Cloudburst Flight by Tangerine Dream  
Update Page One

If you're looking for the latest rumors floating around on ICQ, then you have come to the right place, netizen. If this is your first visit to the ICQ Lies site then I would recommend you read the original Lies Page where you can get acquainted with some of the classic ICQ rumors and prepare yourself for the latest onslaught of false information.

Note: If you were sent the URL to this page, you should go to to see the full selection of pages available and to check for updates to the ICQ Lies site.

 Latest False Rumors - Updated January 27, 2000
I try to update this section as often as possible, usually at least once or twice a month. Since all my friends on ICQ are too wise to forward false rumors (woo hoo!), I must now rely on those poor souls that still receive a ton of 'em everyday. If you receive a rumor that you have not seen on this or the original ICQ Lies pages, then I would very much appreciate it if you would e-mail it to me at with the title "New Rumor" in the subject line. This makes it much easier for me to find them when update time rolls around. Please don't forward new rumors to me in ICQ, that is the very thing I'm trying to avoid.  ;-)

E-mail is also the best way to contact me if you have a question or suggestion (criticism, complaints and nastygrams should be sent to hee hee). My ICQ list has grown to over 300 names, and it is getting a bit unmanageable, so please don't send an authorization request until we get acquainted through e-mail. I try to answer every letter I receive, but at about a 1,000 per month, I get a little behind sometimes. And when I'm involved with designing a commercial web site (my profession), it could be weeks before I catch up on the mail or update this page. But rest assured, I try to answer as much as I can and keep this page current.

And now, on to the lies...

America Online is planning on charging an extra $4.99 fee per month to all users for accessing web pages...this will be in affect January 1, 2000 for the new billing month...each person this is sent to will count as a signature...if more than 50% of America Online customers sign this then the new billing plan will be dropped...please forward to everyone!... thanks...

Why would AOL care how many people "sign" this fake petition? Half their members are using the free 60 hours (or whatever it is now) and will never pay a dime anyway, they'll just sign up for a new account when the month is up. Kidding aside, AOL already charges more than the common US$19.95 a month that other ISPs charge, plus they force unwanted advertising on their members (I can't believe so many people are willing to pay more and get less, but that's another story). Anyway, the only way to "vote" against a billing plan is to drop AOL and sign-up with someone else, if 50% of their members did that then just maybe they would make some adjustments to their pricing policies, but forwarding an ICQ message is a complete waste of time and bandwidth.

BTW, while we're on the subject of AOL, someone recently wrote asking if I thought AOL might someday make ICQ "shareware" and request that users voluntarily send in $5. The shareware concept works for some small developers who write useful programs in their spare time (I've mailed off a few "donations" where I thought it was justified). But can you imagine reading something like "We're a poor, starving multi-billion dollar corporation who just merged with another poor, starving multi-billion dollar corporation (Time-Warner). If you enjoy using ICQ, please send us some money so Ted Turner can afford to buy a new dress for his wife Jane." What do you think? Is this a workable concept? *g*

URL's description: forward this and each name will appear in a different color__trust me"

Yeah, the names will turn perminately red as you get added to everyone's ignore list for sending them a fake URL with a false message. Good thing I'm not ICQ's webmaster or instead of a 404 Error (File Not Found) there would be a 444 Error (Clue Not Found) at that address. (R94)

Send this to:
0 - u will have bad luck foreva
1-5 - you will go out with your crush
6-10 - you will get married
11 + if 10 gets you married think of what u could do with this!!

I think if your spouse catches you forwarding this message the answer to "11+" would be "a divorce." If you send it to "your crush" and he/she has half a brain, the most likely thing to "go out" will be your access to their ICQ list when they put you on ignore for being a bore. Trust me, these "cute" messages lose their appeal after you get them a hundred or so times. (R93)

URL description: Hi,send this message to everyone on your list and your flower will turn light blue

Want to see the ICQ flower turn light blue? Okay, here's a little something for the easily amused: Oh wow, wasn't that just too cool? *rolls eyes* That was the best way to see the flower turn blue, the only thing that will happen if you forward this message is your more technically savvy friends will see red for wasting their time with something so foolish. (R92)

You have received an authorize request

The following reason for the authorize request was given

plzz quthorise me

i have an invitation to an icq party

Technically this isn't a rumor, but an authorization request from an unknown person. I've included it because I have a hunch that spammers are going to eventually start sending out automatically generated authorization requests in an attempt to get past the "Accept messages only from users on my contact list" feature on the ICQ Security & Privacy menu. Personally, I wouldn't "quthorized" someone even if they did say "plzz." I'm about as likely to add some stranger to my list as I would be to invite some bum walking down the street into my home. And I'll pass on an ICQ Spam Party, thank you. (R91)

URL: Hurry, I mean it, forward to all, including me so I know that you got this
URL's description: Her number=[some UIN] , this is a very bad virus.. this comes from ICQ.. fwd to all. checked

These warnings never end, I've covered them quite a few times on this site, but it's worth repeating a few things. First, the UINs rarely belong to evil hackers sending viruses, mostly they belong to innocent people who are the victims of some creep's malicious rumor. That alone is enough reason not to forward them. But even if the person being warned about is guilty as charged, what's stopping them from getting a new UIN and continuing to send viruses? The answer is: nothing, it takes about five minutes to get a new ICQ account and it's free. So sending warnings about individuals is a total waste of time. Consider this analogy: which is the better way to protect your home, by making a list of every known burglar or putting a lock on your door? In this case the lock is simply not running files that get sent through ICQ or e-mail. Besides, just having someone on your contact list is not a threat, they can't do anything to you unless you accept and run a file from them. (R90)

The U. S. Gov't is trying to pass a bill that will charge the User for every message sent to another person that is outside their local calling area. And that for every email sent to and from the U. S. would charge the sender $.05 postage.

So now the U.S. Government is going to tax ICQ messages? How are they going to do this, by installing a postage meter on every computer in the world? Not likely. This rumor is a variation of the e-mail hoax where the U.S. Postal Service was going to start charging ISPs for every e-mail that was sent through them. Rest assured that they have no such plan, you can even read the official statment here. (R89)

URL: If we get 1000000 forwards, they cannot do it.
URL's description: Microsoft wants to charge U$ 95 to use ICQ. If you disagree, please forward. pls don't ignore!!!!!!

