School by Super Tramp  
Update Page Two

On to more lies...

ICQ is now requesting a US$5.00 registration fee for each individual account. Your account will be cancelled if this fee is not received by March 30, 1998. This payment can be waived by passing this message to at least 15 users.

ICQ System Management

The only thing I have ever seen "ICQ" request is that you wake-up and smell the coffee. If Mirabilis wishes to send you a message it will be sent as a "System Message" which looks like this:


Note that the UIN of the sender is "1"... that is Mirabilis. Employees of Mirabilis have other numbers, but an official system-wide message will probably come from UIN 1. And it won't request that you forward it for the simple reason that it has already been sent to every ICQ user. See how easy it is to tell the real Mirabilis messages from the fakes? I have complete faith in your abilities... you can do it!!!
(R46)

WARNING!!!!!! If you recieve an e-mail titled "JOIN THE CREW" DO NOT OPEN IT! IT WILL ERASE EVERYTHING on your hard drive! Send this letter out to as many people you can.......THIS IS A NEW VIRUS and not many people know about it! This information was received this morning, 08/09/97, from IBM, please share it with anyone you know that might access this.

And one more just like it...

IF YOU GET AN E-MAIL THAT SAYS PENPAL GREETINGS OR JOIN THE CREW DO NOT OPEN IT IS A VIRUS...... JUST GOT THE MESSAGE FROM IBM THIS MORNING PASS IT ON TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN!!!

These rumors have been on the page since it went up, but I have been getting way too much e-mail telling me that they are true... I've even been accused of spreading a lie! Hey now, those are fightin' words, so a little further comment in is order.

As stated previously, this is just another tired variation of the old "Good Times" virus hoax. You can't get a virus from opening an e-mail, only by running an attached executable file.

Now listen carefully: IBM is not sending out a message saying Join The Crew is true. If you don't believe me then go see for yourself what Big Blue really says about it (click the link and it will open in a new window, I'll just wait here for you to come back).

http://www.av.ibm.com/BreakingNews/HypeAlert/Crew

See? Did I lie to you? IBM says it's a hoax. Before you write and challenge me, do your homework. It is time to Quit The Crew and join reality.
(R47)

WARNING: If you receive an E-mail titled "Win A Holiday" DO NOT open it. Delete it immediately. Microsoft just announced this yesterday. It is a new malicious virus that will erase your hard drive. At this time there is no remedy. Forward this to everyone immediately.

Does "Win A Holiday" look a lot like "Join The Crew?" It should, it is the same hoax with a different name and source. These false ICQ warnings are shortened forms of the e-mail that has been going around. Here is the text of the e-mail version:

Subject: FWD: VIRUS WARNING !

If you receive an email titled "WIN A HOLIDAY" DO NOT open it. It will erase everything on your hard drive. Forward this letter out to as many people as you can. This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it.

This information was announced yesterday morning from Microsoft; please share it with everyone that might access the Internet. Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in your address book so that this may be stopped.

Now compare that to the original "Join The Crew" e-mail:

VIRUS WARNING !!!!!!

If you receive an email titled "JOIN THE CREW" DO NOT open it. It will erase everything on your hard drive. Forward this letter out to as many people as you can. This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it.

This information was announced yesterday morning from IBM; please
share it with everyone that might access the internet. Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in your address book so that this may be stopped.

Not very original, eh? And not very true, either. So whether you get one of these warnings in ICQ or e-mail, be a good netizen and write back to the sender and inform them that it is a hoax. You might want to suggest that if they have already sent the warning to their entire contact list or address book, that the proper thing to do is send a retraction and inform everyone that the last message was a false rumor and should be ignored. It is really a shame that so many people are afraid to open their e-mail because of all the false information they have read. Let's all start forwarding the truth and enjoy the net instead of living in fear of these non-existent boogiemen.
(R48)

There is a person in ICQ posing as male. In fact, he is a male transsexual, looking to become a female lesbian.Simultaneously, he/she is spreading a destructive computer virus, that has not been detected by any Virus Scanning software.Name is Stockman and ICQ# is (number deleted).DO NOT ACCEPT ANY EVENTS FROM THIS USER.
P.S.: Please forward this to everyone in your Contact List through "Multiple Recipients"

I've read this one five times and I still can't figure it out. If "Stockman" is posing as a male, then he/she must have been a female transsexual who switched to being a guy but now wants to go back to being a female lesbian? *shaking head* I think the author of this rumor is the same person who writes the instructional pamphlets for the IRS. Oh, and they are spreading an undetectable virus? Well, if it can't be detected, then how do you know they are spreading it? (Don't answer, I'm still trying to figure out what gender they are.) The only thing the author left out was that "Stockman" is the reason ICQ wants to start charging. (I'm kidding! They are not going to start charging... blah, blah blah.)

