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The Great Year 2003 Bug

Email hoax

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A chain letter being distributed via email today bizarrely predicts that the Internet will stop working on Monday.

The email claims that the so-called "Year 2003 Bug" was discovered on 23 February, and that essential Internet equipment will be triggered to stop working on the 030303 date.

According to the chain letter "No one can predict how much and how long the outage could be for. Even the experts have disagreed on the time length, some saying 24 hours, others suggesting it could be until network administrators patch the firmware."

Of course the claims are complete nonsense. There is no Internet time bomb, and we confidently predict Internet traffic will continue to flow as normal come Monday.

Despite the bizarre nature of the claims, a few gullible souls are forwarding the dire warning to their friends. AV firm Sophos which alerted us to the hoax spotted the chain letter today and reports a few calls and reports on the subject.

Sophos gets more calls about hoaxes than vreal viruses from concerned punters, the company tells us.

"Hoaxes and chain letters like this feed on computer users' fear and lack of knowledge of technical issues," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "Unfortunately many people will innocently pass it onto their friends and colleagues believing that they are being helpful. However, like many things you may read on the Web, it is utter codswallop."

Full details of the 030303 chain letter can be found here.

More information about hoaxes in general can be found on the Sophos' Web site here, or at Rob Rosenberger's Vmyths.com. ®

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