Wednesday, March 17, 2010

IT Security at Stake-Hoaxes and Urban Legend

We all are aware of emails that state that you should forward this message to twenty or thirty contacts more. These are known as chain letters. Most probably, you must have received them from your well-wishers or from total strangers. Chain letters can be very irritating at times, because they consume an unwanted space of the recipients' inbox folder and also the bandwidth. The recipients' time is wasted in screening through the messages and checking if it is of any use. An unnecessary fear and hype is created in the readers mind. Even more threatening is that such letters mostly mask viruses or other such malicious codes that may be downloaded by someone or the other.


There are two main types of chain letters, one is a Hoax and the other is Urban Legends. Here is brief of both.

First about hoax (plural: hoaxes) hoax is an attempt to generally fool the receiver or it is an attempt of forgery. The hoax is mostly dangerous as it could instruct the user to delete a file or stop any process claiming that it is a virus, and it is obstructing the operating system's functionality. Alternatively, it could convince the users to give in some money or his details, which the reader gives away without understanding that it is a scam. Most Phishing attacks take place using this methodology.

Now about Urban Legends, these are messages, which are bound to be regulated; this is because they are designed like that. These mostly contain a threat for the receiver as in if he or she does not forward the mail message then he might suffer from some personal or financial loss. These also promise certain rewards, if the message is relayed to some finite number of users, etc. Such messages are not much a threat, only that they use a lot of bandwidth and time.

Still, how can one differentiate between a hoax and an urban legend? Well these have certain characteristics, though each hoax or urban legend does not follow them. Still a few are typical characteristics are that it may point certain tragic results if you do not take some action after reading it or just the opposite of the earlier; it may offer rewards for doing something. At times, they may instruct you to download the attachment to get rid of some virus or similar threats. One main indication is that the content of the letter has multiple spelling mistakes and grammatical errors; it may also claim that it is not a hoax. In addition, if you look at the trail of email headers you will observe that it has been forwarded many times.


Even if you follow the headlines and do not pay attention to such threats, still the threats of viruses infesting you system are no less to combat them, you will have to use good anti-virus software to protect you computer system. To get to know more details about IT security log on to Save My System. We, at Save My System also deal in providing services regarding Data Recovery.