Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chain Letters: Insulting Your Intelligence

Electronic chain letters are emails that urge you to forward copies to other people. Chain letters, like virus hoaxes, depend on you, rather than on computer code, to propagate them.
A typical chain letter consists of a message that attempts to induce the recipient to make a number of copies of the letter and then pass them on to as many recipients as possible.

Common chain letters examples
  • Hotmail is going under maintenance and accounts that doesn’t pass this message are deleted within 24 hours, pass this message to your friends and people you care about, this is not a joke
  • Send this email to 5 friends and something good will happen to you, send it to 10 something even better will happen, send it to 20 friends and ..............., Ignore this message and you will die painfully.
  • Little Rosanna is 9 years old and is suffering from an acute and very rare case of the stupidontitus. This condition causes severe pain and terminal illness. The doctor has given her 6 month to live. But she can be saved using a very costly procedure. Nasa, Nato, UN, and Barcelona Football Club have decided to donate 3 cents for every new person that gets this email.........  
  • Beware of the new computer virus, JBm01.02 aka ComputerEater, don’t open the email with subject: “Contact me, I’m your Mother” for it will download an infected file that will erase all your email messages..... Send this message to your friends and family. Help them save their messages.
Even On Mobile Phones
  • Starting next month WhatsApp will start charging the amount of 5 usd / month for its service. Forward this message to your friends including me..........
  • RIM servers are getting overloaded and the blackberry service is delayed, therefore if you don’t forward this message to at least 7 of your contacts, there is a big chance that your BBM will stop working and you will lose your contact list.
 Chain letters don’t threaten your information security, but they can waste time, spread misinformation and distract users from genuine emails, they also create unnecessary email traffic and slow down mail servers.
Since hoaxes aren’t malware, your antivirus and endpoint security software can’t detect or disable them.

How to Spot Chain letters
  • Look for the phrase: 'Forward this to everyone you know”
  • The more urgent the request, the more you should suspect the message.
  • Usage of “forward this message to everyone even back to me”, to give the reader the false sense of trust.
  • Look for the statement: “this is not a spam” or “This is not an urban legend”
  • When in doubt Google the subject matter of your received message and you will get a better clue about the message.  
  • If the email writer is attributing the text to a 'legitimate' source or implying that powerful corporate is going to take certain action if you don’t forward the email.
  • Watch for emphatic language, the improper use of UPPERCASE letters, and the multiple uses of exclamation points.

Finally, Read carefully and think rationally about what the message is stating, looking for logical inconsistencies, violations of common sense and false claims.  

No comments:

Post a Comment