Why you shouldn’t forward the “Invitation FACEBOOK – Olympic Torch” chain letter

Olympic TorchPlease don’t forward an email to all your friends just because it asks you to.

You shouldn’t forward chain letters even if they’re true. You definitely shouldn’t forward them if they’re false.

And the latest false warning doing the rounds is a perennial hoax – the so-called Invitation FACEBOOK/Olympic Torch virus warning.

The opening of the 2012 Olympics in London seems to have given this one a new lease of life (we’ve seen it intermittently for more than six years):


In the coming days, you should be aware.....Do not open any message with an attachment called: Invitation FACEBOOK, regardless of who sent it. It is a virus that opens an OlympIc torch that burns the whole hard disc C of your computer.

This virus will be received from someone you had in your address book. That's why you should send this message to all your contacts. It is better to receive this email 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive an email called: Invitation FACEBOOK, though sent by a friend, do not open it and delete it immediately. It is the worst virus announced by CNN.

A new virus has been discovered recently that has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. It is a Trojan Horse that asks you to install an adobe flash plug-in. Once you install it, it's all over. And there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information of their function is saved.



There are some tiny grains of truth in this chain letter that might make you think that it’s better to forward it than to delete it.

A lot of malware, for example, asks you to install a bogus Adobe Flash plugin. And malware does exist which writes to the zero sector, also known as the Master Boot Record. (Such malware can be trickier than usual to remove, but doesn’t automatically mean “it’s all over”, as claimed.)

This chain letter as a whole, however, is a load of rot.

Ironically, the biggest piece of rot in the email is the claim that SNOPES SAYS THIS IS TRUE.

The link to Snopes – a well-known source of anti-hoax information – is legitimate, but says exactly the opposite, confirming that the email is false:

This morning Naked Security received a copy of this hoax that had been forwarded seven times, counting the last hop to us. It included nearly 100 names and email addresses in the many To: and Cc: fields it had accumulated along the way.

That means that those 100 email addresses are now lying around on 100 PCs where they might be scooped up by real malware, sent off to cybercrooks, and sold on to spammers and scammers.

In short, by distributing this hoax widely, you may end up helping the bad guys – the very opposite of what you intended.

So, please, think before you click. And if you’re not sure, click “delete”, not “forward”.

If you want to learn about the real threats on Facebook, why not join the Sophos Facebook page, where we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest rogue applications, scams and malware attacks threatening social network users?