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Power Line Virus (Joke)

by Brett M. Christensen

Circulating message warns about a damaging computer virus that travels through power lines.

Joke (Satire)

Subj: VIRUS ALERT Status: PUBLIC MESSAGEWarning: There’s a new virus on the loose that’s worse than anything I’ve seen before! It gets in through the power line, riding on the powerline 60 Hz subcarrier. It works by changing the serial port pinouts, and by reversing the direction one’s disks spin. Over 300,000 systems have been hit by it here in Murphy, West Dakota, alone! And that’s just in the last 12 minutes.

It attacks DOS, Unix, TOPS-20, Apple-II, VMS, MVS, Multics, Mac, RSX-11, ITS, TRS-80, and VHS systems.

To prevent the spread of the worm:

1) Don’t use the powerline.
2) Don’t use batteries either, since there are rumours that this virus has invaded most major battery plants, and is infecting the positive poles of the batteries. (You might try hooking up just the negative pole.)

3) Don’t upload or delete or download files.

4) Don’t store files on floppy disks or hard disks.

5) Don’t read messages. No, not even this one!

6) Don’t use serial ports, toasters, modems, or phone lines.

7) Don’t use keyboards, screens, electric toothbrushes, or printers.

8) Don’t use switches, CPUs, memories, microprocessors, or mainframes.

9) Don’t use electric lights, electric or gas heat, or airconditioning, running water, vibrators, writing, fire, clothing, or the wheel.

I’m sure if we are all careful to follow these 9 easy steps, this virus can be eradicated, and the precious electronic fluids of our computers can be kept pure.

Detailed Analysis:
This rather harmless message is designed to make fun of the dire virus hoaxes that often circulate. Perhaps if recipients get a laugh out of reading this satirical “Virus Alert” email, they will be less likely to believe and forward the next “serious” virus hoax that crosses their inboxes.

Unfortunately, if past experience is anything to go by, some will afford the email only the most cursory of examinations before forwarding it to all in their address book in the belief that it is a legitimate warning.

Any virus warning that arrives via email should ideally be verified at a reputable anti-virus or anti-hoax website before being forwarded to others.

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,