I’ve noticed that I receive fewer chain emails these days. The late ’90’s seemed, to me, to include a lot more of these forwarded beasties. It got so bad that by ’99 I had created a web page just to describe how unlikely the hoaxes were that went with them. When I received a chain email from a friend or acquaintance instead of forwarding it on I would reply with a link to that web page.
That page is long gone, and I thought I didn’t need it anymore – my family and circle of friends have been trained as to my automatic response to chain email. They get a polite written lecture from me, and who needs that?
But my circle of friends is always growing, at least a little. And this week I’ve received two emails of the chain variety. I also have a couple of friends who forward me the chain email that they get, just to get my reaction, or to get my opinion on the veracity of the material. Today one of those people sent me the AOL / Bill Gates email tracker – definitely a classic. It is definitely time to recreate my chain – email page.
So, if I’ve pointed you to this blog entry, then I want you to know that you’ve been manipulated into forwarding an email that you honestly believed that I needed, or wanted, to read. Your emotions have been used against you to circumvent your intellect. The chain email that you received has infected you, and by appealing to your emotions it has in a way programmed you to forward it on to me and others.
A virus could be described as a set of instructions wrapped in a protective coating that doubles as a delivery mechanism. When a virus comes in contact with an undefended host, it infects that host with instructions that cause the host to replicate the original virus.
Chain emails are a type of virus. They are wrapped in a protective email that doubles as a delivery system. When they come into contact with an undefended host (an unsuspecting human) they cause that host to replicate the original chain email.
Thus, chain emails are a specific type of computer virus that requires and infects human hosts in order to reproduce. A human host is necessary for their life cycle!
Please be aware of emails that play on your greed, fear, grief, and political or religious interests. They are manipulating you into passing them on. Knowing that you are being manipulated in this way is half of the battle of overcoming this sort of infection.
The proper defense against these types of computer virus is an inoculation of knowledge.