Is the virus warning about a hacker called Simon Ashton real?
Scary things are threatened to those who open a 'Mail Server Report'. But what would really happen?
I received a virus warning from someone I trust which says that "If a person called simon ashton (firstname.lastname@example.org ) contacts you through email, don't open the message. delete it because he is a hacker!" and that I should "Tell everyone on your list because if somebody on your list adds him then you will get him on your list. he will figure out your id computer address, so copy and paste this message to everyone even if you don't care for them and fast because if he hacks their email he hacks your mail too!"
It also says I may receive an apparently harmless email titled 'Mail Server Report' but that "If you open either file, a message will appear on your screen saying: 'It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful.'"
Should I send this message on to warn my friends?
The old ones really are the best. Nobody knows quite what Simon Ashton did to deserve this notoriety (or fame), but this is just one of a long-running series of internet hoaxes which try to bamboozle people into re-sending messages to everyone in their contacts books.
So no, don't send it. Instead, gently send your friend a link to this post.
This particular variant seems to have taken on new life lately (even Sophos's finance department was moved enough to go and ask the in-house expert Graham Cluley), but as Hoax Slayer points out, it's not less fake than the first time it started doing the rounds - probably in 1995 with variations every year since.
When you get emails like this, the best thing to do is not immediately hit the Forward button. Use a search engine instead: plug a few of the words into the search query and see what comes up. It can save a lot of embarrassment later.
Monday, 6 February 2012
Is the virus warning about a hacker called Simon Ashton real? | Technology | guardian.co.uk