RealNews

Hotmail chain letter still tops hoax list

It’s spam! It’s a worm! It’s the No. 1 e-mail hoax for nine months running! Actually, it’s the Hotmail chain letter. Millions of Hotmail users have gotten it, continue to get it and will probably keep it clogging up mailboxes for years to come, making it just as disruptive and costly as a genuine virus. Sophos, an antivirus and antispam software vendor, has begun announcing the top reported hoaxes, as well as viruses, each month. In April, the No. 1 hoax was the Hotmail chain letter, beating out the “Bill Gates fortune” and the “Budweiser frogs screensaver” for most prevalent time-waster on the Internet. The Hotmail chain letter has been around since at least December 1999. It originally warned recipients that Hotmail was “deleting all inactive users accounts” unless the user would “forward this on to at least 10 registered Hotmail users.” Subsequent variations have upped the required number of forwards to 15 and 20, hinted at free new features and targeted Yahoo e-mail and AOL instant messaging customers. All versions feature common misspellings, grammatical errors and odd word choices that Microsoft would be unlikely to send to customers. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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