The only thing that is being "recorded" if you forward this message is that you are a sucker! Cast your "know" vote by deleting the message and writing to the sender. (R1)
Does anyone ever bother to read the Mirabilis homepage? They say in their FAQ that one day they may charge, but are not planning to do so at the moment. Forwarding this message is another vote for stupidity. (R2)
Six cents per message? Get real. That could add up to a fortune for some of us "power users." But I've been thinking, a lot of people will drop $40 on a game that they get bored with in a couple of weeks, yet scream obscenities at the mention of paying for ICQ even though they use it everyday. Personally, I would pay a reasonable amount, say five cents a day ($18.25/year) in return for a premium ICQ service (like access to more reliable servers). That way they could keep the basic service we get now free, but make a little extra cash to buy some restricted access servers for those of us who are not opposed to paying for the privilege. What do you think? (R3)
I went to that URL, and at one time there was a section for voting to keep ICQ free (seems to be gone now). It was actually kind of interesting, but useless. Mirabilis is already painfully aware of what will happen if they start to charge for their service at this time. (R4)
They just never stop. See why I put this page up? (R5)
In case you can't read English, now we have bilingual lies. Por favor no crean una mentira aunque esté escrita en español. (R6)
Fifty cents an hour? C'mon people, this one is really out there. At that rate many of us would be playing over $100 a month. Anyone who believes this one has eaten a few too many "organically enhanced" brownies. (R7)
If this were true then I would have been deleted a long time ago. FYI, you can't "encode" a program in the message of a text file, at least not one that will be run. More on this when we get to the virus alerts. (R8)
I wish they would survey who the idiots are and delete anyone who forwards a message like this. (R9)
Ooooo... I'm scared! And I'm also still here. It bears repeating, if "Mirabilis HQ" wants to send you a message, it will come as a system message, probably asking you to look at their homepage for more details. Anything else is NOT from them. (R10)
You're right, this is not joke. Jokes are funny, this is just a bore. And since when does Mirabilis refer to themselves as "icq management" or use "u" instead of "you?" Need I say more? (R11)
I had my system running all day on September 22, and it didn't get crushed... what a surprise. Isn't it obvious that this is a false rumor? I guess not, because I got it from many people. It is the equivalent of yelling FIRE in a crowded theater, and when you forward it you are not doing anyone a favor, you are just becoming a part of the problem. (R12)
I guess some people never learn, do they? After surviving the Sept 22 scare, you would think this message wouldn't get far, but it was spread all over the net. It really amazes me how gullible some people are. (R13)
The ugly rumors just don't want to die, they seem to have a life of their own. (sigh)
I've been in a chat with a tech at ICQ who has said the same thing. With all the competing paging services on the web, it would be suicide for them to start charging at this point, and they know it. I get the feeling that ICQ's rivals may in fact be starting some of these lies, but don't quote me on that, I don't want to start yet another unsubstantiated rumor. *smile*
Staff at ICQ, eh? I doubt that. While I agree with the sentiments of this message, forwarding it will have little effect on the problem. And if you receive it more than once, you've probably contributed to the problem.
I've also heard this. Most viruses are spread in shrink-wrapped, store bought packages. In fact, the only virus I have come across "in the wild" was on a preformatted disk, which is why I always reformat them before using them. (That was your free tip o' the day.)
Well put. One of the few true messages that has ever been forwarded to me. A little intelligence would go a long way, if people would just use it. So often I hear "But I'm just passing along what I was sent." That is no excuse for acting brain dead. Think before you hit the forward button. 90% of the messages are obviously false, so write to the person who sent it and let them know that you don't appreciate being spammed with what amounts to a lie. I've written to a number of people on my ICQ list, and in some cases it seems to be having an effect.
Some people really do enjoy making other people look foolish. I cringe when I get some of these messages from otherwise intelligent people. You don't need a degree in Computer Science to see that these are false rumors, just a little common sense. By forwarding the message, you are telling everyone on your list that you are another victim of a cruel hoax. Don't be a sucker, think people!!!
