My Turn

'I Hate You' Virus

Andrew Minson - June 6, 2000

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

This message is being sent to warn you of a new email virus which is being reported by the National Early Virus Alert Mechanism and Organized Response Enterprise. The virus is especially insidious because it comes on the heels of the severely destructive "I Love You" virus, which caused billions of dollars worth of damage to computer systems across the world.

The new virus is a copycat, which uses many of the same mechanisms as the Love Bug. It is important that users be aware of its destructive potential. You are hereby warned not to, under any circumstances, open an email from anyone that has the subject heading, "I Hate You." If opened, the virus will infect your email software and work in the background to complete a specific ruinous operation. The "Hate Bug" virus has the potential to cause far greater harm worldwide than the Love Bug - whereas previous viruses simply destroy files or even whole drives, the new virus has the potential to destroy entire families. Reports from the field indicate the virus behaves in the following way:

Upon activation, the virus opens email software address book and sends a message to the user's mother-in-law. It is able to target the mother-in-law of the user because of a known flaw in Microsoft Outlook programming (see Tech Article MIL673X97 for details). The message to the mother-in-law contains unflattering language, is generally insulting, and contains the subject heading mentioned above. One thing about the virus that makes it especially insidious is that it is virtually impossible to determine whether or not your computer has been infected. There are no telltale signs; no files or drives are deleted. The virus's one effect on the user's computer is the immediate transmission of the email message to the mother-in-law. Once the message has been sent, the virus disappears from the computer. You will know your computer has been infected only if you receive an upset return email or telephone call from your spouse's mother. The resulting confusion and family disarray can have a far greater impact on the user's state of mind and well-being than the deletion of files or hard drives.

All major virus detection websites are advising users of PCs containing the Windows operating system to contact their mothers-in-law with reconciliatory messages - better yet, send a gift of flowers to them in order to ward off any damage the virus may have caused. Because of the virus's ability to avoid detection, the gift method of mother-in-law appeasement is the only sure way of combating this insidious virus. Unmarried users have little to fear from this new virus, although it has been reported that some users who are engaged to be married have experienced difficulty.

Please send a copy of this Virus Alert to every individual in your address book. It is especially critical that you do this if that individual is married and you know that they would like to stay that way.

Thank you,
Bud B. Downing

Andrew Minson is tired of hearing about Windows viruses, Word macro viruses, Outlook email viruses, and viruses that don't even exist (e.g., Good Times), so he invented one of his own. I this has whetted your appetite for a good virus hoax, we also recommend Gullibility Virus Spread Over Internet!

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