Subject: AOL VIRUS IS A HOAX - Pass it On
From: Frank Saucier <Frank_Saucier -at- WARREN -dot- MENTORG -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 09:57:52 EST

Hey gang,

Just thought I'd post some info I received regarding the AOL virus rumor.


Frank Saucier / fsaucier -at- warren -dot- mentorg -dot- com

------------------- A - T - T - E - N - T - I - O - N -------------------


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
ciac -at- llnl -dot- gov

(\__/) .~ ~. ))
{O__, \ { PCRISPE1 -at- UA1VM -dot- UA -dot- EDU
|-| '-' \ } ))
.( _( )_.' Roadmap: Copyright 1994 Patrick Crispen.
'---.~_ _ _& All rights reserved.


Date: Sun, 11 Dec 1994 20:15:18 -0500
From: CJBenz <cjbenz -at- AOL -dot- COM>

In article <9412051827 -dot- AA17412 -at- decrsc -dot- datatel -dot- com>, Charles Fisher
<charles -at- datatel -dot- com> writes:

>I just received this message from one of our clients. I don't know
>if it's the real thing or a hoax, but I thought I should pass it on
>just in case.

>> Hey guys, I got this from some friends in the outside world. If
>> you by chance use america online to talk to your parents or friends
>> you might want to be careful.
>> 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.

>From what I understand, you *cannot* get a virus just by reading e-mail.
You'd have to, for example, download a file attached to that message and
then run it.

For what it's worth, following is the official poop from AOL. Enjoy.

-Chris Benz

Dear Member:

We have received several inquiries over the last couple of days regarding

rumored "virus" in an email message entitled "Good Times." We thought it
would be best to briefly explain how the mail system works, and what we
about the rumored piece of email.

As background, AOL incorporates virus protection throughout the service
scans all posted software, text, and sound files in public areas.

We have never had an occurence of a virus being spread through simply
email. It is possible, however, for an attached file to an email to carry

virus that could cause a problem. We cannot scan files in email for
as we do with files in public areas of the service since email represents
private electronic communication. In order for the virus to spread to your
computer, you would have to proactively select the attached file and
it to your hard drive. It is therefore advisable never to download
files from an unknown sender.

While there has been quite a bit of rumor regarding this "Good Times"
of mail, AOL has not been able to confirm a single incident of a
receiving this mail, or any subscriber getting a virus through e-mail.
the nature of the rumor, if you do receive mail entitled "Good Times", we
would advise that you avoid downloading any file that is attached with

If you ever receive a file in email that you believe could cause problems,
please forward it immediately to TOSADVISOR, and explain your concerns.
Meanwhile we will keep you posted should we receive any additional

Warm Regards,
America Online


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