Internet Hoaxes and Chain Letters

Consider the validity of a message before forwarding it to other people. Internet hoaxes (usually virus alerts) and chain letters are designed to achieve worldwide distribution. The growing number of these messages is a major problem.

The frequency of these letters annoys many people, often resulting in people ignoring valid warnings. Multiplying as people forward them to other groups, millions of bogus messages exceed the capacity of many mail servers.

Steps you can take to discourage hoaxes and chain letters:

Tip: Allow people to receive their own virus alerts (see step 2). If people express an interest in security advisories, refer them to the links above. Do not forward unsolicited alerts.

Corporate IT staff (network administrators) may want to review virus alert messages from questionable sources. Potential threats must be evaluated and bogus claims may be blocked at the mail server. Check with your organization’s support staff and determine if they wish to receive copies.

Further information on Internet security, advisories and alerts is available through the CERT Coordination Center .