Virus a Hoax (and fwd)

Gail R. Harris (cpsgrhx@gsusgi2.Gsu.EDU)
Fri, 28 Apr 1995 12:16:51 -0400 (EDT)

To all pcp-ers,

The virus scare, which circulated the Internet ad nauseam last December,
is a hoax. Please see the following.

Gail Harris

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 1995 13:44:53 -0400
Subject: *** LIST ADMINISTRIVIA: Virus Scare Warning ***

A message has been making the rounds of the Internet, claiming that a virus
called "Good Times" is being distributed by an unnamed America Online member.
This virus, which is allegedly being transmitted in plaintext, has the
unbelievable ability to destroy hard drives, send CPUs into death knells and
propagate itself by co-opting mail systems.

This scare is similar to one which made the rounds of the Internet about six
months ago, also claiming that a virus called "Good Times" was being
distributed by e-mail. To the best of our knowledge, this simply is not

For the message now being distributed to be true, the viral code would have
to be in plaintext ASCII and somehow know how to:

(1) propagate itself by coopting dozens of different mail systems
(2) activate itself on a wide variety of computers (VM, VMS, *NIX, DOS,
Windows, Mac, et cetera)
(3) erase the file systems on this same variety of computers (Windows NT,
OS/2, Mac, *NIX, VMS, VM, etc.)
(4) throw CPUs into a "loop" which would eventually disable the system.

This would all have to be written -- again, in ASCII -- within the constraints
of an outgoing mail message from AOL, which is presently a maximum of 32k.

What is most likely the -real- cause of this scare is a chain letter titled
"Good Times", which has been floating around the Internet and online services
for several years. As the Internet is opened up to larger populations of
"average people", chain letters are increasingly becoming a problem. It's
entirely possible that the original "Good Times" scare was nothing more than
an advisory intended to stop the spread of the chain letter. Unfortunately,
as with many rumors it has grown completely out of proportion.

If you or anyone you know receives a chain letter from an America Online
member -- be it "Good Times", "MAKE MONEY FAST", or any of the dozens of
annoying variations on the theme -- forward a complete copy to Distribution of chain letters is a violation of America
Online's Terms of Service, and appropriate action will be taken to prevent
further distribution of the chain letter.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to send
mail to David O'Donnell at or