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Hoax Serves as Reminder to Users

The recent SULFNBK hoax virus may be a good excuse to remind users about corporate policies regarding security fixes.

The e-mail hoax warned that a new virus hidden from anti-virus software in an executable called SULFNBK would strike on June 1 and delete all files from the user's hard drive. The e-mail instructed users to search their hard drives for the file and delete it.

No such virus existed.

Effective social engineering made the hoax particularly nettlesome. First, SULFNBK is a utility that shipped in Windows 95 and Windows 98 and can be used to back up and restore long filenames. Many users who went looking for it would find it, and deleting it could cause them problems later. Second, the SULFNBK executable was actually infected by the Magistr-A virus, so more sophisticated users may have fallen for the hoax due to its air of credibility.

"Computer users regularly forward messages without considering the consequences, creating a ripple which soon becomes an e-mail tidalwave," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for anti-virus vendor Sophos.

Sophos claimed to receive hundreds of inquiries about the virus.

The problems caused by the hoax virus could serve as an effective lesson for an organization's users about why they should consult the IT department before forwarding e-mail virus warnings or attempting to diagnose and fix their own computer problems.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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