We could get only 10 forwards and they still cannot do it because Microsoft doesn't own ICQ... AOL does and they aren't charging for it. This is like saying that Mercedes is going to raise the price of Ford Broncos, how can you charge for something you don't make? Microsoft has their own MSN Messenger Service, which is also free. And knowing Microsoft, if they ever decided to start charging for THEIR service, a million (or 10 million) forwarded messages wouldn't make a bit of difference. What they would probably do is set-up a 976 number that charged $5/minute where you would hear a ten minute recorded message followed by an chance to leave your own message, which no one would ever hear. (R88)

URL: just do it , it really works !!
URL's description: Forward this to everyone on your list, then Icq will automatically update you to the golden version!

Forget about the "golden version"... forward MY URL and you'll get the deluxe PLATINUM VERSION! Hurry! This offer won't last long! Forward it now and get a FREE BONUS: a little barking dog will run across your screen and pee on the ICQ flower, which will then change colors! Woo hoo! How can you resist such an offer? Don't read any further until you've forwarded my URL!

Well, did you do it? I have a little bit of disappointing news for you... you're not going to automatically get anything. Sowwy. Had you going there for a second, didn't I? There is no "golden version" of ICQ and if someone offered you one I'd suggest turning them down (it may not be ICQ at all but something malicious instead). If you want the latest version of ICQ the only way you're going to get it is to go download it for yourself. Forwarding a message does just that, it forwards a message, nothing more, nothing less.

URL: send it to me and 30 people
URL's description: send to me and 30 ppl, your nickname will be said outloud when you get a message! no more uh-oh!!!!!

This will only work if your nickname is "SUCKER!!!" *g* Okay, the truth is you could send this "URL" to 30 million people and you'll still hear the "uh-oh" sound.. probably quite often as people write back to ask you to stop sending them useless garbage. If you would really like to change the sounds your ICQ makes, try installing one of the alternative sound schemes provided by ICQ Inc. (R86)

URL: (Note: this is not the actual URL)
URL's description: ICQ User Advisory

*sniff sniff* Do you smell something? *sniff* I do believe that is the unmistakable stench of SPAM being passed off as an "advisory." The page the URL links to appears to be a legitimate warning to ICQ users about the Happy99 and Melissa trojans and begins by urging everyone to forward the page to other ICQ users. It's the next line that raised my eyebrow: "ICQ users have confirmed that variants of two "Trojan Horse" viruses, Happy99 and Melissa, are now being distributed via the ICQ file transfer and email protocols." Or really? New variants that are spread via ICQ? Confirmed by what ICQ users? I've looked everywhere and can't find a single reference to any new variants of Happy or Melissa. For the record, Happy is spread via a file called happy99.exe which after being run will send a copy of itself to each person you send an e-mail to (only once per e-mail addy) or as an attachment to Usenet posts. The only way it can spread through ICQ is if someone intentionally sends the happy99.exe file and the person receiving it then runs the program. At that point it will start attaching itself to e-mails and Usenet posts, not ICQ messages. Melissa is a Word Document macro virus which like Happy has no particular significance to ICQ users. That's why I feel the real purpose of this "advisory" page is to use scare tactics to promote the URL redirect service that hosts the page. I agree with their advice about not running happy.exe or happy99.exe if you receive it as a file transfer (or more likely as an e-mail attachment). And you should also be careful with Word doc files. But this isn't really an ICQ related issue and the deceptive way they wrote their advisory seems intended to scare people into spreading their URL, which in turn advertises their service. Is this really a practice we want to see become common with ICQ? In my opinion, it's just another form of spam. (R85)

URL: Alert Virus!
URL's description: Don't use ICQ on 5/26, Virus CIH26 will attack through ICQ. Forward this to all your list.

Viruses don't "attack" though ICQ. Viruses spread when an infected file is run, it makes no difference how you receive the file, be it ICQ, an e-mail attachment, a download from a website or a diskette. If the file is infected AND YOU RUN IT then the virus will spread to other files on your system. When the virus is triggered (in this case, by detecting a "detonation date"), it will execute its payload, which could be anything from a harmless joke to damaging files necessary to the functioning of your system. The virus doesn't care whether you run ICQ or not, if you have been infected then it is going to do its dirty work. If it infected other files on your hard drive, such as that cute little greeting card you like to send to your friends, then they are also going to have the same problem. Conclusion: don't fear ICQ on the 26th or any other day, fear files that have been indiscriminately passed around from person to person, because that is how a virus is most likely to "attack" you. (R84)

all files downloaded from are infected with CIH virus..

Well now, that rumor was certainly short and stupid. Saying that "all" the files from are infected is much like saying all the files on the net are infected. Why? Because many of the files you download from are located on remote servers usually belonging to the company or individual who developed the software. For example, if you want to download the latest version of ICQ "from", you can choose get it from their server or, SimTel or AOL. Other programs are only available from the original developer, which means it is their responsibility to ensure the software is uninfected. The bottom line is, because the files are distributed over many different servers, it is nearly impossible for all the files to become infected with a virus. (R83)

URL's description: Send this to all your conntacts: On 5. of May, NATO virus will be in the file ICQ.ini. Delete file!

Send this to all your "conntacts" and it may be the last time you hear from them.
  1. I can find no record of a NATO virus, but it is trivial to change the name of an existing virus and have it set to detonate on May 5th, so it really doesn't matter if it exists or not.
  2. INI (initialization) files are not executable, therefore they cannot spread viruses.
  3. If you delete the icq.ini file you will not be able to run ICQ.
This rumor is a good example of a form of "info virus." It isn't spread by software but rather by people passing it on to their contacts... you could say it infects minds instead of computers. The danger is that someone will follow the instructions, in which case they will damage their own files. It also demonstrates why you shouldn't forward "advice" that you are unsure of... the person receiving it may follow the instructions because they thought you knew what you were talking about. How would you feel if half the people on your contact list screwed-up their ICQ and then blamed you? You could say "Well, I didn't know it wasn't true" and they would have every right to say "Then why did you send it, ya moron?"