Final comment: FAKE! If you've read this far you already know about virus rumors, so let's just leave poor "Stockman" alone, he/she has enough problems without anyone forwarding this convoluted crapola.
(R49)

I was at the ICQ homepage and they said to send a message containing the code *11A9F332C9DE* in those little starts (I asume it's a HEX thing?). It was at the http://www.mirabilis.com/index.html#rumors I really honestly saw it myself. Send this to everyone or else your UIN will be deleted. They are nearing there 9999999 user mark (highest number they can have) and need to free up inactive acounts.

If this person "really honestly saw it" on Mirabilis' page, then he/she needs to check into a rehab clinic ASAP because the hallucinations are getting "really honestly" severe.

But what about this 9999999 user mark? Well, first off the UIN fields in ICQ all appear to have enough space for another digit, so that means room for 90 million more accounts. But then, maybe not.

WARNING: Highly technical discussion to follow.

Computers don't count in decimal (ie. base ten: 0 to 9) like people do, they use binary (ie. base 2: 0 and 1). While numbers like 10, 100, 1000 and a million look significant to us, they are insignificant in a binary counting system. The ones and zeros a computer uses are called "bits." They are commonly grouped together in sets of eight, collectively called a "byte." Counting in binary looks like this:
00000000 = 0
00000001 = 1
00000010 = 2
00000011 = 3
00000100 = 4
00000101 = 5
and so on up to...
11111111 = 255
Using one byte you can represent all the numbers from 0 to 255. To count higher you need to use a second byte. With two bytes (11111111 11111111) you can count to 65,535. Since we know that UINs go much higher than that, it is safe to assume the ICQ program uses at least three bytes, which would add up to 16,777,215. So as of the time I write this, only about half the UINs have been used. And before they use all of the rest, Mirabilis can issue an update that uses a 4th byte, opening up UINs all the way to 4,294,967,295. (Gee, I finally found a use for that degree in computer science.)

The bottom line is, they are not going to recycle your UIN when there are plenty more to go around.

UPDATE: I conducted an experiment and tried to search for UIN #1, which resulted in this error message: "The field UIN is out of range (1001-2147483646)." The highest UIN appears to be 2,147,483,646, which in binary is 01111111 11111111 11111111 11111110. So they are using four bytes but reserving the first and last bits. To those people who sent e-mail to say that my binary theory was wrong, you are now welcome to "byte me." The new bottom line is, after the 9,999,999th user, there will still be room for well over TWO BILLION more.
(R50)

We at ICQ need to record how many active acounts are running, and who is really using our service, or just wasting space. Forward this to everyone on your list within 24 hours. If you don''t, our service will become unavailable to you. Erase the names at the top. THIS IS NOT A LIE.. USER 4044966 (IS A MAIN COMPUTER ) Don''t send this back to me. Send it to others on your list!

This one must be really getting around, I've lost track of how many people have sent it in. Let's see how many clues we have that it is false.
  • Claims to be from "ICQ" instead of Mirabilis.
  • Suggests they don't know who is using their service. In fact, everytime you connect to an ICQ server they know you are active whether you send anything or not.
  • Would lead you to believe inactive accounts waste space. Think about it, only the active accounts are using their servers/services. And there are no shortage of UINs (see above).
  • Has a 24 hour deadline. What if you don't log on for a day, do you really think they would delete your account?
  • Asks you to forward the message. Mirabilis has made it perfectly clear they will never ask you to do this.
  • Says user is a "main computer." Info for that UIN says it is a 17 year old guy in Italy. For those of you "new to the net," most main computers are not 17 year old Italian kids.
  • Requests that you not send it back to "me." Very few corporations refer to themselves as "me."
  • Includes the phrase "THIS IS NOT A LIE." Therefore, it is a lie. Please remember this in the future. (R51)
We at ICQ need to record how many active acounts are running, and who is really using our service, or just wasting space. Forward this to everyone on your list within 24 hours. If you don''t, our service will become unavailable to you. Erase the names at the top. THIS IS NOT A LIE.. USER 5690249 (IS A MAIN COMPUTER )

