The boy who cried worm

Friday, 10 May 2002, 12:56 AM EST

Many have learnt the hard way but, on the whole, companies have now woken up to the dangers of virus infection and have taken appropriate action.

The bad news is that computer viruses are not the only internet nasties capable of confusing users and injuring corporate reputations. We are now seeing critters that anti-virus software simply cannot detect and protect against. The problem? The humble hoax.

The much publicised "Budweiser Frogs" and "A virtual card for you" scares are typical of hoax emails as they warn of a supposed new virus. These hoaxes are generally easy to spot as the "virus" they describe is usually of epidemic proportions, able to evade all anti-virus software, and has a highly damaging (and sometimes implausible) payload.

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