URL: No URL, just forward.
URL's description: On May 5. 1999, the NATO virus will be unleashed. Plz warn as many as possible NOT to PC's that day!

More "good advice" about a potentially non-existant threat. At least the "cure" this time won't trash your ICQ, and in fact if you were to apply it to every virus you would be completely safe. I say that because there is at least one virus set to detonate on practically every day of the year, so if you never turn on your computer nothing bad can ever happen. (R81)

Congratulations! You have been selected to receive a 100% FREE Membership to OVER 30 XXX Sites! You'll get 100% access to LIVE SEX Shows, XXX SPY Cams, XXX Pics, LIVE XXX Videos, Sex Chat, SEX Channels 24hrs EVERY day and MUCH MORE!!! Get YOUR FREE Membership NOW! Go to http://not_gonna_tell_ya Your MemberID: 97. Thank You. (It's NOT a unsolicited message. Your ICQ# was submitted to our members list)

Congratulations, you've been spammed! This IS in fact an unsolicited message and no one submitted your UIN to a members list. As far as I can tell, these low-life scumbags are sending this message to everyone on ICQ, probably with the aid of an automated program. Leave it to a porn spammer to indiscriminately send a message like this to not only all the adults on ICQ, but children as well. Because of the ease with which anyone can start an ICQ account, there isn't much Mirabilis can do to prevent this type of abuse of their system... while they are shutting down one account, the spammer can be starting a new one every five minutes. Fortunately, there is something you can do. Click on your ICQ button and go to the Security & Privacy menu, then select the Ignore List tab. Don't bother putting individual spammers on the Ignore List, they'll use a different UIN each time they send something out. What you can do is check the box next to "Accept messages only from users on my contact list." Now you get to choose who can send messages to you (or your children) based on who you allow on your contact list. Die spammers, die! (R80)

URL: http:/not_gonna_tell_ya_this_one_either
URL's description: A girl dying of cancer gets 10 cents everytime this is forwarded... so please forward this

A jerk dying to trick people into visiting his website gets ten hits everytime this is forwarded... so please don't fall for it. (R79)

URL: you get $3 for every one you send, I've made $300.00!

Yeah sure, and I get $30 for everyone I don't forward it to... I'll make millions. Seriously, this one is so ridiculous that anyone who forwarded it should send $3 to each person on their contact list for being so gullible. (R78)

URL's description: ICQ is overloading with people and is deleting 3500 people. Forward this or you will be one. Sorry

Even if this were true (it's not), how much of the "overloading" would be reduced by deleting 3,500 out of approximately 35,000,000 UINs? That is only 1/10,000th of the total number of accounts... not even a drop in the bucket. If anything is overloading ICQ, it's the indiscriminate mass forwarding a garbage like this. BTW, the correct URL to Mirabilis News is (R77)

Don''t download ICQ 99z DLL 3 it has a virus in it... forward this to everyone on your list...
(I don''t originate them, but I do forward them... better safe than sorry, is my motto..)

My motto is better informed that annoying your friends with useless rumors about a version of ICQ ("z") that doesn't exist. (R76)

URL: send to 30 and you will recieve the ICQ V.3.8
URL Description: New ICQ 2000 pass it on to everyone on your list and you'll get it!

You'll "get it" alright... laughed at and scorned by people who have enough sense to know that if and when ICQ2000 becomes available (probably in the year 2000, duh!) everyone will be able to download it. (R75)

URL: If we get 365000 they'll give us ICQ 2000 by e-mail
URL's description: Don't open it, just forward including me.

I suppose if they only got 364,999 people to forward this they would just scrap ICQ2000. Try to imagine the look on the programmer's faces when they are told "Sorry, not enough people forwarded that stupid message, so we deleted 12 months of your hard work." And since when does anyone mass distribute software via e-mail? The current version is over 4 megabytes, try e-mailing a file like that to millions of people and see how many mail severs crash. (R74)

Important!!! AOL purchased ICQ last year and, although there is as of yet no charge, charges will begin sometime in 1999. I am hoping to prevent this. To accomplish this I wish to purchase ICQ from AOL. If I am able to do this I promise I will keep the service free forever. But I need YOUR help. I am not, personaly, wealthy enough to make the purchase. I am requesting donations towards this cause, and I ask that you contribute both financially and by taking a few seconds to forward this message to everyone you know. Cash is fine, or make cheques payable to Save ICQ, care of Walter Jones. Mail to

Save ICQ
6194 Engledonner Lane,
Greenwhich, Utah 44619

Oh, this is rich (which apparently is what Walter would also like to be). AOL paid $287 million for ICQ, and Walter thinks he is going to get enough donations to buy it from them and keep it free forever (Any idea how much it costs to keep ICQ running and growing? Better start looking for a second job, Walter.). Is it just me or do you get a feeling "Mr. Jones" has other plans for those millions he hopes to get? This isn't a hoax, it looks more like criminal fraud. (R73)

I got a virus by the name of patch.exe please FORWARD to all your VIRUS!!! ATTENTION!!!!!! ICQ #could_be_yours name anybody

The most common "patch.exe" isn't a virus, it is a backdoor called NetBus. The only real warning that needs to be sent is "Don't run files you get from strangers." Better still, don't run any file you haven't downloaded from the source or an authorized distributor. Follow that one warning you'll be far safer than following any advice in a rumor message. Remember: When online, always practice Safe Hex. (R72)

Hurry, I mean it, forward to all, including me so I know that you got this
His number is some_victim's_UIN, he will seriously mess up your computer

If you really want someone to know you "got this" try sending them to and maybe in time they will "get it" too. (R71)

URL description: It happened to me, I am not joking.
URL: If u forward this to 20 ppl, a dog will run across ur screen & bark

If it "happened to you" then I suspect you got a hold of some bad acid, because no matter how many people you forward a message to, little doggies aren't going to appear on your screen. This may be the stupidest message ever sent over the net. (R70)

Message to all members.
As we implement the new version of ICQ I regret to inform you that every member will LOSSE their account. Once ICQ2000 is downloaded you will have to sign up again using the new ICQ technology. Unless members refuse, the removing of ICQ accounts will begin FEB 1st.
Forward this message to members on your list as we cannot inform everyone due to network restrictions.

