This is my other paper from EICAR 2002, co-written with Urs Gattiker (co-author with myself and Robert Slade of Viruses Revealed), based on an EICAR project.
Here’s the abstract.
Hoaxes, urban legends, spoofs, chain letters preceded the Internet but quickly adapted to the new communications media. By 1997 several conference papers and other articles addressed the issue. However, hoaxes continue to proliferate and computer users continue to react inappropriately.
More people can recognise crude hoaxes. However, the load on support staff arising from related nuisances hasn’t necessarily decreased. The focus has changed, but policies, strategies and information resources haven’t kept pace with the convergence of different email phenomena: viral marketing, spammed hoaxes, spammed viruses, and viruses which piggyback hoaxes. Increasingly, malware writers, spammers, and hoaxers use similar social engineering and mail-manipulation techniques to trick the recipient into accessing tainted resources like misleading text, infected programs, or pornographic or booby-trapped web sites.
This paper reviews identification heuristics, policies and strategies, going beyond dictionary and simple heuristic detection of hoax viruses into the context of other channels of malice and misinformation.