Viruses are apparently a hoax
From: Stuart Staniford-Chen (
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 94 20:35 CST

             U.S. DOE's Computer Incident Advisory Capability
           ___  __ __    _     ___           __  __ __   __   __
          /       |     /_\   /       |\ |  /  \   |    |_   /_
          \___  __|__  /   \  \___    | \|  \__/   |    |__  __/

Number 94-04                                                December 6, 1994

 ------------------- A - T - T - E - N - T - I - O - N -------------------
|  CIAC is available 24-hours a day via its two skypage numbers.  To use  |
|  this service, dial 1-800-759-7243.  The PIN numbers are: 8550070 (for  |
|  the CIAC duty person) and 8550074 (for the CIAC manager).  Please keep |
|  these numbers handy.                                                   |

Welcome to the fourth issue of CIAC Notes!  This is a special edition to
clear up recent reports of a "good times" virus-hoax.  Let us know if you
have topics you would like addressed or have feedback on what is useful and
what is not.  Please contact the editor, Allan L. Van Lehn, CIAC,
510-422-8193 or send E-mail to ciac [at] 

  $ Reference to any specific commercial product does not necessarily   $
  $ constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by  $
  $ CIAC, the University of California, or the United States Government.$


In the early part of December, CIAC started to receive information requests
about a supposed "virus" which could be contracted via America OnLine, simply
by reading a message.  The following is the message that CIAC received: 

| Here is some important information. Beware of a file called Goodtimes.    |
|                                                                           |
|  Happy Chanukah everyone, and be careful out there. There is a virus on   |
| America Online being sent by E-Mail.  If you get anything called "Good    |
| Times", DON'T read it or download it.  It is a virus that will erase your |
| hard drive.  Forward this to all your friends.  It may help them a lot.   |

THIS IS A HOAX.  Upon investigation, CIAC has determined that this message
originated from both a user of America Online and a student at a university
at approximately the same time, and it was meant to be a hoax. 

CIAC has also seen other variations of this hoax, the main one is that any
electronic mail message with the subject line of "xxx-1" will infect your

This rumor has been spreading very widely.  This spread is due mainly to the
fact that many people have seen a message with "Good Times" in the header. 
They delete the message without reading it, thus believing that they have
saved themselves from being attacked. These first-hand reports give a false
sense of credibility to the alert message. 

There has been one confirmation of a person who received a message with
"xxx-1" in the header, but an empty message body.  Then, (in a panic, because
he had heard the alert), he checked his PC for viruses (the first time he
checked his machine in months) and found a pre-existing virus on his machine.
 He incorrectly came to the conclusion that the E-mail message gave him the
virus (this particular virus could NOT POSSIBLY have spread via an E-mail
message).  This person then spread his alert. 

As of this date, there are no known viruses which can infect merely through
reading a mail message.  For a virus to spread some program must be executed.
Reading a mail message does not execute the mail message.  Yes, Trojans have
been found as executable attachments to mail messages, the most notorious
being the IBM VM Christmas Card Trojan of 1987, also the TERM MODULE Worm
(reference CIAC Bulletin B-7) and the GAME2 MODULE Worm (CIAC Bulletin B-12).
 But this is not the case for this particular "virus" alert. 

If you encounter this message being distributed on any mailing lists, simply
ignore it or send a follow-up message stating that this is a false rumor. 

Karyn Pichnarczyk
ciac [at]

Contacting CIAC

If you require additional assistance or wish to report a vulnerability, call
CIAC at 510-422-8193, fax messages to 510-423-8002 or send E-mail to
ciac [at]  For emergencies and off-hour assistance, call 
(759-7243) and enter PIN number 8550070 (primary) or 8550074 (secondary). 

Stuart Staniford-Chen           |       Dept of Computer Science
stanifor [at]            |       UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616
(916) 752-2149  - work          |               and
(916) 756-8697  - home          |       N St. Cohousing Community
Home page is
  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.