A warning message is circulating social media claiming to warn users of an email titled “Mail Server Report” as opening its attachment will infect your PC and delete all your files.
The warning asserts that upon opening the attachment, the words ‘It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful’ appears on the victim’s screen. Additionally the warning asserts the virus was created by a hacker known as “life owner”.
To confirm, this warning is a hoax. Not only that, but it has been circulating since at least 2002, albeit back then is was spreading primarily through chain emails, before evolving and escaping to social media platforms like Facebook. An example of the warning can be seen below –
*Extremely URGENT – PLEASE READ TELL EVERYONE…….. Anyone-using Internet mail such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and so on.. This information arrived this morning, Direct from both Microsoft and Norton. Please send it to everybody you know who has access to the Internet. You may receive an apparently harmless e-mail titled ‘Mail Server Report’ If you open either file, a message will appear on your screen saying: ‘It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful.’ Subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC, And the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name, e-mail and password and possibly your bank account details. This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon.. AOL has already confirmed the severity, and the antivirus softwares are not capable of destroying it yet. The virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself ‘life owner’.. PLEASE SEND A COPY OF THIS E-MAIL TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS, And ask them to PASS IT ON IMMEDIATELY*
Many slightly different versions of this same hoax have been spread across the Internet in the past, albeit somewhat different in their descriptions. Perhaps the most prolific version of this hoax that circulated circa 2007 changing the email title from “Mail Server Report” to an untitled email with an apparently malicious PowerPoint presentation called “life is beautiful.pps”. This more popular version of the hoax can be seen below…
This information arrived this morning, from Microsoft and Norton. Please send it to everybody you know who accesses the Internet.
You may receive an apparently harmless email with a PowerPoint presentation called “Life is beautiful.pps.”
If you receive it DO NOT OPEN THE FILE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, and delete it immediately.
If you open this file, a message will appear on your screen saying: “It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful”, subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC and the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name, email and password.
This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon. WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO STOP THIS VIRUS.
UOL has already confirmed its dangerousness, and the antivirus Softs are not capable of destroying it. The virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself “life owner”, and who aims to destroying domestic PCs and who also fights Microsoft in court!
That’s why it comes disguised with extension pps. He fights in court for the Windows-XP patent.
MAKE A COPY OF THIS EMAIL TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS.
You can see the clear similarities behind both of these hoax warnings. However despite both their popularity and persistence, no such virus has ever been recorded by any of the companies mentioned in the warning, much less have these companies ever warned of such a phantom virus. In fact Symantec (Norton) – who were quoted in the warning – even debunked the hoax themselves on their website here.
These warnings will typically display many red flags that expose them as hoaxes. For one, malware or viruses rarely “delete everything from your computer”, or “burn your hard drive” as we all so often hear quoted in these messages. These days you’ll more than likely be infected with ransomware or some kids of spyware, neither of which will delete your files (rather, encrypts them instead.)
We often see relic virus warnings gain a new lease of life thanks to social media, and this is one prime example that has resurfaced on one platform or another every few years in a slightly modified adaptation.
While the warning does touch on some good advice – and that’s not to open email attachments you weren’t expecting – it is ultimately a hoax from start to finish.