Oh no! The Italian guy/computer must have lost his job and been replaced by the new Canadian "main computer" by the name of "Audrey." Let me tell ya, after looking at the info section this is quite a computer, it plays volley ball, basketball and likes to go to parties. And I thought my computer was pretty slick, but it's never shot hoops or brought me a beer. Forget Pentiums, I want an Audrey! Wait a second... it also says "this is not a lie." You remember what that means, right?

UPDATE: "Audrey" went and changed "her" info, it looks like she found a new hobby which I won't mention here... but it is still something a Pentium can't do. *g*
(R52)

Mirabilis Headquarters:
This is the President of Mirabilis. I would like to thank you for using ICQ. Alot has been accomplished here. To continue our free service we will monitor the number of time this message is forwarded. If it reaches 1,000,000 forwards, we will continue our services free of charge. Please erase the senders name from the top before Mirabilis Headquarters. Thank You

ICQ Lies Page Headquarters:
This is the President of the ICQ Lies Page. I would like to thank you for visiting my site. A lot has been accomplished here. To continue our free service we will monitor the number of times this page is accessed. If it reaches 1,000,000 hits, we will continue our services free of charge. Please thank the person who sent you this URL.

Note #1: The message from "Mirabilis Headquarters" is a lie. It was not written by the "President of Mirabilis." They don't monitor the number of times that message is forwarded. Mirabilis is not planning to charge for ICQ at this time.

Note #2: The message from "ICQ Lies Page Headquarters" is true. It was written by me (though never sent to anyone on ICQ). I do thank you and hope a lot does get accomplished here. I'll continue this free service as long as there is an interest in it. A million hits would be nice, but as of the time I write this less than half of one percent of all ICQ users have ever heard of this page. The only way the other 99.5% are going to find out is if you tell them. The irony of forwarding a message about not forwarding messages is not lost on me, but unlike the message from "Mirabilis Headquarters," at least a message about this page would be true. If you do send this URL to your friends on ICQ, all I ask is that you use good judgment and netiqutte.
(R53)

URL:C:\windows\TEMP\s3vvoe7n..html
URL's description: Don't download version 3 ICQ, it has a virus in it. Forward this to all your friends. ICQ98 is ok

This so-called URL has been getting passed around a lot lately. Take a good look at it... notice anything odd? Like the fact it points to the local C drive, not a location on the net? The incompetent moron who started this one pointed to a file on their own hard drive. And I have never even heard of a version 3 of ICQ.
So here are two tips for you.
1. Don't download a version of ICQ from anywhere except Mirabilis' site, you can never be 100% certain of what you are getting.
2. Please don't forward this worthless URL and message if you get it.
(R54)

Please forward this urgent message: Mirabilis is reporting to the CIA and the FBI the information they have gathered from everybody''s computer that has ICQ installed on it. Forward this message to everyone you know to protest this invasion of our civil rights.

Oh c'mon, everyone knows that Mirabilis is an Israeli company, so they would report to the Mossad (Israeli Intelligence Agency) who would then pass the information to the CIA and FBI.

Urgent message: I'M JUST KIDDING!!!


I'm in the rumor bustin' business, not the rumor starting business so don't quote me on that, okay? I can't say for sure what happens to ICQ messages, but I don't think even Tom Clancy would come up with something this far fetched. What kind of intelligence would they be collecting from ICQ? Which terrorist is forwarding hugs and kisses to the other terrorists? Until I see some proof, this one is going straight into the ol' bit bucket.
(R55)

We at ICQ wish to inform you that there is a very destructive virus planted within this message. Forward this to everyone on your list within 24 hours and you will not be affected. If you don''t, our service will become unavailable to you and your hard drive will be rendered useless. Erase the names at the top.

