7-28 December, 1994
Number of articles: 5
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Anders Sandberg)
Subject: Virus meme
Date: 07 Dec 1994 11:05:04 GMT
Found this on the extropian mailing list. Note the quite obvious memetic
implications of computer viruses, warning messages about them and latter
meta-messages about the concept. The Net is a very rich memetic environment
with fast evolution.
>From: email@example.com (Gregory Sullivan)
>Date: Mon, 05 Dec 94 22:11:28 EST
>Subject: [#94-12-194] VIRUS: Possible AOL virus
>>I just received the following message from my cousin:
>>"There is a virus on America Online being sent by E-Mail. If you get
>>anything called "Good Times", DON'T read it or download it. It is a
>>virus that will erase your hard drive. Forward this to all your
>>friends. It may help them alot."
>The forwarding of this message has caused another instance of viral
>transmission to occur. The forwarded message may be a benign `accurate
>information' virus designed to disrupt the propagation of another malignant
>virus. Alternatively, it might be a `bogus information' virus started to
>irritate and waste resources. The warning "DON'T read it or download it."
>sounds like hyperbole since viruses rarely cause damage when read or
>downloaded. The phrase "Forward this to all your friends. It may help them
>alot." is perfect for viral transmission. If someone finds out what kind of
>virus this really is I would be interested to know. gfs
Subject: "e:mail virus alert" chain letter
From: IT@BRM.co.il (Ilya Tsindlekht)
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 1994 13:57:25 GMT
BETTER BE SAFE THAN SORRY!!!!
> Be Aware! A new Virus is Here!
>There seems to be a virus, being transferred, when you get a
>>Subject: INTERNET VIRUS
>>Thought you might like to know...
>>There is a virus on America Online being sent by E-Mail. If you get
>>called "Good Times", DON'T read it or download it. It is a virus
>>erase your hard drive. Forward this to all your friends. It may help
them a lot.
The quoted message is obviously a successful human-assisted virus itself.
Note that it is theoretically impossible to get a computer system infected
by downloading or reading anything - you need to *execute* infected code
to be infected.
Apparently,many people have been trolled to distribute this message.
Subject: Re: Virus meme
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Anders Sandberg)
Date: 08 Dec 1994 12:09:46 GMT
William J. Beaty wrote:
>The "Good Times" warning has GOT to be an engineered meme. There are too
>many crazy meme-hobbyists out there! Right after I saw the warning, I saw
>another one warning against email virus called XXX1. This implies that
>"XXX1" and "Good Times" are now out there competing for attention and
The Net is such a fun place, memetic ecology and evolution by your fingertips!
A similar case of mutating, fast-spreading memes with similar themes was the
flurry of rumors that Robert Anton Wilson had died which spread last year.
To make matters more confusing, his co-worker Shea died around then, and
both memes recombined and spread. The fascinating thing was that even long
after the main epidemics had ebbed, there were people who reposted the meme
without knowing about its falsity (someone proposed wiring an EKG to Wilson
and link it to the net, so that his state could be measured at all times).
And now we have yet another meme, the meta-meme pointing out the spread of
both these memes and itself.
>Makes me want to get out there and warn everyone about the email virus
>called "xxyy." Or the horrible virus called "mutation check code:1101001"
>Or the evil strain "Good Times2" with its doubled deadly-osity! It's
>only a matter of time before usenet and the listservs become choked with
>long lists of virus warnings!
There is only one thing to do: we got to warn everyone about this!
Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y
From: email@example.com (Videoshamen)
Subject: Re: Virus meme
Date: 15 Dec 1994 21:09:20 GMT
Also sprach Anders Sandberg:
:>The Net is such a fun place, memetic ecology and evolution by your fingertips!
:>A similar case of mutating, fast-spreading memes with similar themes was the
:>flurry of rumors that Robert Anton Wilson had died which spread last year.
:>To make matters more confusing, his co-worker Shea died around then, and
:>both memes recombined and spread. The fascinating thing was that even long
:>after the main epidemics had ebbed, there were people who reposted the meme
:>without knowing about its falsity (someone proposed wiring an EKG to Wilson
:>and link it to the net, so that his state could be measured at all times).
Actually I think that Mr. Wilso is responsible for the meme. In one of
his books, I think it was "Reality is Anything you can Get Away With" he
lists his own death as approxamatly around the same time that meme rumor
spread around the net.
I was struck by this because I had read the book a few months after the
meme had worked it's way around the net. I'll look it up if anyone care.
Videoshamen It's not the Buddha, it's the tv set.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Name withheld by request)
Subject: Viruses of the Mind.
Date: 28 Dec 1994 20:26:37 -0700
There was mention in the Doom.announce newsgroup of a virus,
but it turned out that the _real_ virus was the announcement itself,
which said that the virus would corrupt files on hard drives with
unregisted copies of Doom(II). This turned out not to be the case,
but the real virus (the rumor) may have served its purpose, that is
to discourage pirating.