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December 1994, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Dan Streible <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 8 Dec 1994 10:33:01 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (73 lines)
The GOODTIMES virus is an urban legend.  I got personal warning from a
number of personal e-pals all within 24 hours.  Less than 12 hours later I
got a half dozen more separate postings in my e-box passing on the word it
was a hoax.  This mass-to-mass form of communication sure works fast.
"Word of mouth" accelerated.
Here's the posting I received.
Attached is an excerpt from the Dec. 6, 1994 issue of CIAC Notes, a
computer and net security pub from the US Dept. of Energy's Computer
Incident Advisory Capability (CIAC) group.
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
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Mail Stop L-303
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