Hoax calls Java file in Windows a virus

An e-mail hoax pretending to be a virus warning has been playing on users' fears and causing them to delete their Java Debugger Manager file, called jdbgmgr.exe, by telling them it's a virus, Symantec said Friday.

Symantec's security response staff have been dealing with calls all week, senior researcher André Post said Friday. Many say they have deleted the file "just to be cautious" and have to be told how to reinstall it, Post said.

The fake advisory claims that the file is a virus that is spread through address books and will damage the PC after sitting quietly for 14 days. It is usually easy to spot such hoaxes because they tend to have no attachment, say the virus is very destructive, and end in an appeal to send it to everyone you know, Post said.

"And capitalization rules. In this one for example, the final appeal is all in capitals," he said.

If in doubt, Post said, people should check the list of hoaxes on Symantec's Web site. At the moment most people don't, and just pass them on as directed. "These e-mails are very successful. Generally as soon as it starts, you see it spread and get translated into different languages," Post said.

However, Symantec only discovers around one hoax a week, which is minimal in comparison to the 10 to 20 real viruses discovered, Post said.

It is hard to identify who starts this type of e-mail, but they are presumably nontechnical, or would create their own virus instead, Post said. "And a high proportion appear to be Dutch! I don't know why," he said.

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