The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 6-7
Dec 1995


That "Good Times" Virus is a Hoax, After All

The Abbey office sent out an e-mail request for information on the virus that readers were warned about in the last issue of this newsletter, and received a reply from Jesus Garcia, of the local Mac user's group: "The 'Good Times' virus does not exist. It's a hoax. If you have a copy of Disinfectant and use it regularly, your system will be safe."

Scott Denlinger, a catalog librarian in Philadelphia (denlinge@sas.upenn.edu), sent a message to Walter Henry and the Abbey Publications Editor, saying, in part, "It is technically impossible for a virus to infect your hard drive just by reading an e-mail message.

"In order for a virus to infect your computer system, it must attach itself to a file already present on your disk which, when run, allows the virus to start working. Only certain files are considered 'executable' files.... Files one creates in word processing programs are not executable, since they contain only text (usually ASCII code) or format commands.

"This is why it is impossible to transmit a virus using communications software. When you read a message on your screen, you are basically reading only ASCII code in a text file....

"Some undergraduate somewhere is having a good laugh at the chaos she or he has created by issuing this 'warning.' I have seen it pop up on various library lists, and it always seems that someone's 'computer system administrator' has attested to the seriousness of the warning.

"Read your e-mail with confidence!"

And Nancy Schrock sent a message to say, "My computer son told me that the DON'T DOWNLOAD rumor is a year old and is a hoax...."

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