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Life is Beautiful HOAX


First, click here to see Symantec’s (makers of Norton Internet Security & Norton Antivirus) official verdict on the matter:

"Symantec Security Response encourages you to ignore any messages regarding this hoax. It is harmless and is intended only to cause unwarranted concern." And is therefore for all intense and purposes effectively a spam virus in itself as it encourages millions of emails to be sent all over the world

Now, let's look at the red flags that it's a hoax:

"This information arrived this morning, from Microsoft and Norton."
Arrived where? When was this morning? Microsoft is not in the anti-virus business and does not issue virus alerts. Norton is the brand name of an antivirus program by Symantec Corporation.

"Please send it to everybody you know who accesses the Internet."
No antivirus company distributes information in this fashion.

"You may receive an apparently harmless email with a PowerPoint presentation called 'Life is beautiful.pps.'"
It is possible for a PowerPoint file to be infected with some types of viruses, but this vulnerability is easily patched with updates from Microsoft. Besides, what's keeping someone along the line from changing the file name and sending it to you?

"If you receive it DO NOT OPEN THE FILE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, and delete it immediately."
Real virus warnings tell you about patches and software updates that would provide real protection. They might also include instruction for cleaning the infection and steps to take to report the virus to the authorities. Deleting an infected attachment doesn't protect you from future infections, nor would it remove any existing infections.

"This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon."
When was Saturday? Virtually every virus warning hoax is about a "new" virus, even though some of them have been circulating for years. This lends credence to the following mistaken assertion that the antivirus wouldn't yet be on top of it.

"UOL has already confirmed its dangerousness, and the antivirus Softs are not capable of destroying it."
UOL is a Latin American e-mail provider and, as such, would be just as unlikely an expert source on this as Microsoft. But, if so much is known about this virus, why can't the antivirus programs detect it and protect against it? In reality, most antivirus companies issue updates within hours of a new virus being detected.

The warning concludes with a description of the hacker's motives in this attack, making it seem like you could be an innocent victim in the war between big business and the little hacker - a common theme in e-mail hoaxes.

Relying on anonymously authored and randomly forwarded e-mail warnings to protect you and your PC from virus infection is akin to hanging out in a hospital to protect yourself from the flu. It doesn't provide any safeguards and, in fact, places you at increased risk. There is no substitute for antivirus software. It's (in real terms) inexpensive and readily available. Install it, keep it updated and be vigilant and never forward another virus warning.

Break the Chain.

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