This page was written in Spring 1999 as a rough and ready reference for local users when I worked at the Department Of Computer Science, at The University Of Birmingham . It will not contain details of the latest viruses, hoaxes, or chain letters.

The Problem

Internet chain letters are a problem - they waste user time and network / disk space.

The Solution

We need a (widely known) standard procedure for dealing with virus warnings. This should be to:
  • Check web sites containing information on viruses, hoaxes and chain letters.

  • Forward the warning to the support team, who can then evaluate it further and decide how to deal with it - this may include mailing all users.

We need improved internet education, particularly when new students join the department. This should include "spamming", chain letters and general email etiquette.

Other Information

There ARE real viruses which spread via email and copy themselves automatically. These cannot exist in text only messages, and generally exist as Microsoft Word or Excel Macros. These is one ("Melissa") which is currently (March 1999) spreading fast. There are links to more details on this page.

Chain letters also can be thought of as a form of virus, whose reproductive stage requires human intervention, i.e. the copies are not made automatically, but by a human. Some people would term this a "meme" or "memetic virus", and extend this intepretation to other cultural themes.

Local documents

Sources of information on hoaxes

General Virus stuff

Melissa Specific

-- Andy Pryke - 16 Jul 2001 (Originally March 1999)
Topic revision: r5 - 16 Feb 2003, andyp
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