John Stevens

Message to all rumor writers.
As we read your new attempt to deceive the ICQ community, we regret to inform you that the latest version of the program is called ICQ99, not ICQ2000... it would appear you are getting a little ahead of yourself. It's errors like this that cause you to "LOSSE" credibility, especially when making a claim as ridiculous as the one about having to sign-up for new accounts. There is absolutely no reason why anyone's UIN would be incompatible with a new version of ICQ. So the only thing that will begin on Feb 1st is a new month.

Now here's the part I love, the obligatory "forward this" commandment. This one even offers a reason why Mirabilis can't send a system message to everyone... "network restrictions." Poor Mirabilis, they can't even send a message to all their members and now have to rely on the kindness of strangers to pass their most critical announcements. Have you ever wondered what it must be like to be the one user among millions to be charged with spreading "the word?" Must be like Moses getting the Ten Commandments from God... "User 769097, you have been deemed worthy to forward this message among your people so that they may be blessed with the sacred knowledge that has been passed down from above." You don't suppose it comes in the form of a flaming system message, do you?

ICQ would like to know how many gay users they have. So if you're NOT gay, forward this message to everyone on your contactlist including me, or you will be listed as gay.

I have some bad news for all you homophobic people who forwarded this message, they meant to say if you ARE gay then forward it. That's right, you are now all listed on the official gay ICQ user list. Sorry for the mix-up... bahahahaaa!

Now please tell me you didn't really fall for a trick this incredibly moronic. The people at ICQ couldn't care less about your sexual orientation. You figured that out and wrote back to the person who sent you this message and told them to get a clue, right? RIGHT? If not then send me $10 and I'll see what I can do about getting your name off that list.

URL's description: send to all on list, or you will be deleted from system sorry its mandatory for all users

That must be some press release to merit threatening millions of people with mandatory deletion for not forwarding it. The odd part is they didn't say anything about reading it, just sending it. So what does it say? Nothing new really, it's just the AOL acquires Mirabilis release from June 1998... old news if you've bothered to keep-up with ICQ related events. Maybe the person who started this lie thought that by using a link to Mirabilis the message would appear to be official... but the only thing that is mandatory for all users is that they enjoy using ICQ secure in the knowledge that they will never be deleted for refusing to forward anything. (R67)

Warning from Mirabilis Incorporated:

On November the 17th, 1998, all people on the ICQ network using version 98a or below may receive minor - major technical difficulties. These will be due to the upgrading of the servers to version 99. If you are using 98a or below please do not log onto ICQ on this day. Forward this message to everyone on their list, as their ICQ files may corrupt due to this upgrading. -Thankyou

Hey, this one is almost plausible... the rumor author must have grown half a brain. Had a complete brain developed he/she would have realized that it isn't "Mirabilis Incorporated" but "Mirabilis Ltd" or "ICQ Inc." Most companies know their own names. As for the servers, ICQ99a appears to be using it's own server so older versions can continue to use the network safely. Fortunately, Mirabilis's programmers have been gifted with full brains and from the start have had a better way to send a message to everyone on ICQ than to use the "forward this" method. With a click of a button, every ICQ account can be instantly sent a System Message directly from Mirabilis's office. Would you really expect a company that develops mass communications software to rely on a rumor grapevine to spread important information? That would be like your local TV station announcing breaking news by handing out printed fliers on a street corner and saying "pass it on." As they say on their website: "We never ask our users to send us ANY information or to forward any messages." Remember that any time the words "Mirabilis" and "forward this" appears in the same message and you can save yourself some worries. (R25)

Here's one from e-mail...

hehehe guess what! I have become a hacker! look at this

FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW! This is no joke! Reddie (16502610) is a computer hacker TAKE HER OFF YOUR CONTACT LIST NOW!!! she will ask for athorization and when you say yes she deletes your whole hardrive! FORWARD THIS TO ALL THE PEOPLE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST!!

(sorry I added a bit of colour cos I thought looked quite boring) hehehe me! a hacker! cos I can hardly start the computer up yet delete a whole persons hard drive!

Well I shall leave you to your many emails
ta ta


But how do I know you aren't really an EVIL HACKER? Maybe all that cute horsey stuff on your website is just a cover? Maybe the unicorn was kidnaped? You may have broken into someone's computer and STOLEN it! You may be trying to control my computer right now! Is that the REAL reason you used green text? It's a hacker trick, isn't it? The old GREEN TEXT OF DEATH hack! I'm on to you! I'm going to tell the world that even though all the other hacker warnings are fake, THIS ONE IS REAL!

Hey?! Why is my hard drive light on? What happened to my HTML editor? And now my browser is gone! Are you doing that? STOP IT! PLEASE KAGGIE! Okay, I promise I won't expose you as an evil hacker!!! Just let me live!

Enough horsing around. I've stopped including the "hacker warnings" because if you've seen one, you've seen 'em all. But I made an exception this time because it is a good first-hand example of what I've been saying about false warnings. Kaggie is about as far from being a hacker as anyone could get. She is a sweet girl who is into raising horses and having fun. Yet as a result of this "warning" getting passed around, there are now people who won't accept her authorization requests... their loss.

®Mirabilis 1998
Forwarding will be counted through a special tracking machine in the ICQ network to determine inactive ICQ users

I find it totally amazing how many people have been forwarding this rumor. I realize many people are new to ICQ, but is the concept of time also new? Half the people using ICQ didn't even own a computer a year ago, so what kind of "special tracking machine" do they think Mirabilis was using? A crystal ball? Maybe the message should have read "Even though you didn't have ICQ a year ago, the Spirits of the Internet™ have informed Mirabilis®© that you wouldn't have forwarded our message anyway. We also know what you will be doing in that private chat on 16 May 2005 and we don't approve of that kind of thing." Of course all those special symbols mean it has to be true, no one would DARE use a registered trademark in a fake message... the Spirits of the Internet™ wouldn't allow it.

