Message circulating via social media warns users not to add somebody called “SMARTGRRL15” to their friend list because it is a virus.
The message is a hoax. It is just one more in a long line of very similar hoaxes that falsely claim that you can get a virus just by adding someone to your contact list. It is not possible for your computer to become infected with a virus in the way described in this bogus warning. The warning is invalid and should be ignored.
This message, which is once again rocketing around Facebook and other social networks, warns users not to add a contact called “Smartgrrl15” to their friend list because “it is a virus”. The warning suggests that just adding “Smartgrrl15” will give your computer the virus. It also claims that you will get the virus even if other people on your contact list add the name. The message asks recipients to pass it on as a warning to other users and includes the claim that the warning has been “confirmed by FB”.
However, there is no truth to the claims in this warning message. The virus infection method described in the warning is technically infeasible. Your computer cannot get infected with a virus just because you add someone to your contact list. Moreover, the claims in the warning certainly have not been confirmed by Facebook.
In fact, the message is just one version of a long running series of silly hoaxes that have been passed around since at least 2004. New versions of the hoax that feature different names as the supposed virus contact continue to emerge. All make the nonsensical claim that you can get a virus just by adding a name to your contact list. None have any basis in fact. Many earlier versions circulated via email and MSN Messenger. Latter day variants have migrated to Facebook, Twitter and other social websites.
The “Smartgrrl15” variant itself has a long and sorry history. The hoax has been discussed on various websites for several years. Sophos security expert Graham Cluley notes that a version of the “Smartgrrl15” variant was posted on MySpace as far back as 2006. The hoax also enjoyed a resurgence in mid 2010, when it again circulated widely via Facebook and other media. And “Smartgrrl15” made an unwarranted guest appearance in the following garbled warning about the Koobface worm:
ATTENTION!!!!!!-Virus spreading like wildfire on Facebook!!
It is a Trojan worm called “Knob Face”. It will steal your info, invade your system and shut it down! DO NOT open the link “Barack Obama Clinton scandal”. If “Smartgirl 15” adds you, don’t accept it; it is a virus. If somebody on your list adds her then you will get the virus, too!! Copy and paste to your wall please!!
Koobface is a genuine threat, but the above “Knob Face” message is far too inaccurate and misleading to have any value as a warning about the worm.
As well as these virus warning hoaxes, a whole series of related “hacker warning” hoaxes are also circulating. The hacker versions falsely claim that you can inadvertently allow a hacker to take control of your computer just by adding him or her to your contact list.
Over the last few years, there has been a seemingly endless string of these pointless virus and hacker warnings circulating in various formats. Passing them on will do nothing other than spread misinformation and clutter networks and inboxes with even more pointless nonsense. If you receive one of these hoaxes, please do not pass it on to other users.