Avoid Internet Hoaxes
Some really well-meaning friends keep sending me all sorts of warnings about viruses and various other antisocial activities. Most of these turn out to be well known as hoaxes. There are lots of very good sites out there that document both real threats and hoaxes, here are some tips and links for you to use before passing things on.
First check with the major virus alert sites. Remember, the chance that you would get a notice about a virus before these folks is very very small. If it isn't on one of these sites -- don't believe it.
The Computer Emergency Response Team
-- run by a federally funded research and development center at Carnegie Mellon University.
The Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center -- run by the US Department of Energy
United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) from the Department of Homeland Security offers both technical and non-technical information about threats.
Lists of Hoaxes
This is a good list of virus type hoaxes -- these things just keep reappearing, so even if it is new to you, it might well be on this list.
A broader class of hoaxes is Urban Legends. In general these deal with warnings of antisocial/criminal behavior not necessarily related to computers. They have a computer category.
Monitoring the Internet
Finally, if you want to see for yourself how healthy the internet is you can get current information at
The Internet Traffic Report
You need to read some of the material on this site so that you know what you are looking at.
Notice: This image is the copyrighted property of the artist -- Mark Schnaderback
Not Quite the Same topic but:
Some introductory information about computer security and hacker attacks.
this page is at http://drott.cis.drexel.edu/hoaxes.html