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AOL.EXE Joke/hoax
Should be called the "What a Jerk" Hoax
 
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Consumed with his own interpretation of humor, Ray Owens, the owner of the Joke A Day mailing list, decided to play a spiteful trick on his readers. Taking his cue from the hysteria created by the SULFNBK.EXE hoax, Ray thought it might be funny to compose a similar warning - this time telling people to locate and delete the AOL.EXE file, claiming it was a virus. Complaining that AOL users were the "the absolute stupidest people", Ray created his joke and sent it out on two separate mailing to his list subscribers. Rather than incorporating a bit of humanity and realizing that not all people have achieved the same level of computer savvy as he, Ray then blasted the unfortunate novices who believed the hoax and deleted the file. Shame on you, Ray.

The "joke" Ray sent follows:

Pay attention:

VIRUS WARNING!!!

It has been brought to my attention that there's an insidious new computer virus which has already affected close to 30 million computers.

Even though I'm running the latest McAfee and Norton viri scans, neither have picked up this virus as it's a mutating virus which isn't set to go off until Friday, June 8, 2001.

As many viri are, this one is transmitted by email. I'm required by law to contact everyone that has received email from me in the last six months and warn them about this virus.

TO REMOVE THIS VIRUS BEFORE IT BECOMES EFFECTIVE:

** Click your start button.
** Click on "Find".
** Click on Files / Folders.
** Change the "look in" input box to "My Computer".
** The named input file should have: AOL.EXE

Once the find engine has located the file, highlight it and press the delete button.

Deleting this file will fix a damaged 30 megabyte area of your hard drive and restore it to full functionality.

WARNING: KEEPING THIS FILE ON THE SYSTEM AFTER JUNE 8 WILL COST YOU $2.90 MORE PER MONTH!

FAILURE TO REMOVE THIS FILE WILL KEEP YOUR "UPPER MEMORY MANAGEMENT" MODULE OF YOUR INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT (IQ OVER 85) BLOCKED. DELETING AOL.EXE WILL FREE YOUR IQ TO GO ABOVE 85!!!

DELETING THIS FILE WILL ALLOW YOU TO SPELL CORRECTLY AND USE THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROPERLY.

BADLY INFECTED SYSTEMS (I.E., SYSTEMS THAT HAVE DESTROYED YOUR ABILITY TO FOLLOW THE SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE) CAN HAVE THE VIRUS REMOVED BY TELEPHONE. CALL 1-888-265-8008 AND TELL THE OPERATOR TO CANCEL THE VIRUS. THE OPERATOR WILL DEACTIVATE THE VIRUS FROM THEIR END.

TECHNICAL NOTE: YOU **MUST** EXPLAIN TO THE OPERATOR YOU'RE ATTEMPTING TO DEACTIVATE THE AOL.EXE VIRUS. THE TECHNICAL SUPPORT OFFICE YOU'RE TALKING TO IS EXTREMELY PROFESSIONALLY EMBARRASSED BY UNLEASHING THIS VIRUS ON THE WORLD AND WILL DELAY DEACTIVATING IT. FOR LEGAL REASONS, THEY MAY EVEN *DENY* THE EXISTENCE OF THE AOL.EXE VIRUS. DON'T FALL FOR THEIR STORY!

Ray's follow up comments defend his actions, scoffing at AOL users as the "clueless teeming millions who have absolutely no business anywhere near a computer or on the Internet." Careful, Ray. Remember, what goes around, comes around.

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