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'Olympic Torch' or 'Invitation' Virus Warning

Netlore Archive: The "Invitation" or "Olympic Torch" virus alert was first sighted just prior to the opening of the 2006 Winter Olympics. It warns of a computer virus which takes the form of "an Olympic torch which burns the hard disc."

Description: Hoax
Circulating since: Dec. 2005 (this version)
Status: False (see details below)

Example:
Email text contributed by Julie F., Feb. 1, 2006:

Virus Warning Please Read !!!!!!!!!!!!

Subject: ****** VIRUS WARNING *****

Please read the attached warning issued today.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS:

You should be alert during the next days:

Do not open any message with an attached filed called "Invitation" regardless of who sent it.

It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which "burns" the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list, that is why you should send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive a mail called "invitation", though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately.

This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever.

This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus.

This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.

SEND THIS E-MAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW, COPY THIS E-MAIL AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS AND REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US.


Update: A new version of this hoax circulating since Aug. 2011 adds the word "Facebook" to the otherwise identical text. Read more....

Analysis: Hoax. The "Invitation" virus threat isn't real. No such file exists. According to antivirus vendor McAfee.com, this warning is a slightly revised version of another hoax message circulating since 2000 and purporting to deliver important information about the "A Virtual Card for You" or "Destroys Sector Zero" virus.

Please note, however, that even though many of the virus warnings passed around on the Internet are bogus, there exist thousands of actual computer viruses and Internet worms that constitute a real security threat to personal computers and networks worldwide. Your best protection against them is to be careful what you download and maintain regularly updated antivirus software on your computer.


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Sources and further reading:

Virus Profile: A Virtual Card for You Hoax
McAfee hoax advisory

Antivirus Software
Info and resources from About.com Guide Mary Landesman


Last updated: 07/29/12


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