Tag Archives: snopes

Hallmark Postcard Hoax — Disappointing.

Today I received a warning e-mail about an e-mail virus.  Immediately I responded to the sender to let me know if they get an e-mail with this attachment because it would be a nice ‘exhibit’ for my ‘virus zoo.’  To explain, I have a computer lab I’ve set up to run and test viruses (correct plural form of virus).  For anyone with interest as to why, it is the best way to understand vx problems and make resolutions.  Additionally, I just find it fun to reverse a virus and do my portion of good Samaritan duty and send any resolutions to the internet so that the virus can be fixed and therefore mitigate the ability of that virus to be destructive.

On the second read, I realized that this was ‘too good to be true’ from the perspective of a virus junkie.  Here is the e-mail with the signs of a hoax highlighted:

You  should be alert during the next few days. Do not  open any message
with an attachment  entitled  ‘POSTCARD FROM  HALLMARK,’regardless of who sent
it  to you.
It  is a virus which opens A POSTCARD  IMAGE, which ‘burns’ the
whole hard  disc C of your  computer.

This  virus will be received  from someone who has your  e-mail address in
his/her  contact list. This is  the reason why you need to send  this e-mail
to all  your contacts. It is better to  receive this  message 25 times than
to receive the  virus and  open it.

If  you receive a mail called’  POSTCARD,’ even though  sent to you by a
friend, do not  open it!
Shut down  your computer immediately. This is  the
worst virus  announced by  CNN.

It  has been classified by  Microsoft as the most  destructive virus ever.
This  virus was discovered  by McAfee yesterday, and there is  no repair yet
for this kind of virus.
This virus  simply destroys  the Zero Sector of
the Hard Disc
,  where the vital  information is  kept.

Here’s a breakdown of that e-mail.  Keep in mind this e-mail was supposedly forwarded from a group that has some decent computer knowledge (enjoy the Christmas color theme!):

  1. which ‘burns’ the whole hard  disc C of your  computer….This virus  simply destroys  the Zero Sector of
    the Hard Disc…

    • Compare these two statements.  Does this virus burn the whole hard disk or the zero sector?
    • Assuming ‘zero sector’ means the Master Boot Record (MBR), that is a small sector of your whole hard drive.
    • Have to ask yourself why just the C: drive and not the whole drive?
  2. Shut down  your computer immediately.
    • This is simply bad advice.
    • If it was a real virus, just don’t open the file and delete the e-mail.
    • On some e-mail clients, e-mail images are automatically opened which means it’s too late anyhow.
  3. This is  the worst virus  announced by  CNN…It  has been classified by  Microsoft as the most  destructive virus ever.
    • I’ll give you the ‘Blog Reader of the Day’ award if anyone can find this virus listed with these phrases from either company!
    • ‘Work Virus’ and ‘Most Destructive Virus Ever‘ seem more than extreme.
    • Frankly, there are worse viruses in the computer world that do worse than erase data on one machine.
  4. The use of ‘psuedo-technological terms’ is  a bad sign.  Refer to the first point about the ‘zero sector’ vs. hard drive issue.

So, after thinking about all of this, I did a google search for ‘hallmark postcard virus’ and without even reading articles realized that this was virus was too good to be true.  Here’s a list of the top results:

  1. Snopes.com
  2. About.com
  3. Hoax-Slayer
  4. Ezine @rticles
  5. Sophos

To be fair, a couple of those came from a search for ‘zero sector’ which resulted in finding this previously used e-mail (Does this sound familiar?):

You should be alert during the next days: Do not open any message with an attached filed called “Invitation” regardless of who sent it. It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which “burns” the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list, that is why you should send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

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

This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept. SEND THIS E-MAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW, COPY THIS E-MAIL AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS AND REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US

Now, I think it’s pretty well established that this e-mail is a hoax.  The point of this post is just to make the reader aware of the e-mail itself.  Regardless, it is important to remember to update your anti-virus software and use all due caution when opening e-mail attachments.  Several viruses do exist and reproduce in this manner and it is important to realize these consequences are real.