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Christopher Butterfield Hacker Warning Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Message warns that a person named Christopher Butterfield is a hacker and that simply accepting a friend request from him will allow him to hack your computer.


Brief Analysis:
The message is a very old hoax.  There are no credible reports about such a hacker.  Moreover, hackers cannot access your computer in the way described.

Example:
Subject: this is real

DO NOT ACCEPT a friend request from a CHRISTOPHER BUTTERFIELD he is a hacker. Tell everyone on your list because if somebody on your list adds him u get him on your list too and he’ll figure out ur computer’s ID and address, so copy and paste this message to everyone even if u don’t care for them cause if he hacks their email he hacks your mail too! SEND TO ALL FRIENDS. Copy and paste to ur page…

Detailed Analysis:
According to this warning message, a hacker named “Christopher Butterfield” is currently active. The message warns that simply accepting a friend request from Christopher Butterfield will allow him to hack into your computer and gain access to your email account. The warning is circulating rapidly via social networking websites such as Facebook as well as via email.

This warning is a hoax and has no basis in fact. It is nothing more than a new variant in a seemingly endless list of similar hoaxes. A number of versions of the hoax have circulated over the last decade, including one that claims that a person named Simon Ashton was the supposed hacker. A 2007 version, which is very similar to the Christopher Butterfield version above, claimed that adding the email address “bum_tnoo7@hotmail.com” will allow a hacker to take control of your computer. The following example shows the similarities between the two versions:

if somebody called bum_tnoo7@hotmail.com adds you don’t accept it because its a hacker. Tell everyone on your list because if somebody on your list adds them you get them on your list he’ll figure out Your ID, computer address, so copy and paste this message to everyone even if you hate them and fast cause if he hacks their email he hacks your mail



Like all of these hoax warnings, the Christopher Butterfield version is technically impossible. The message suggests that just accepting “Christopher Butterfield” as a friend on your contact list will not only give the hacker access to your computer but to the computers of everyone else on your list as well. This is total nonsense. Hackers certainly do use a range of tactics to trick users into relinquishing access to their computers. Hackers might, for example, trick victims into installing trojan software that allows a computer to be controlled remotely. Or they might use a phishing attack to trick a victim into sending them personal information such as usernames and passwords, which would, of course, allow hackers to access their victim’s account. However, even the smartest hacker will not be able to hack your computer just by being added to your contact list. For a hacking attempt to be successful, some sort of file transfer or exchange of information must take place.

Any warning message that claims that adding a contact address or accepting a friend request will, by itself, give a hacker access to your computer should be regarded as a hoax and should not be passed on to others.

Note:
In 2012, a new variant of the hoax began circulating that included the name Christopher Butterfield along with the names Tanner Dwyer, Stefania Colac or Alejando Spiljner. You can read about this version of the hoax here:
Tanner Dwyer Friend Request Hacker Hoax


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,
Hoax-Slayer