Rikaitch recently wrote a post for his marvellous blog on rubbish fake virus warning that you receive every now and then from well-meaning colleagues, friends or family.
Blissfully lacking web experience, they'll forward virtually every single email they get with such subject lines as FWD: FWD RE: FWD: READ THIS!!! NOT A JOKE!!!!!
"You know," I said to Rik, "I think I've got a genuine antique, mate."
And so I went in search, trawling through my mailbox, and there, in a darkened corner, amongst the files migrated from two previous changes to my work address was this little number:
SUBJ: HUM: "Free Money" FAKE Virus (***)The date on this piece of internet gold: 23rd March 1997. Some poor bloody email server's (not to mention its dad, and quite possibly its granddad) been storing this mail for well over a decade, consuming needless electricity generated from trees HACKED from VIRGIN Brazilian rainforests. This joke email has been sitting there, slowly killing the planet, and it is MY FAULT.
There is a computer virus that is being sent across the Internet. If you receive an e-mail message with the subject line "Free Money," DO NOT read the message. DELETE it immediately, UNPLUG your computer, then BURN IT to ASHES in a government-approved toxic waste disposal INCINERATOR.
Once a computer is infected, it will be TOO LATE. Your computer will begin to emit a vile ODOUR. Then it will secrete a foul, milky DISCHARGE. Verily, it shall SCREECH with the tortured, monitor-shattering SCREAM of 1,000 hell-scorched souls, drawing unwanted attention to your cubicle from co-workers and supervisors alike. After violently ripping itself from the wall, your computer will punch through your office window as it STREAKS into the night, HOWLING like a BANSHEE. Once free, it will spend the rest of its days TORTURING household PETS and MOCKING the POPE.
Some filthy, disgusting miscreant ... some no-good, low-down, good-for-nothing DIRTY SNAKE, in twisted pursuit of her own sadistic dreams, is sending this virus across the Net via an e- mail entitled "Free Money." What is so terrifying about this virus is that you do not even to have to open the e-mail for it to activate. In fact, you do not even need to RECEIVE the e- mail. You do not even need to OWN a COMPUTER. "Free Money" can infect even minor HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES.
How it does this with straight ASCII code is, frankly, a matter of some debate ... but BELIEVE YOU US, if this weren't a SERIOUS situation, we wouldn't be discussing it in ALL CAPS.
So for the LOVE OF GOD, forward this e-mail to all those you claim to care about, all those you purport to love. Don't do it later! Do it NOW! Now! Now! NOW! NOW! NOW!
Also in my antique joke file I've also got the original Evil Overlord list (2nd September 1997) a genuine Good Times virus warning (10th May 1997) and a list of stupid product warnings ("On a bar of soap: Use like regular soap" - Oh, the ROFFLES) from November 1998. It's far, far too late to delete them - the council's come in and now they're Grade II listed buildings.
Luckily, this folder redeems itself with some genuine gems - the official Best Joke In the World - Death or Bulunga (1st Feb 2000), Family Fortunes (20th June 2000) and the first recorded instance of a Scaryduck Tale of Mirth and Woe, sent at 1337 o'clock on 9th April 2000.
Time, then, for an antique email amnesty. What's the oldest email in your possession, and what's your excuse, PLANET MURDERER.