Okay, let's sum this up and put it to rest for another year.
  1. Mirabilis didn't send anyone a system message dated 10/18/97.
  2. Mirabilis has a stated policy of NEVER asking anyone to forward a message from them.
  3. Mirabilis has never "disconnected" an inactive user.
  4. There is no "special tracking machine in the ICQ network."
  5. The use of special symbols does not make a rumor "official."
  6. The Spirits of the Internet™ will think you are a pervert if you don't cool it in that chatroom. (R27)
do not open ICQ on 25 November 1998 because it will destroy your CPU. For futher information please refer to
Please inform your friend.

I've got some "futher information" for you, too. Software can't destroy your CPU. The Central Processing Unit is the chip that runs your computer, such as a Pentium II chip. It is a piece of hardware that can not be altered in a harmful way by any program. A power surge or taking the cover off your computer and hitting your CPU with a hammer could destroy it, but opening ICQ won't hurt a thing. Unless some joker sends out a message saying "Mirabilis will delete your account unless you open up your computer and whack your CPU with a hammer until you see smoke rising. Please forward this message before removing the case." Then I suspect the computer stores will be very busy on 26 November 1998 because there seems to be a whole lot of people who will do anything they are told to do by an ICQ message.

(If you happen to be one of these people and are also a young, attractive female living in the South Florida area, please contact me immediately or your ICQ account will be terminated. This is not a joke, it says so right on Mirabilis's™®© page at... um...'sLoveSlaves.html *WEG*)

Now look at the URL that was included... a link to the page where Mirabilis asks everyone NOT to forward hoax messages and even links to this site. I thought it was rather sporting of this rumor writer to include that link, just his or her way of saying "You're such a dumbass you'll forward this message even though I gave you a link that would have proven it was a hoax." No wonder you only have one friend to inform.

Mirabilis' ICQ Client Searches For Pirate Software!

They say if you are going to tell a lie, make it a big one, and "Funky Fred" has really gone out of his way to deceive the ICQ community with this page...

Mirabilis' ICQ Client Searches For Pirate Software!


If you have installed software that's been illegally obtained, you will be caught!

It's recently come to the attention of ICQ users that Mirabilis are obtaining application specific data from users system registries.

The registry value HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mirabilis\ICQ\DefaultPrefs\Auto Update has been built in to Mirabilis' ICQ client since its first release.

The original intention of this registry key was to enable automatic ICQ version updates without the user needing to download the latest version of the client. Although this was the original intention by Mirabilis, since the takeover by AOL this feature has been put to bad use.

It has allowed the Mirabilis server to modify your ICQ client and send it commands when connecting to their servers. It's been seen to instruct PC's to send various components of the system registry to the ICQ servers periodically. This allows Mirabilis to see what software you have installed on your computer, serial numbers used, your name, your company and in some instances even your home address!

The information is being obtained. This could be sold to large software vendors such as Microsoft who trying to combat software globally. If they have no intention of selling this information taken from your computer without your knowing, why are they doing it?

Should You Be Worried?

Unless you have pirate software on your computer, you have no cause for alarm.

If you have pirate software installed on your computer be sure that Windows is registered to a fake name. If this is not the case, follow the instructions below to disable this automatic updating feature installed by Mirabilis.

How Can I Prevent Mirabilis From Doing This?

The following instructions are intended only for those confident in modifying the Windows registry using Registry Editor! (regedit.exe)

Step One
In registry editor find the key:


Step Two
Change the value of Auto Update to "No"

Should Mirabilis decide to put this feature to use by updating your client automatically you will still need to download it manually.

Macintosh and Java versions of the ICQ client are not affected!!!

More information pertaining to this problem can be found at Wired!

I would like to start by making my strongest case why this isn't true. Anyone with a knowledge of computer programming can look at the code used by ICQ. Every single op code (instruction) can be disassembled and inspected. You can't hide secret instructions from a determined programmer. While this level of expertise is beyond the typical ICQ user, there is no shortage of people who are fully capable of doing it. And due to ICQ's popularity, more than one skilled programmer has disassembled and studied it, line by line. Security flaws have been found and reported. A number of hackers have written programs to exploit these flaws, and the flawed code from the ICQ program has been published on the net, complete with documentation. However... no one has ever documented sinister code that does anything like what is being described above. That is where this claim breaks down, if such code existed then why hasn't anyone found it and documented it? We're not talking about the Loch Ness Monster here, anyone with a sector editor or disassembler program can study the code from start to finish. Do you think someone who found this smoking gun would keep it a secret? No way José, they would instantly become famous for uncovering one of the biggest fiendish plots in the history of the Internet. Overnight they would become a hero to millions. Every news organization on the net would be writing about them... even the conventional news media could have a field day with something this sinister. Once someone published the section of code in question, every hacker/programmer in the world could easily look and confirm the discovery. It wouldn't even be debatable, computer instructions are very specific. Code written to read and send information from the system registry or any other file could be traced through, step-by-step and fully documented. A clever programmer could make the code appear innocuous at first glance, but the real function would become apparent under closer scrutiny. So I'll ask again, where is the proof? To paraphrase Tom Cruise... show me the code! Until you can do that, shut the hell up and stop trying to spread panic through the ICQ Community, Flunky Fred.

Not convinced by a technical argument? Let's try reasoning our way through this. Flunky claims this info is being gathered to combat software piracy. Does Mirabilis or AOL have a problem with their software being pirated? How do you pirate free software? You want AOL's client software? I have 50 of their disks and CDs collecting dust, want to trade something for 'em? The CDs are great for target practice with a shotgun. Oh wait, then Flunky says they could be selling the info to "large software vendors such as Microsoft." Well isn't that sweet of them, helping out the competition. Just how much do you think they are getting paid for this info? Enough to justify committing a felony and exposing a billion dollar corporation (AOL) to a massive class action lawsuit? What else do you think they are doing? Is AOL chairman Steve Case peddling crack on a street corner in his spare time? Get real, ya moron. What are the "large software vendors" going to do with this info? Use it to get ten million search warrants based on illegally obtained "evidence?" What kind of evidence is this, anyway? You said yourself to make sure "Windows is registered to a fake name." What if we all change our names to Bill Gates? Are they going to come knocking on his door to search for pirated software? If not Bill, then how can they be sure of any name and address they get off a computer? You really thought this through, didn't you Flunky?

