Definition: virus hoaxes
Phony virus warnings delivered via email just to upset as many people as possible. Considering the speed with which messages can be copied and sent electronically, once a virus hoax gets started, it can traverse the world in minutes. Hoaxes such as the Good Times virus tell people that if they open their email, their hard drives will be erased or some such catastrophe will occur.
Just Go Ahead and Delete a File
Another popular hoax is to send an email message to Windows users telling them that a particular file has been downloaded into their computers along with instructions for deleting it. However, the files are actually valid Windows components, such as SULFNBK.EXE and JDBGMGR.EXE, which may be required and have to be re-installed.
Is it a Hoax or Not?
Antivirus vendors such as McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro maintain lists of virus hoaxes as do some websites such as Snopes.com. The Computer Incident Advisory Capability (CIAC) within the U.S. Department of Energy maintained a list of virus hoaxes for 13 years before discontinuing it.