Oh No! Another Virus Warning!

Just about everyone with an email account has received at least one virus warning from a friend.

The warnings come in all flavors, some totally false, some just trying to scare us into doing something stupid like removing a file we need and some just to scare us. A few of these warnings actually contain some truth, but are greatly exaggerated.

One such virus warning contains the words "it will erase all the files on your hard drive". If you stop to think about it, this would be counter-productive to the way a virus works. Virus needs a method of spreading to be effective. That virus needs you to send it to 'everyone you know' and the way it will do that is for you to send email with that virus piggy backing on to each email. It may also just send out those emails to folks in your address book without any intervention from you. If all the files are erased from your hard drive, (including your address book) it can't send those emails.

There are some very destructive viruses out there in the wild, but there aren't any that will destroy your hard drive. A computer can be rendered unusable with a lot of virus, spyware, etc., but the hard drive is not destroyed and the drive can be cleaned and the computer can be used. There are some virus that can change the extensions of some files making those files unusable, but that is another story.  There are some virus that can infect the computer's BIOS, but those are not as common and even then the BIOS can be re-flashed.

One big clue that the warning you receive is a hoax is the wording that Microsoft has said it is the worst ever or something to that effect. Microsoft does not post virus warnings. Period.

Sometimes these so-called warnings say something like 'CNN says this is the worst virus ever' or it may say one of the leading anti-virus makers like McAfee or Symantec is warning people about this terrible virus.

A really big clue that the warning you received is the phrase 'Send this to everyone you know!' No reputable source will have this phrase included.

There is no rhyme or reason as to why these fake virus warnings circulate on email, but they do and there are a lot of them. All they do is scare people needlessly, use bandwidth and clog email servers.

Check to see if that virus warning is real!

Some virus warnings contain a bit of truth

Can a virus destroy my computer or hard drive?