Olympic Torch (hoax)

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Not to be confused with Flame (malware).

Olympic Torch is a computer virus hoax sent out by e-mail. The hoax e-mails first appeared in February 2006. The "virus" referred to by the e-mail does not actually exist. The only effect is that the warning email itself is widely circulated as a chain letter. The hoax e-mail warns recipients of a recent outbreak of Olympic Torch viruses, contained in e-mails titled "Invitation", which erase the hard disk of the user's computer when opened. The hoax email further purports the virus to be acknowledged by such reputable sources as CNN, McAfee, Microsoft and now Facebook as one of the most dangerous viruses yet reported. In reality, the Olympic Torch virus is non-existent, and generally has not been reported by the organizations quoted. A similar version of this hoax is the Postcard Image virus hoax which refers to another non existent virus known as POSTCARD. The Postcard variation has been in circulation at least since 2008[1] The virus was reported to cause one's hard drive to spin so fast that it caught on fire. Thus the name "torch."

Anti-virus specialists agree that recipients should delete virus hoaxes when they receive them, instead of forwarding them.[2][3]

Contents of a typical hoax email and also on Facebook[edit]

A typical e-mail will contain text similar to the following:

You should be alert during the next days: Do not open any message with an attached filed called "Invitation" regardless of who sent it .

It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which "burns" the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list, that is why you should send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive a mail called "invitation", though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately.

Also, during the holiday seasons, the subject of an e-mail of this kind could be named as "Christmas Greeting" and other holidays. Please be aware that it IS NOT A FRIENDLY GREETING it is simply a DESTRUCTIVE VIRUS, another words DO NOT OPEN SUCH AN E-MAIL, QUICKLY DELETE IT.

This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever.

This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus.

This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.


The Postcard Image hoax email variation will be similar to the following:

Huge Virus Coming

HUGE VIRUS COMING ! PLEASE READ & FORWARD !

Hi All,

I checked with Norton Anti-Virus, and they are gearing up for this virus!

I checked Snopes, and it is for real. Get this E-mail message sent around to your contacts ASAP.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS!

You should be alert during the next few days.

Do not open any message with an attachment entitled 'POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK,'regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, which 'burns' the whole hard disc C of your computer.

This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list.

This is the reason why you need to send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive a mail called 'POSTCARD,' even though sent to you by a friend, do not open it! Shut down your computer immediately.

This is the worst virus announced by CNN.

It has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever.

This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus.

This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept

COPY THIS E-MAIL, AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS.

REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US

Real malware delivered by virtual postcards[edit]

Despite the fact that the Olympic Torch and PostCard viruses are a hoax, there have been other malware attacks using email pretending to be virtual postcards from well-known e-card websites.[4][5]

Such emails may contain a link claiming to be a virtual postcard, but in reality the website attempts to download a virus or other malware. The website linked in the postcard email mentioned by Sophos[4] attempts to install trojan software.

Such postcard emails have been used for years, but are not considered a "HUGE VIRUS COMING", nor is there apparent evidence of hard disks being 'burnt' by such malware.

References[edit]

External links[edit]