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TECH TIP  -  Is it a Hoax or is it Real
There are plenty of viruses, spam, spyware, adware, worms, dialers and Trojan Horses, that threaten your computer these days.  But there are also hoaxes that circulate around the internet, usually via email.  Most are harmless, but some may be a threat. 

Hereís a hoax that pops up every once in a while that may actually cause your computer harm if you fall for it.  Itís called the jdbgmgr.exe hoax  -  or sometimes called the Teddy Bear Hoax and most recently called the BlankA virus.  You receive an email from a friend that says this:

ďA virus has been passed to our computers. As your contact is in our address book, you may have received this virus from me as well.

Please see the instructions below to delete and pass on to your contacts. The virus (called jdbgmgr.exe) is not detected by Norton or McAfee or F-secure or VET anti virus systems. The virus sits quietly for 14 days before damaging the system. It's sent automatically by messenger and by the address book whether or not you send e-mails to your contacts.Ē

The hoax continues, giving you directions on how to delete a file from your system folder (jdgmgr.exe) to stop the virus and also to forward the email to everyone in your mail box.  Well, DONíT DO IT!  And donít forward the email to anyone else!  Itís a hoax!

I canít tell you how many times I have received this hoax.  I actually have a standard reply in my mailbox that I send to the person who forwarded this email to me. 

So how do you determine if a virus warning you receive in your email is a hoax or is real?  Well, thereís a very simple way to do this Ė and it takes about a minute.  Go to google.com and type the name of the hoax or type any significant word that is part of the hoax in the search box.  Click on Search Ė you will get any number of links that immediately tell you if it is a hoax or if it is real.  Youíll never fall for a hoax again!

Other hoaxes circulating the internet: 

Bill Gates Fortune Ė You can receive part of Bill Gates fortune
The Hotmail Hoax Ė Your Hotmail is about to expire Ė better act fast.

If you want to read more about hoaxes, visit this website: 
http://hoaxinfo.com

This site lists the top 10 real viruses and the top 10 hoaxes:
http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/pressrel/uk/20040430topten.html

Last  -  to avoid real viruses, donít open attachments unless you are sure who it is from and what it contains.  And have antivirus software installed on your computer - see Tech Tip: How to Stay Clear of Viruses in 2004.  And donít visits websites that are not reputable sites.  And never download software unless you are positive what it is.

BTW  -  If you actually followed the directions in the Teddy Bear Hoax and deleted the jdbgmgr.exe, donít worry - it's not critical.  Itís a file that is used primarily by developers of Java programs.  You donít even have to restore it!

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