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Virus - Real or Hoax?

How many times have you received an email message that:  

  • Provides information about a new virus that will supposedly delete everything on your hard drive, or
  • Instructs you to delete a particular file that is harboring a virus, or
  • Claims to provide as an attachment the fix for a virus?  

These messages usually recommend that you forward them to everyone in your address book.  How can you tell whether what you are receiving is valid information or a hoax?   

Before you act on the contents of a message such as those described above, take a few minutes to check out a website provided by Symantec (manufacturers of Norton Anti-Virus software) that will tell you whether the information you have received is a hoax.  If the message you have received regards a real virus, you can find the patch to solve the problem on the Symantec website.  At a minimum these hoax messages simply add more junk mail to an overburdened email system; at the worst they can actually cause damage to your system because you follow the directions and delete a needed file or download an attachment that is really a virus.