I strongly doubt that. (And see below for stronger opinion.)
Viruses are instructions that need something to execute them. (Biological
viruses effectively are chemical instructions that need the chemical environ-
ment of a cell to execute them; computer viruses are instructions in some
form (e.g., hardware instructions, shell commands, mailer control file
commands) that need some agent (e.g., hardware, shell, mailer program) to
There have been mail viruses (or were they worms?), but as far as I know they
are executed by the software that moves mail around, not by the end-users mail
(For example, here's a virus:
"Send a copy of this sentence to someone else."
It is instructions to you, the human reader. If you follow the instructions,
it propagates; if you don't, it doesn't; if you ignore it and delete it, it
Obviously, this virus isn't very effective, because humans usually will
choose not to follow the instructions. But it is a virus.
Hey! I just realized---THE FORWARDED RUMOR IS A VIRUS! (It doesn't
explicitly contain instructions to forward it, but it's written knowing that
people repeat rumors, so that's an implicit instruction to forward it.
Therefore, it is a virus.)
But I, one valiant little antibody in the Internet immune system, have
recognized the invader, and have mutated it, hopefully sentencing it to
(Now if only someone could do something about those (ex-?) lawyers who keep
spamming the Internet...)
> .... Once a computer is infected, one of
> several things can happen. The hard drive will most likely be
> If the program is not stopped, the computer's processor will be placed
> an nth-complexity infinite binary loop which can severly damage the
THIS IS 100% BULLSHIT! Infinite loops don't damage CPUs. And infinite
loops are infinite loops; there's no such thing as "an nth-complexity
infinite binary loop."
If readers don't believe me yet, then consider this: The warning doesn't
say anything about which kind(s) of computer the virus infects. Because
viruses are instructions, they can only infect hardware or software that
understands and executes that type of instructions. The only thing machines
have to have in common to exchange mail is they they understand and process
mail formats. Therefore, any mail virus must be composed of instructions
in mail-exchange protocols, and those protocols aren't powerful enough to
express the instructions needed to erase a disk (maybe fill it up with junk,
but not erase it).
> REMEMBER...if you receive a piece of e-mail with the subject called Good
> Times, DO NOT READ IT...DELETE IT IMMEDIATELY.
> ventura, California
> ---- End Forwarded Message
Why did this bogus rumor start?
- Someone naive misunderstood something, including maybe a joke?
- Some idiot decided to start a rumor?
- Someone is trying to prevent someone else's message from being read?
Why is Fell_Travis (firstname.lastname@example.org) passing it along?
- He (or she?) didn't know that it was bullshit, and was innocently passing
along a warning?
- He is an accomplice?
-- Daniel S. Barclay email@example.com "They listen hard, and act like they care. How can they be so completely unaware Of the truth? The answer is always denied me So I introduce 'em to the killer inside me." - MC 900 Ft. Jesus