'A Virtual Card for You' Virus Hoax
Netlore Archive: Hoax email alert warns of 'the worst virus ever' circulating under the header 'A Card for You' (or 'A Virtual Card for You').
Description: Email hoax
Circulating since: Dec. 2000
Email text contributed by an AOL user, March 1, 2002:
Subject: Virus Warning
CNN announced. PLEASE SEND THIS TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST !!
A new virus has just been discovered that has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive ever! This virus was discovered yesterday afternoon by McAfee and no vaccine has yet been developed. This virus simply destroys Sector Zero from the hard disk, where vital information for its functioning are stored.
This virus acts in the following manner: It sends itself automatically to all contacts on your list with the title "A Card for You." As soon as the supposed virtual card is opened, the computer freezes so that the user has to reboot. When the keys or the reset button are pressed, the virus destroys Sector Zero, thus permanently destroying the hard disk.
Yesterday in just a few hours this virus caused panic in New York, according to news broadcast by CNN. This alert was received by an employee of Microsoft itself. So don't open any mails with subject: " A Virtual Card for You. " As soon as you get the mail, delete it. Even if you know the sender.
Please pass this mail to all of your friends. Forward this to everyone in your address book. I'm sure most people, like myself, would rather receive this 25 times than not at all.
Also: Intel announced that a new and very destructive virus was discovered recently. If you receive an email called "An Internet Flower For You", do not open it. Delete it right away! This virus removes all dynamic link libraries (.DLL files) from your computer. Your computer will not be able to boot up!!
This is posted as a warning. Lets hope that none of us gets touched by any of this.
Analysis: With so many real viruses wreaking havoc on computers and networks worldwide, it's a shame we have to cope with false warnings like the above. There is no such threat as the "Sector Zero" or "A Card for You" (aka "A Virtual Card for You") virus. If you receive a copy of this alert, just delete it.
Important Update: While the 2000-vintage email warnings discussed below about a supposed "Virtual Card for You" virus were confirmed hoaxes, a fresh crop of bogus e-greeting card announcements began appearing in 2007 which contain links that actually do expose users to Trojan horses and other dangerous malware. Read more...
As a general rule, acting on forwarded email warnings is the worst way to try to protect yourself from viruses and not just because the majority of emailed virus warnings are hoaxes. In a sense, all such warnings even the accurate ones are misleading, because they leave the false impression that as long as you're on the alert for file attachments with specific names, you will be safe. The reality is that you put yourself at risk by downloading any executable file by any name and some viruses are even designed to rename themselves or email copies of themselves under randomly varying names.
Much, much, much more important than heeding emailed virus warnings are the simple preventative measures of:
- Always being very careful what you download
- Scanning your hard drive regularly with up-to-date antivirus software.
See also: 'Olympic Torch' or 'Invitation' Virus Warning, a new version of this hoax.
See also: 'POSTCARD' or 'HALLMARK POSTCARD' Virus Warning, a newer version of this hoax.
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Sources and further reading:
Hoax Encyclopedia: A Virtual Card for You
"Hoaxes are a waste of both time and money. Please don't forward them on to others."
Virtual Card for You - Symantec Security Response
"Numerous variants in several languages of this hoax have been circulated. The Virtual Card for You is a hoax that should be ignored."
Computer Virus Hoaxes
Index and resources from About.com
Last updated: 08/23/07