What else does our Boy Wonder suggest? Modifying the Windows Registry? Let me put it this way: BAD IDEA. If you don't know enough about how the registry works to understand that this isn't a problem, then you really shouldn't be poking around in there in the first place. Besides, if Mirabilis is supposedly smart enough to be sneaking a peek at our data, then why would they put a key in the registry that could turn off this "feature?" Don't you think they could find a little better place to hide it? I also noticed that under ICQ's Preferences/Accept/General you can uncheck "Automatically receive Externals, Servers and NetTips updates." Just a guess here, but would someone like to try changing that and telling me if the Reg file is then set to "no?" I'm a little busy at the moment explaining why Flunky Fred is an idiot.

I see Flunky claims the "Macintosh and Java versions of the ICQ client are not affected!!!" Why is this? Don't Mac and Java users pirate software, too? Maybe after going though all this trouble to program a backdoor into the Windows version Mirabilis decided it was unethical and let everyone else off the hook?

So Flunky has offered absolutly no evidence to back-up his far-fetched conspiracy claim, but then offers a link to Wired for more info. I've been reading Wired for years, and if anyone were going to investigate and publish a story like this, these are the guys and gals to do it. So what do you get when you click on the link? "An error occurred while processing this directive." Awwww... no story, what a huge surprise. But while you're there, do a search for "ICQ" and you'll turn-up lots of stories about past security flaws in ICQ. Just be sure to note something important: these are FLAWS... bugs, errors, mistakes... not intentional ways for Mirabilis to spy on you. I've never seen a claim like Flunky's made by Wired, and if they did they would include a little something called e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e.

Speaking of "dense/dunce," just who is this Flunky Fred? He didn't leave a name or e-mail address where he can be contacted. What's wrong Fred, afraid the Mirabilis goon squad is going to break down your door in the middle of the night and haul you away? (BTW, if Mirabilis ever forms a goon squad I volunteer to be on it.
J ) More likely ol' Flunky just doesn't want to be held accountable for his actions. I've noticed that about most of the rumor mongers, they love to hide under rocks with the rest of the scum. Just for the record, my real name and a working e-mail address appears on this page. I stand behind what I write and if anyone has evidence to prove me wrong then I'm only one mouse click away. Note that word again: evidence. As in documentable and verifiable. Your best buddy HaPpY hAx0r whispering a secret to you in the "I_Saw_Elvis_Working_At_A_Gas_Station" chatroom one night is not evidence... you'll have to do better than that. Even if HaPpY claims to have seen the evidence, I don't care, maybe it was Elvis that showed it to him. I'm a programmer, not Geraldo Rivera, show me the code or don't waste my time.

Why do people go to all the trouble of spreading rumors like this? Because they have a grudge against AOL or Mirabilis? Fine, then state your case against them just like others have done, don't make-up a bunch of garbage. Maybe Flunky works for one of Mirabilis's competitors? I honestly don't know. Most likely he is just trying to impress his friends with how many people he can deceive. There is a Showstat counter hidden away on the bottom of his page, and it appears that a lot of people are visiting his site. In fact, for every person who visits my page in the coming months there will probably be ten that visits his. I guess sensationalized lies are more fun to spread than the boring old truth. The unfortunate part is that everytime someone spreads Flunky's hoax, more people are likely to drop ICQ, which in turn makes the program less useful for all of us (what good is a contact list without contacts?). That's why I write this stuff, I enjoy using ICQ and the more people who get it, the more useful it becomes. Plus I just don't like people who peddle lies. There are a lot of really nice people on the net who deserve to know the truth so they can stop worrying and enjoy the experience.

Save ICQ. (same as

These two URLs have been getting passed around a lot lately. If you visit the page it wall say "AOL has bought ICQ and they are planning to charge people for using it! They must be stopped!" First off, AOL is not planning to charge for ICQ. If you need more reassurance of that then I urge you to visit the AOL/ICQ page. But the "Save ICQ" page doesn't end there, it goes on to ask you to sign their petition with your name, e-mail and country. They say if they get a million people to sign then they will send it to AOL. Sounds like another of those misguided in-duh-viduals trying to rack-up hits, right?

No, this time I have a feeling those e-mail addresses are being collected for something a bit more sinister. You see, the first time I visited that page I checked the link that the form data was being submitted to. Ever heard of the Sex Museum? Well, if you sign that so-called "petition" there is a very good chance you will be hearing about them... in your e-mail when the spam starts pouring in. It is one of those quaint little perverted porn sites. You know the kind where you click on the "free" link and it asks for your credit card number? Anyway, a week after my first visit the link banners to the Sex Museum had been changed to a less suspicious looking site called NetRadio. Now that may not seem so bad, but look at those banners carefully and you'll notice that they are revenue generating banners. That means everytime someone clicks on one the owner of that page is making money. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind if someone puts together a fantastic site and then makes a little extra cash off of ad banners. But I do object when they lie about the true intent of the page. In this case they are trying to make money off of the gullibility of people in the ICQ community that are afraid of AOL charging, when that simply isn't going to happen. And then they will probably try to make even more money from selling your e-mail addresses to anyone who will cut them a check. So if you really want to do your friends on ICQ a favor, warn them not to visit this site.

By the way, I would love to know who the creep who set this scam up is, but you'll notice his name and e-mail address are nowhere to be found. For future reference I would advise all of you to be wary of any site that has paid ad banners or asks for your e-mail address, especially with the owner chooses to remain anonymous. Note: I'm not saying a site shouldn't run ad banners, there is nothing wrong with that. It's when they try to rack-up hits under false pretenses that I have a problem.

ohhhhh please do forward this!! i dont want to see anyone lose their icq account. you must forward this. YOU MUST!!! icq managment will shut down your account if they dont see that this message is being sent. I WOULDNT LIE TO YOU!!!! i checked this out myself and didnt beleive it but i had to start up my account again because they shut mine down. do it for yourself and dont go throught the same thing as i did.