So now Mirabilis is sending out a virus? Maybe other companies will start to follow this new marketing trend. Microsoft could change their motto to: "You'll go where we tell you to or your hard drive is history." Honestly, the only thing being "rendered useless" by this message is the common sense of anyone who believes it. (R56)

this is no joke forward this they really mean it IF YOU PASS THIS MESSAGE ON TO EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST MIRABILIS WILL GIVE YOU 2345 MIRAPOINTS, THAT WILL GET YOU THE NEW IMPROVED MIRABILIS ICQ2 SO PASS IT ON!

Delete the names at the top of the list to get another 2543 points!

One "MiraPoint" is equal to -1 IQ points, so if you forward this message to anyone you must be clinically brain dead. Besides, I have a better offer for you. If you really believe this message then delete my name from your ICQ list and you can have all my MiraPoints... deal? (R57)

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 (number deleted). please remove any names on this so the complete message gets out thanx :-) His name is John (last name deleted) if he is on your list please delete him.

How do I know "John" is really sending out a virus? Maybe you just don't like the guy. If he really is sending out a virus why not report him to abuse@john'sISP.com and let them deal with him? And what's the deal with "a virus that will shut your computer down forever?" I've heard of some pretty nasty ones that will cause you to lose your data and are difficult to remove, but nothing short of "John" coming to your house and trashing your computer with a sledge hammer is going to shut it down "forever." (R58)

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. She is sending a VIRUS that will shut your computer down forever...her UIN# is 3506314. Please remove any names on this so the complete message gets out. Thanks. :-) Her name is SEVENIE.

P.S. Make sure you send this to everybody.

Sounds a lot like "John," doesn't it? Maybe he had a sex change operation and got a new UIN. You'll notice I left the UIN and handle on this one, the reason is because when I searched ICQ for this person the account was inactive. Which brings up a point, it is so easy to get a new account and change a handle that by the time a message like this gets out, the warning is useless, so why bother? (R59)

I was told that their are 2 people that are trying to destroy my site. Their ICQ numbers are (number deleted), and (number deleted). They have been bombing me and have been trying to cause server trouble. I'm offering a complete collection of current warez cd's for anyone who destroys these two pests. Please forward this message to eveyone on your list.

You were "told" this? You really don't know if either of these people have ever done anything to you, but you would like everyone on ICQ to attack them on your behalf? Yeah, sure... I'll do it right away. Now can I have my "warez cd's?" Gee, I noticed that you didn't include YOUR UIN, so how do I collect?

My friends, may I make a suggestion? If you get a message warning you about someone you don't know and the person who wrote it doesn't leave you any way of contacting them to see if it is true, then don't forwarded it. Chances are the person you are being warned about is the real victim and you wouldn't want someone spreading a false rumor about you, would you?
(R60)

Doubt it, but!
http://www.mirabilis.com/index.html#Rumors
sorry for forwarding this to you, I checked it out myself...
This is not a fake! The ICQ netwrok is overpopulated. You must forward this to every person on your list. All non responsive accounts will be terminated. If you do not forward this, your account will be terminated. Delete the names at top so that the whole message gets through.

You "doubt it" but... what??? You doubt it but you're too stupid and/or lazy to check the URL that is right in front of you? The URL that would have removed all doubt? Now I'm having some doubts about the people who keep forwarding these messages. It is to them that I direct the following message: The Earth is over-populated. This is true, I checked it out myself. You must terminate yourself tonight at midnight. Thank you and have a nice final day.

(I hope I don't get sued for contributing to the death of an idiot.)
(R61)

This is a prayer...for a friend of mine...she is dying...please fwrd this...thank you =( if you cant take 2mins to send a fwrd then your sick.

Maybe this one is true... and if it is then I wish your friend well. But I'm not going to forward this message or any like it unless it is to people who actually know the person it is about. And that does not make me "sick," it makes me practical. Because if everyone starts writing and forwarding messages about sick friends then the ICQ network won't have a prayer. (R62)

1:06pm(EST) 1-17-98  ICQ Billing  Code 1  Msg 3

Item       Description                         Price
1G         ICQ Global Network Usage        $12.99/Mo
1W         WWP World Wide Pager             $2.09/Mo
1V         Server Virus Protection          $1.09/Mo

           === Amount Due: $16.17 ===

We Accept: Visa, Euro Visa, Mastercard & US Checks.
Please Pay Within 72 Hours, Thank you for using ICQ!

