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Conclusion Introduction This essay concerns e-mails that warn about a fictitious computer virus. Normally, I would not be interested in hoaxes, but several widespread e-mail hoaxes in the years and advised the recipient to delete a file e.
I have received such hoax e-mails from clueless attorneys and accountants who forwarded the hoax to their entire e-mail address book. When the reader of the hoax e-mail is an emotional state e. Characteristics of a Hoax If one has a healthy skepticism and some knowledge of propaganda techniques, one is well equipped to recognize hoaxes.
Hyperbole about damage that will be inflicted: While it is possible to write malicious programs to damage some types of hardware, physical damage to hardware is rare. Many exclamation marks in Write good diagnostic essay text of the message or in the subject line.
Excessive use of boldface or italics. Use of larger than normal-size letters in the message. The use of hyperbole or a frantic style is symptomatic of a hoax, because scientists, engineers, and professional technical writers use neither hyperbole nor frantic style.
Technical details that appear to give the message credibility. The point made here is that inclusion of technical terms is not proof that the author is either correct or sincere. Sometimes the message contains long, detailed instructions for removing the alleged virus.
Such instructions are needless, as it would be easier to refer the reader to the URL of the appropriate webpage at a major anti-virus vendor's website. Putting long, detailed instructions into an e-mail is a symptom of a hoax.
Hoaxes often mention the name of a major corporation e. Alternatively, the hoax might mention the name of a major anti-virus software vendor. A key feature of a hoax is the lack of a URL that would allow the reader to confirm the source of the information. Last, and perhaps most importantly, the hoax will urge you to forward this message immediately to everyone you know.
If you believe the hoax is credible, this encouragement plays on your desire to be helpful to other people, particularly your friends, colleagues, clients, Before you forward the message: Check one or more of the anti-virus vendors' websites listed below to see if the message is a known hoax.
If you can not evaluate the technical content of a message warning about a new computer virus, then it is not your job to warn others about this alleged new virus.
Receiving an e-mail message that has been previously forwarded, particularly forwarded more than once, is diagnostic of a hoax. If you discover that an e-mail is a hoax, reply to the person who sent the hoax. Anti-virus software vendors typically release revised software to detect a new malicious program on the same day that the new malicious program is discovered.
Further, most but not all new threats spread slowly for the first few days.
This statement is propaganda that encourages you to believe that you are amongst the first people to know something important, and, consequently, it is your duty to inform others.
This is enticement for you to spread the hoax. Because your e-mail address is in my computer and my computer is infected, you are probably infected. That is actually a plausible statement.
The problem is that the sender's computer is not infected, and the message is only a hoax. Examples of Hoaxes A typical hoax in the s warned the recipient that reading an e-mail with the specified subject line would infect their computers with a virus.
Before the yearit was not possible to infect a computer merely by reading an e-mail: So that you can see examples of how past hoaxes use the characteristic features mentioned aboveI reproduce the text of the following hoaxes about computer viruses, in chronological order.
Good Times This hoax began in There are many different versions, most of which share key phrases.Grammar Bytes! Grammar Instruction with Attitude. Includes detailed terms, interactive exercises, handouts, PowerPoint presentations, videos, and more! The diagnostic essay is a teaching tool used by many educators to give them an idea what skills students already have coming into a new class.
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