I originally wrote this response before September, 2002, when I decided I'd seen too much of the very REAL "Pass-it-along-without-checking-facts" virus (which infects people instead of their computers) and sat down to write a response.
Before I start, I'd like to say that you should check this for yourself... Don't take my word for it.
It pays to do a little bit of research when things come up... like searching for confirmation of urban legends that get passed around in email.
Thought you might be interested in this, following the message you received concerning the "Blush Spider" thing at airports and restaurants.
I did a search for +"Blush Spider" at AltaVista, and, as I expected, a link to ScamBusters came up. Check out this URL: http://www.scambusters.org/urban-legends/spider.html
(Following is the updated information specific to the email received this time:)
Thought you might be interested in this, following the message you received concerning the "WTC Survivor email virus".
I did a search for +"WTC Survivor" at AltaVista, and, as I expected, a link to Snopes came up. Check out this URL: http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/wtc.htm
It is a hoax.
Scambusters maintains a list of urban legends/hoxes, including two hoaxes that were passed around recently, the "Welcome to the world of AIDS/needle in theater seat" hoax, all of the "email tracking counter" email hoaxes, the "Good Times;It Takes Guts to Say Jesus;WTC Survivor; et al email virus warning" hoaxes, and the "Flashing Headlights/Gang initiation" hoax.
The Bible says that "My people perish for lack of knowledge," and it is quite obvious that our enemy, the devil, who is "roaming about, seeking whom he may devour" knows this, judging by the number of emails I get that seem to be part of a concerted effort to bring fear into our lives. He is devouring us with fear. The demon of fear is attacking people, today.
Satan wants you to be so scared, so afraid, so fearful, that you won't be able to do any work for the Lord.
There is hope, however!
The Bible says that the first step in putting on the armor of God is to gird ourselves with the Belt of Truth!!! Know the Truth!!! When you receive a rumor, pause a moment before hitting "FORWARD" and save yourself and everyone else some grief. Get online and check it out at ScamBusters. For viruses, check McAfee's web site. They keep an updated list of every known virus (And don't think a chain email will reach you before McAfee knows about the virus).
Scam Busters - http://www.scambusters.org
Snopes - http://snopes.com/
Clam Antivirus - http://www.clamav.net
Furthermore, the Bible tells us that "God has not given us a spirit of FEAR; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2Tim 1:7).
So, resist the devil!!!
Do not fear!
Sit in confidence, for God is watching out for you!
(Feel free to enlighten others by forwarding this to others.)
Let me point out something, here: "It Takes Guts To Say 'Jesus'" is actually a text with a powerful Christian message. Since it has been attacked through the use of "virus warnings", and since an almost identical "warning" is now circulating about a "WTC Survivor" email, I venture to guess that it, too, has a powerful Christian message and is being targetted for squelching in the same manner. What we have here is, in reality, a terrorist attack in a petty little box, meant only to spread fear uncertainty, and dread, and to hinder legitimate and useful activities.
I wouldn't mind expanding this page to include the following:
.. An explanation of how viruses can and cannot be trasmitted (email bodies cannot contain live viruses).
.. A collection of all the legitimate texts I can find that have been targetted by the "Good Times"-type "warnings".
.. and Links to all the hoax pages I can find.
If you'd like to help me in this venture, comment with links where I can find the things I'm seeking. Also, please link to this entry if you know anyone who does a lot of email forwarding. Forwarded valueless cutesy stories (as opposed to forwarded meaningful cutesy stories) can't be curbed, but maybe we can educate enough people that these hoax "warnings" won't spread.