Awwww... isn't that sweet? They don't want to see anyone lose their account... not like those mean people at ICQ management who must be telling everyone to start these chain messages. After all, that message doesn't even claim to be from Mirabilis, but apparently just written by someone who "checked it out." I wonder what the instructions from ICQ management were? I've never seen anything on the Mirabilis homepage giving orders to write your own message and tell everyone to forward it, but if there were I imagine it might go something like this:

Hello, this is ICQ management. We want all our members to write threatening notes to their friends telling them that they MUST forward the message they receive. If any of your friends don't forward your message we will terminate their accounts. We do this because we want to irritate all our members and drive them off the system. You see, we spent millions of dollars and 18 months of development time just to be able to piss everyone off. Bahaha... and here you thought Microsoft was evil. Thank you and have a nice day.
PS - Be sure to misspell a few words and use poor grammar.

You know, I've been adding new rumors to this site for eight months, and in all that time I don't think I've seen a less believable rumor than this. I really wish Mirabilis could track who forwards this one (by the way, they can't). It would give us all some idea of the overall gullibility of the ICQ community. I would hope it is about one in a hundred people who fall for it, but I have a feeling it is probably more like one in ten. So if someone sends this to you, write back and ask them why they would think Mirabilis would want all their members to start rumors just so they could kick everyone off their system. When they can't think of a reason then ask them why they would forward something that is so obviously a hoax. And if they still don't "get it" then send me their UIN. I want to offer to sell them a bridge in New York or some choice swampland in the Everglades. Hey, I'll even send you a referral check when the deal closes. *wink*

Starting in the month of July 1998, ICQ will be charging $12.95 monthly for an account on mirabilis ICQ. You can recieve 5 brownie points if you send this message to 20 people. Just forward this message and ICQ can detect how many times you have sent it. 10 brownie points is equal to one months pay for ICQ.
Thanks for your help.

® Mirabilis ICQ 1998

Well, the rumors are just a fake as they ever were but at least the spelling and grammar on this one is improving. They even added the registered trademark symbol. Though they forgot to capitalize "mirabilis" and misspelled receive. What do you think... a B+? But I can only give them a C- for originality. The whole "brownie points" thing has been done to death. Personally I like the term "MiraPoints" better.

For more comments on this and nine other of the most common rumors, be sure to check out the Top Ten list.


What is the first thing most people do when they get a message like this? They go to the URL and see what's there for themselves, that is the first thing I did. And guess what? Nothing out of the ordinary happened to Netscape, the page loaded like any other. Which leads me to believe one of two things are possible:

1. "Fruit Ruler" wants you to visit that page (hence why I removed the URL) or

2. "Fruit Ruler" is an idiot. How many of you still load the Netscape homepage every time you run your browser? You don't have to, you know? Just go to Edit - Preferences - Navigator and you can make it open to any URL you want it to. Or to save time, you can do what most people do and have it open to a blank page.

Anyway, if you get a message like this you are probably just being conned into visiting someone's page. If you have time then go for it, but don't waste everyone else's time with these little games.

Mirabilis is going to charge $.07 for each message sent so they don't get bought out by AOL. Please send this message to everyone you know and keep ICQ ad free.

Mirabilis was a privately held corporation, they couldn't be bought out unless they wanted to be. A hostile takeover was never possible (unless AOL's Steve Case was planning to invade Israel... bad idea, Steve).

More to the point, AOL already bought Mirabilis. See the Mirabilis' Acquisition By AOL page for more info.

Hi, I need you to forward a message to everyone all over the place as fast as you can. Let them know about this person. He is sending a virus that will shut your computer down forever...his UIN# is 3433909. please remove any names on this so the complete message gets out thanx:-) His name is Wilson Ho.

Or this variation...

There is someone names wilson ho that send viruses to the people that talksto him. his uin# is: 3433909...send this message to all of your friends and do it fast so they want catch some virus.

Hi-dee-ho good neighbor. Awww... Tim, you don't really think I would send you a virus, do you? Why do people keep spreading these false rumors about me? I'm just a nice guy who had a little joke played on him, and now half the people on ICQ think I'm some kind of mad virus spreading hacker. Don't they know that all the people who appear in these warning messages are the victims of someone's dirty little trick? (R35)

I never forward these stupid things, but cancer sux INPORTANT TO ME SO PLEASE FOWARD IT!!! This is a message from the International Cancer Society. Please send this to as many people as possible. ICQ will donate $2 to the Cancer Society if you send it to one person, $4 for 2 people and so on. This is important as the lives of these patients lies in your hands. Thank you.

Most of the time I find these idiotic rumors somewhat amusing, but ones like this piss me off. First off, it is a complete and total lie, Mirabilis doesn't even have a clue whether or not you forward it, and they never agreed to donate a cent. But that isn't what pisses me off. The problem is people think they are doing something helpful, but in reality nothing is being done to help cancer research. If you want to donate to the American Cancer Society, then please do so. Visit their Web site and send them a check. But please don't forward this worthless chain message to your friends, okay? (R36)


This is the code that says tha u are still using ICQ. send this to everyone in your list....if u dont ICQ will remove U..this code sends to mirabilis and says that u have snt the msg to your friends.take all on the list...

No, no, no. That is the wrong code. The one you want to send is:
Got it? That is the one you want to send to all your friends.

ATTENTION!!! Its confirmed, Mirabilis is going to charge $0.10 for every message sent. If you want to vote against it, click FORWARD and send this message to EVERYONE on your list. If the number of vote is equal to the number of users (2,500,000), they''ll not request the payment. Delete the "who wrote" names on top!

ATTENTION!!! It's confirmed, Mirabilis is going to charge the authors of fake rumors $0.10 for ever person they are forwarded to. Since it appears all ten million (not 2.5 million) ICQ users have received this message, the originator now owes us one million dollars. We will take it out of his allowance for the next 100 years.

Well folks, if it were up to me that is what I would do, but I'm not affiliated with Mirabilis so all I can do is tell you once again that they are not charging. But you have to admit, it is a novel idea to charge the rumor writers... too bad it is not possible.

