May 13, 2002
To: Mike J
This is a general advisory from your beloved IT director.
The warning you received regarding the supposed "teddy bear" virus "incurable" by Norton and McAfee is
simply a garden variety hoax. That email was well-intended from your
friend, but ill-intended from its originator. It's utterly false and
harmful in any case. It instructs you to delete a legitimate program Jdbgmgr.exe, the Microsoft Debugger Registrar for Java (IE). This
results in lost of certain functionalities in Java.
As I mentioned on phone, there are numerous similar hoaxes. SULFNBK.EXE
is another well-known one. Obviously, the original authors of such bogus
warnings intent to frighten and mislead the naive users.
For years, my standing recommendation and policy has been: Mere mortals
(end-users) should refrain from being self-appointed security look-outs,
or worse―remedy advisors. Leave that duty to the IT gods like me. The
reasons: The average person simply does not fully comprehend the nature
of technical matters. The fact that most of the media reports are
inaccurate and missing the main points doesn't help matters either.
Nobody had ever benefited (and never will) from a friendly tip/warning
from a friend regarding SPECIFIC threats. Majority of them are false and
harmful. What's needed is education for general vigilance against the threats
The nature of email forward is such that it's infinitely
self-perpetuating. As such, the information is by definition out-dated
and inaccurate. There's no central authority or coordination.
Email sources are unknown. The "from" address is likely spoofed and
actually sent by mass-mailing worms. Even if it's actually sent by a
friend/coworker complete w/ personalized comments, the original source
of the forward is untraceable.
-Pass on LINKS (not copies) to articles from trusted and respected
sources. Let the recipient read it first hand and use their own judgment
regarding that particular source.
-Warn about dangers in general
and educate on safe practices.
-Warn about specific threats.
-Urge them to "forward to everyone in your address book."
-Send "fix" programs via attachment, or... <Gasp>... accept them.