UPDATE: So who DOES start all these false messages? Well, our crack investigative team has just discovered the true origin of the ICQ rumors... space aliens. Specifically, the "Little Grays." Their plan is to clog the Internet with mindless drivel and thus prevent it from ever achieving its full potential. We have also found a high correlation between UFO sightings and the sudden appearance of thousands of AOL disks in area mailboxes. We believe the Little Grays may have seized control of AOL and made it part of their fiendish plot. We'll know more when the investigation is completed, but that will have to wait until after we finish watching this week's episode of the X-Files. The Truth Is Out There... just don't expect to find it in a forwarded ICQ message.
That's what it says. Go look for yourself if you don't believe me.
Oh, how I wish this one were true! If Mirabilis could find a way to collect the fines they would be bigger than Microsoft. Unfortunately, it will never happen. Still, I did get a chuckle out of it.
10 PRINT "This is a line of code."
Gee, nothing happened, did it? That is because this code was only displayed on your screen, not executed by your computer. To make it run, I would have to send it to you as an executable program, such as an EXE, COM, BAT or SHS file, and then you would have to launch it just as you do any other program. Merely seeing the code will not do anything unless it is given the opportunity to run. That is why you can not be harmed by a virus sent in a text message or picture. Text and pictures are data to be displayed, not executed. I can't stress this enough. To get a virus from a plain text e-mail message, it would have to be attached to the e-mail as an executable file, and then you would have to go the extra step of actually launching the attachment. The point is, don't "run" an executable file that you get from an unknown source, or for that matter, from a known source if you are not sure that it is free of any virus. It is a very good idea to run a virus scan on any file you get from the net before running it. And stop worrying about getting a virus from just reading an e-mail, viewing a picture or adding someone to your ICQ list, but do be careful about running any program that is sent to you.
One important note about "e-mail viruses": What I've said applies to plain text messages, not to documents such as MS Word files. These files could contain "macro-viruses" capable of spreading to other Word files. So if you receive a Word doc from an unknown source, treat it with the same care as you would an executable file.
UPDATE: For additional info about viruses and executable files, please see The Importance of File Extensions.
'Nuff said? I hope so. Okay, class dismissed, let's move on to the fun stuff.
Well, DUH! If you accept and run a file called "BadVirus.exe" from someone called "VirusDist," then you are too stupid to own a computer and should stick to something safer like stamp collecting (try not to swallow the stamps when you lick them). (R14)
Personally I think Mr. Tidwell is doing the net a service by knocking off some of the idiots who would run a file from someone they don't know. Way to go, Matt.
It is sad that some people will only learn through harsh experience. Just as most children only learn of the dangers of playing with fire after getting burnt, many newbies will learn about the risk of running programs from strangers after one of them turns out to be carrying a virus or back door. (R15)
The FCC is sending out virus warnings? Maybe Deeyenda is being spread over the airwaves. BTW, there is a virus called "Deeyenda Maddick." If you want a good chuckle, slowly read that name out loud. The end of... hee hee. (R16)
It is not dangerous as long as it has a ".gif" extension since that is not an executable file format. You would have to rename it as "picture.exe" and then run it before anything could possibly happen. (R17)
Yeah, right. The only thing that is going to get deleted "within secs" is the name of the next person who forwards a message like this to me. Let's go over this one more time. You could get an attached file called "ao4free.com" that could do just about any nasty thing to your system... within seconds of RUNNING it. But that rumor warns against opening an e-mail... that is the false part. Unless you have some weird e-mail client that automatically runs attached files (I've never seen one that does), it is safe to open any normal plain text or HTML e-mail. Just be wary of attached executable files. (R18)
Does anyone really keep track of these ICQ numbers? Maybe "Unsolved Mysteries" can start running them in a ticker on the bottom of the screen, updated live as a service to Internet ICQ users everywhere. I can hear it now, Robert Stack deadpanning, "If YOU are contacted by 1369727, don't accept a file called..." (R19)
So, are you writing these down? Me neither, so please stop sending them.
