It’s amazing how quickly the world learned in September 2001 that the United States was under attack, but years after discovering that a specific email is a hoax, people still don’t know it. The main problem with this is that people don’t really take the time and effort to inform others about the deception and, as I said, most of these emails come from friends and family and it is not always so easy to tell them people that it is a hoax, some may feel embarrassed and react negatively to your information, others just won’t believe you. And it is because of these obstacles that these emails appear from time to time.

I will demonstrate how to identify a hoax using a very common example, the sector zero virus hoax. This email appeared years ago (dating back to 2001) and is still in circulation, but only new variants of the original. The text printed in italics is an excerpt from the email. Below each excerpt is an explanation of the common signs of deception that appear in the excerpt.


This email is intended to inform the recipient about a virus, but the main purpose of this email is its spread. Typically, the subject of an important email tells you a bit about the content of the email, but the author of this email was more concerned with the distribution of this email than the information contained in it. So this title should already turn on some warning lights.

“Stay tuned for the next few days – don’t open any message with an attachment called” Invitation “, regardless of who sent it.”

The first sentence says it all. The next few days are a bit sketchy. There are no specific dates specified, so the next few days can be “the next few days.” Hoaxes always have generalizability in mind, so the email seems applicable the moment you read it.

“It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch that” burns “the entire hard drive of your computer.”

There is only one strange thing in this sentence. Notice the two spaces between the words ‘full’ and ‘hard’. It is common for hoaxers to never pay attention to style, grammar, or punctuation when compiling emails like this. So when you receive an email like this with lots of grammar errors and typos, you can be sure that it is some kind of hoax or scam.

“This virus will come from someone who has your email address, so you should send this email to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus.”

The first sentence is silly. Of course, an email virus comes from someone who has your email address, but it does not mean that you have the email address of everyone who has yours. Hoaxes and scams thrive in circulation, if there is no circulation, there is no possibility of spread. The fact that it is better to receive the message 25 times than to receive the virus is true. Hoaxes are like chain letters, they keep coming back to you and never stop until everyone decides to break the chain. Again, you will notice that the sentence does not end with a period.

“DO NOT open it and turn off your computer immediately. This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus of all time.”

This paragraph can easily be identified as a hoax just by confirming it on the CNN and Microsoft websites. You will be surprised to find that there is no record of this on either or McAfee mentions this email, but also classifies it as a hoax. It’s weird that no virus names are mentioned in this email, all viruses get a descriptive name to help people identify it, so what does it matter what Microsoft says if you don’t even know which virus they are talking about? Turn off your computer. Why? It won’t even help turn it off even if you are infected with a virus. Turning off your computer does not make the virus go away. An email and its contents are completely harmless as long as you don’t open it, so there is no need to turn off your computer when viewing this email, just delete it. Emails can hurt if you use a preview pane, but if you never use a preview pane, it’s totally harmless until you open it.

“The virus was discovered yesterday by McAfee, and there is still no fix for this particular virus. It just destroys Sector Zero of the Hard Drive, where vital information is stored.”

No company in this world will ever confess that it cannot solve a problem related to its experience in the field. How confident will you be in an antivirus company if it only tells you about viruses, but never fixes them? Look again at the use of time. Yesterday can be any day. Antivirus companies usually give a specific date when they announce new viruses.

“Also: – Emails with photos of Osama Bin-Laden hanging are being sent and the moment you open these emails your computer will crash and you will not be able to fix it. This email is being distributed across countries all over the world. world. but mainly in the US and Israel. Don’t be inconsiderate, send this warning to your acquaintances. If you receive an email such as “Osama Bin Laden Captured” or “Osama Hanged”, please do not open the attachment.


There is not much to say about this paragraph. It is added just to make the email appear legitimate, giving the reader more information to consume. The original virus destroys sector zero of your hard drive and now they mention that your computer will crash. There are no details on what happens when your computer crashes and there is no consistency on virus symptoms, so you can only assume they are referring to another virus in this paragraph. Again, no virus names are mentioned and the tone of this paragraph is almost like “Oh, and by the way …” or “I almost forgot …”, showing that the author of this email He only had e-mail distribution in mind and muttered a lot of nonsense just to make it sound interesting and to send it to all his contacts. The first and last sentence of the email is proof of this.

One last thing to mention is the fact that you cannot find the name of the party that created this email. It is anonymous, but it can mislead the reader into thinking that it comes from CNN, Microsoft, or McAfee. Microsoft and CNN never announce security threats via email, and antivirus companies only provide virus information to users who have signed up to receive periodic email announcements. These emails usually have the letterhead and logo of the specific antivirus company.

People should be on the lookout for emails like this and let others know about them, but more importantly, you need to break the chain. Keeping your silence on this will make the problem of spam, hoaxes and scams grow larger and larger. People may feel that some of these signs may not seem so easy to identify, which is true, because sometimes you need background information to be able to identify emails like this, but you should be able to identify other signs such as missing. of specific dates and typos easily. You just need to use a little common sense.

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