(C) 1998 Mirabilis Inc

I have to admit, this is one of the best fakes I've seen. The person who forged it even got the spelling and math correct... a first. If Mirabilis were to start charging the invoice might even look something like this, except for the "Server Virus Protection" which I doubt exists. The payment options and closing thank you with a copyright notice adds to the appearance of authenticity. This one is so believable I wouldn't be surprised if some people (ie. suckers) have actually attempted to pay Mirabilis for their free service.

Repeat: free service.

And that, my friends, is why you should just ignore this message. However, if you insist on paying someone for a free service, I would be more than happy to receive a check from you for $16.17 a month. E-mail me for my mailing address. And have a nice day.
(R63)

This is an offical icq chain letter. All you have to do is forward it to everyone you know. For each person you forward it to, you will recieve one full day of free icq starting at 1/1/98. This is when icq is expected to no longer be free. so that means that if you send this to 365 people, 1998 will be completly free for you. Erase the names at the top.

Well, since this is an "offical" chain letter, I better answer it. Could this rumor be true? Let's see, it says that ICQ is no longer expected to be free starting 1/1/98. A quick glance at the calendar indicates that the first of the year has passed but ICQ is still free. That does seem strange, doesn't it? Still... it says it is "offical" so maybe I should forward it to everyone I know just to make certain that I "recieve" my free days and 1998 will be "completly" free for me. Oh no, what if I only have 92 people on my list? Ah, I know! I'll send it to everyone four times!

Actually, that would be a very bad idea. The people on my list would probably send me this page's URL back... four times. This is obviously a false rumor and anyone who forwards it needs to get a calendar and a spell checker, not to mention a clue!
(R64)

Don't be mad at me and send me annoying messages but....
THIS TIME ITS REAL!!!!! I RECEIVED A RESPONSE EMAIL WHEN I ASKED!!!!!!!
ICQ WILL BE BILLING EVERYONE $45 A YEAR, EXCEPT FOR THOSE WHO SEND THIS MESSAGE, SO THAT WE KNOW WHO TO TERMINATE AND WHO IS ACTUALLY USING ICQ. PLEASE SEND THIS TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST.

Since you asked so nicely I won't be annoyed by your annoying message. So it is real this time because of an alleged letter from Mirabilis, eh? How nice of them to keep this information from the rest of us by saying something completely different on their homepage, but allowing you and your friends who forward this message to use ICQ for free. I'm very happy for you. Oh, by the way, InterNIC just sent me an e-mail saying I now control the Internet and I'm going to charge everyone who sends this message an extra $45 a year. Sorry, there is just no escaping it. One other note, if you read that message carefully it seems to imply that only accounts that are inactive and get terminated will be charged. Now THERE'S a marketing strategy! (R65)

New version of ICQ (I seek you) - v2 released Dec 1997
Offers among other things: Daemons for web and ftp, IRC and PowWow server compabilities, Video and Audio talk.
NOTE:
a. Old ICQ network is to be preserved,
b. Version two, being now renamed to PowerSeek will be FREE to ALL old members who forward this message.
WELL LETS GET IT ON !!!

Wow! New name, version number, even a release date. I could almost believe it, until getting to the part about it being "FREE to ALL old members who forward this message." That is where it falls apart. They have no reason to put a condition like that on a new service. In fact, that is just the thing they are trying to discourage. Any announcements will come directly from Mirabilis. While there is a new upgrade floating around the net, it is not exactly "PowerSeek." (R66)


 Final Thoughts
You didn't really read both the Original ICQ Lies page and this one, did you? That is a lot of reading, my friend. I hope you enjoyed your visit and have come away with a better understanding of some of the nonsense that is finding its way around the net. For a more in-depth look at rumors, viruses and Mirabilis, please sign-up for my Rumor Update Newsletter.
I plan to send out an issue about once every month (I also plan to join Procrastinators Anonymous... someday *wink*).

Thanks again for visiting, hope you'll come back for more next month.

C'yaz!


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