MP3 Virus is a Hoax

By Robert Menta - 6/29/01

The e-mail, released yesterday, warned of the danger due to strike on the 4th of July:

Music fans around the planet will receive a shocking surprise on their computers on American Independence Day ‹July 4) but only if they have downloaded unauthorised songs from Napster, Gnutella or other file swapping applications on the Internet. On that day, those who have downloaded any of 500 most popular songs planted on the Internet with an imbedded hybrid virus¹ will find their illicit music unusable and their computers frozen due to the timed release of this bomb.

Disgruntled musicians who were being deprived of a living "by those companies that proliferate free file-swapping of songs and the users who blithely shoplift songs via the Internet" allegedly planted the virus, called MusicPanel. The only protection the group claims is "removal of the illicit songs from hard drives."

Fortunately, since MP3 files can't execute by themselves it is not possible to infect them with computer viruses. The post is nothing more than a practical joke. Of course, not everybody knows that, especially the casual, non-tech savvy collector of Net tunes vulnerable to these gags.

The prank was posted through an Australian service provider to three Usenet groups. It was met with skepticism by most, but nonetheless may have unduly alarmed some.

So if you see a chicken-little running around the office, don't let them linger too long. If you are interested in reading the original post, you can find it here.

 


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