Slaying The Internet Hoaxes

One of the things you quickly learn about the Internet is that it is full of hoaxes. Things like the following that arrived on my Facebook feed this morning :-

Whilst it is fairly easy to see that this one is a hoax, some are more sophisticated. But if someone posts something like this and you read it, you perhaps need to verify the information before changing your behaviour.

The trick is to search for information about what it contains … this hoax warns about calling numbers beginning with “0809”, so search for that string. The very first few results are links to pages containing information about this hoax confirming that it is a hoax.

And the very first link takes you to a site dedicated to de-bunking Internet hoaxes – which makes a good link to add as a comment to a hoax posting on Facebook.

Whilst not directly related to security, this does introduce the concept of trust – you should not believe everything you read. Even in messages from people you know :-

  1. They could be mistaken about the risk. Especially if they are not experts in the subject – many people pass along warnings about things without taking due care to verify the information.
  2. The message may look to be from the person you know, but it could in fact be forged.

In short, if you have any doubts about a warning, check it with independent sources.



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