UPDATE: I heard from one of the people on this list, seems like a very cool person who has had to put up with a lot of grief because someone started a false rumor about him. So the next time you see one of these warning messages, you might want to look at the UINs very carefully... you could find your UIN on it. And even if you don't, do you really want to victimize innocent people? (R20)
Of course the first thing I did was go to that page. A few MIDIs, some links and not much else. One thing is certain, my "C:/ drive" is just fine. The only thing getting hacked here is the crediblity of the people who forward messages like this.
I should point out that occasionally a security flaw is found in various browsers. While "evil hacker web pages" are more myth than fact, almost anything is possible where browser or e-mail client bugs are concerned. I strongly advise you to use up-to-date versions of your browser, e-mail reader and ICQ. The following sites link to many of the currently available patches: Windows Internet Patches and WinFiles.Com. Users of Eudrora Pro should check here for security updates: http://eudora.qualcomm.com/security.html.
Having pointed out that, while rare, a web site could exploit a bug in a browser, I would also like to demonstrate how some people are tricked into believing that a web site is accessing their hard drive. One of the oldest tricks is using a form request to display the contents of a hard drive. When you click on one of the buttons below you will see a listing of your C: drive. Note: only YOU are seeing it, no information is actually being passed over the net to me or anyone else. But with a few "enhancements" it can be made to appear that all the files on your hard drive are being erased. Go ahead and try it (if you dare *g*) and then hit the "back" button.
UPDATE (10/22/98): It is getting increasingly difficult to make any pronouncements regarding security. Lately for every rule there seems to be a security bug, either in a browser or an e-mail client. In this case I just tried a CGI script that can in fact read the file names in any of your hard drive directories. Another script is capable of reading your cookies. Neither script can directly write or delete any files, but until Netscape and Microsoft get around to patching the holes, be aware that this problem does exist. (R21)
I'm sure the ICQ staff have nothing better to do than send absurd messages. I love the part about not being able to delete him, seeing as how the "directory" that he would be deleted from is on Mirabilis' end, not behind FLASH's firewall. (R22)
Okay, this is really important... I don't care. Do you have any clue how many "Warlocks" there are on the net? I counted 18 just on ICQ. So you think I'm going to report every Warlock on the net? The only "Klown" I'm going to avoid is the next one who forwards a message like this. (R23)
I love this one, it is *almost* believable. Shades of "Big Brother Bill Is Watching You." The problem is, in the process of looking for pirated software they would have to look at your personal files, which would be a clear violation of your privacy, thus opening Microsoft up to a massive class action lawsuit. Kinda makes me wish it were true, I'd love a piece of Brother Bill's pie.
This has been one of the more controversial rumors. I've received several dozen e-mails with just about every conceivable point of view. Here's the final verdict: While it is possible to check to see which programs are in your system registry, it would be exceedingly difficult to determine if they are pirated and almost impossible for Microsoft or anyone else to do something about it. Consider this example. You buy a MS product on CD and install it but never send in the registration card (thus saving a few trees from becoming junk mail). Then you "lend" the CD to your best friend and they install it. Now how is MS going to know which of you is the pirate? Granted, there are other scenarios where MS might be able to determine that the software is likely to be pirated, but then how are they going to know for sure who the pirate is? An IP address doesn't tell them much unless your ISP gives them additional information, which most won't do without a court order. Any info you volunteer on their site could be false, so they aren't likely to try to get a search warrant based on that. So relax... or if you are really paranoid, just don't pirate software. (R24)
So what can we do about this little annoyance? Well, I've found that writing back to the people who forward the messages and explaining why they are false usually helps... but not always. There are some people who don't take criticism well, even when it is given diplomatically. In that case, asking them to stop forwarding all messages is the next step. And if that doesn't work, the ICQ Ignore List can be the final solution, though I've never had to use it.
There is one other thing you could try. Send them this URL and ask them to read it. While there will always be new users to ICQ and the net who haven't been around long enough to be familiar with all the hoax messages, as a growing number of people get wise to these nasty pranks there is hope for some relief. Already a "localized effect" has been seen when someone forwards this URL to the people on their list. Along with other rumor busting sites on the web, I hope to contribute to the enlightenment of my fellow netizens. If each of you who read this page join the effort to spread the truth then we will eventually make a difference and help ICQ see its potential as a powerful communications tool.
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