Home Archive Bin-Laden and Olympic Torch Virus Warning Hoax

Bin-Laden and Olympic Torch Virus Warning Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

This story was first published on June 23rd, 2006

This “virus warning” combines two earlier email forwards that have circulated widely as completely separate messages. 

The first part of the message claims that an email about the supposed capture and hanging of Osama Bin Laden contains a dangerous virus that will seriously damage your computer. While the Bin Laden tactic has actually been used in the past to distribute malware, the warning is highly exaggerated and significantly outdated.

The second part of the message claims that an email with the subject line “Invitation” carries a virus that can open an “Olympic Torch” that will destroy the hard-drive of the infected computer. However, this claim is totally unfounded. There is not, nor has there ever been, a virus like the one described in the second part of the message. This part of the message is simply a reworking of an even older virus hoax.

The message contains false and misleading information and it should not be forwarded. Before forwarding any virus warning email, always take the time to check the veracity of the claims in the message at a reputable anti-virus or anti-hoax website. Sending warning messages about non-existent viruses or messages that distort the truth about real viruses is entirely counterproductive and only adds to the ongoing problems caused by computer security threats.

An example of the hoax:

Emails with pictures of Osama Bin-Laden hanged are being sent and the moment that you open these emails your computer will crash and you will not be able to fix it!

This e-mail is being distributed through countries around the globe, but mainly in the US and Israel.

Don’t be inconsiderate; send this warning to whomever you know.

If you get an email along the lines of “Osama Bin Laden Captured” or “Osama Hanged” don’t open the attachment.

Please read the attached warning issued today.


You should be alert during the next days:

Do not open any message with an attached filed called “Invitation” regardless of who sent it .

It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which “burns” the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list, that is why you should send this e-mail to all your contacts. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive a mail called “invitation”, though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately.

This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.


Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,