail message gave him the
virus (this particular virus could NOT POSSIBLY have spread via an E-mail
message). This person then spread his alert.

As of this date, there are no known viruses which can infect merely through
reading a mail message. For a virus to spread some program must be executed.
Reading a mail message does not execute the mail message. Yes, Trojans have
been found as executable attachments to mail messages, the most notorious
being the IBM VM Christmas Card Trojan of 1987, also the TERM MODULE Worm
(reference CIAC Bulletin B-7) and the GAME2 MODULE Worm (CIAC Bulletin B-12).
But this is not the case for this particular "virus" alert.

If you encounter this message being distributed on any mailing lists, simply
ignore it or send a follow-up message stating that this is a false rumor.

Karyn Pichnarczyk

Contacting CIAC

If you require additional assistance or wish to report a vulnerability, call
CIAC at 510-422-8193, fax messages to 510-423-8002 or send E-mail to For emergencies and off-hour assistance, call 1-800-SKY-PAGE
(759-7243) and enter PIN number 8550070 (primary) or 8550074 (secondary).
The CIAC Duty Officer, a rotating responsibility, carries the primary
skypager. The Project Leader carries the secondary skypager. If you are
unable to contact CIAC via phone, please use the skypage system.

This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of
the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor the
University of California nor any of their employees, makes any warranty,
express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the
accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product,
or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately
owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process,
or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not
necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring
by the United States Government or the University of California. The views
and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect
those of the United States Government or the University of California, and
shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

End of CIAC Notes Number 94-04 94_12_06

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