Here's another idea. Want to vote to stop these pathetic lies? Then forward the URL to everyone on your list and if the number is equal to 10 million, maybe all (most anyway) ICQ users will develop the good sense to recognize and ignore these messages.

ok listen, I AM NOT LYING, i was looking at the mirabills pag yeah, and from NEXT month u have to pay $5 freakign buck. u can''t go against it, and i am gonne uregistermyself, OK THIS IS NOT A CHAIN LETTER BUT SEND IT TO YOUR BUDS IF YA WANT THEM 2 know. look i hate chain letters my self but it it RTUE if u don''t believe look it up yourself, u will come out with the same conlusion so u will b

This message, which was obviously written by a Nobel prize winning Harvard English professor, is a classic example of post-modern ICQ literature. Notice the subtle use of grammar and spelling to lend a sense of urgency and teen angst. Truly a masterful missive worthy of the Bard himself. The viewer is compelled to read it time and again, uncovering additional nuances with each perusal until suddenly, inextricably, the beholder of this epic tale of intrigue and mystery arrives at the certain conclusion that it is, alas, a work of fiction.

In other words, if you look at the "mirabills pag yeah" you will find that they are not planning to ask "u to pay $5 freakign buck." Therefore, I am not "gonne uregistermyself" despite this writer's protestations that it is "RTUE."

The following user number has been found distributing pornographic programs which contain viruses that eat at you hard disk, file by file, please put him on ignore before it's too late, if you have any others that should be banned, let me know, I'm going to set up a tattling site for those who put out anything vulgar. Ban this UIN today: 3586859. PS: DO NOT PASS THIS ON!!!

Most false rumors are just annoyances, but ones like this are different because someone actually gets hurt. In this case I don't know the victim well, but based on what I do know he seems like a pretty cool guy, not a pornographic virus distributor. The real lowlife is the person who started this libelous rumor. They say they are going to put up a "tattling site" for anything vulgar? Well please, add my number to it... and my attorney's number because you would be hearing from both of us before long.

Here's the truth: I've yet to hear from or about anyone who actually was guilty of the crime that one of these messages accuses them of. It is really unfair to forward a message about someone you don't know when they never even have a chance to defend themselves. Meanwhile the people who start rumors like this never include their UIN, they want you to do their dirty work while they hide in the shadows. ICQ was intended for meeting new friends and staying in contact with old ones, not destroying innocent people's reputations. Please don't forward any message that you are not 100% sure of... your UIN could be on the next one.

On the 4th of April to the 15th of April Icq will be temporarly shutting down. We are terribly sorry for this inconvenience but when we come back we will have 10 more servers. If you do not pass this on you will not get the benifets of the new servers which could result in slower connections to icq.

No, no, no, no, NO! I wish the part about the new servers were true, but I just checked Mirabilis' homepage (I know what you are thinking, but I really did *g*) and there is no mention of the service being unavailable. Nor have I or anyone else received a System Message through ICQ about down time. I also can't see why the service would be down for 11 days while the new servers are installed. And even if they were adding new servers, that would probably be transparent to users and you wouldn't know they were there until you updated your ICQ server list. Finally, we know this is a false rumor because Mirabilis has a stated policy that they will never, ever ask you to forward a message from them... and they most definitely will never threaten their users with "slower connections" for not forwarding a message. So the only "benefit" you can expect from forwarding this message is the scorn and ridicule of your friends.

Update: As I write this on April 4th, ICQ is up and running great... what a surprise, eh? So the next time you see a message like this will you:

a. Remember the last one and refuse to be fooled again or...
b. Think "maybe this time it's true" and be fooled again?

I checked it out, and it really is true It''s on Mirabilis Home Page: They are requesting a payment to each message you send. If you want to vote against it, click foward and send this message to everyone. If the number of vote is larger than 3000 then they won''t start charging. Forward this to EVERYONE (please please please)!!! remember to erase the "wrote by" section.

Does this look familiar? It should, just about everyone who is on ICQ has seen it in some form. A quick review:
1. They didn't check it out.
2. It isn't true.
3. It is not on the Mirabilis Home Page.
4. They are not requesting a payment for each message you send.
5. They are not recording your vote.

Only one person's "vote" counts, and that person is Mirabilis director Joseph Vardi. Mr. Vardi, along with a few other wealthy investors, have poured millions of dollars into Mirabilis. They pay the employee's salaries, buy the servers and cover the operating expenses. And they can do whatever they want to with the company, regardless of how many misguided users "vote." If you wrote a check for several million dollars to start a company, would you let a small group of non-paying users dictate how you should run your business? I doubt it.

So what's the deal with ICQ and payments? Well, based on what I've read, Mr. Vardi is trying to build Mirabilis into a valuable company... it is an investment. And in my humble opinion, he is doing a pretty good job of it. Perhaps one day there will be another company that wishes to purchase Mirabilis, at which time Mr. Vardi and associates could see a very handsome return on their investment. Or they could choose to sell advertising space. They might even decide to *gasp* start charging. But it is their decision, and unless your are prepared to write a very sizable check and become one of the private investors, you don't get to vote.


WE CAN SEE THAT YOU ARE NOT A "FRECUENT" USER OF THE WRITTEN WORD. How can anyone... even the newest of the newbies who just joined AOL, possibly believe a message like that came from a reputable company like Mirabilis? All you have to do is THINK about it. How would *you* know whether or not everyone on your contact list did or did not forward a message last month? And if they did forward it, why would Mirabilis ask you to forward this message to them?

"But DB, I'm new to the net and I forwarded it because..."

Because you are an idiot who didn't stop to think about what you were doing. No more excuses. Either think about what you are forwarding or just stop forwarding everything.

Reference No. : 953-271-97-3

Please be informed that you have registered and misused multiple Mirabilis ICQ accounts. If you do not reply to this message within 7 days your accounts will be terminated and your Internet Access Provider will be notified.

Please complete the following information and message them back.

Full Name :
E-mail Address :
ICQ Password :

Yikes! This one is pretty good. It isn't a forwarded message like the others we've seen. Instead it is an attempt to break into your ICQ account. Whatever you do, DON'T send anyone your ICQ password. Mirabilis already knows your password, they would never have any reason to ask you for it. The same is true of all your passwords. If someone claims to be from your ISP and needs to know your pass, tell them to get lost. I've heard of this type of thing happening on AOL, now it is being done on ICQ. Don't fall for it, okay my friends? (R44)

You must forward this to stay on icq. is not a joke.

Ah ha! Now we know who starts these rumors... BILL GATES!
Seriously, why would Mirabilis kick you off ICQ if you didn't forward Microsoft's URL?

I want more, take me to Part Two!
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