The Goodtimes Virus was quite possibly the internet’s first ever computer virus hoax.
First spotted in 1994, the goodtimes virus hoax was sent with a subject header of either ‘Good Times’ or ‘Goodtimes,’ which is obviously where it derived it’s name from.
The body of the email recommended deleting any other emails with the same subject header without reading them.
THE ‘VIRUS’ GOES VIRAL
Of course, the ‘goodtimes’ virus itself was purely a fallacy but the hoax warning spread life wildfire across the net, thus becoming ‘viral’ itself.
It is believed that the Good Times virus hoax first appeared in november of 1994.
Initial variants of the warning were short affairs comprising of just a few sentences.
It began with a greeting and then went on to advise recipients not to open any email messages that they may receive with the subject line of ‘GOOD TIMES!!’
Doing so, according to the email hoax, would ruin all the files on their computer.
THE GOOD TIMES VIRUS HOAX : SPECIAL EDITION
Later messages, of which there were many variations, became longer and far more detailed.
Two of the more common variations were known as the ‘Infinite loop’ and ‘ASCII buffer’ editions.
These versions of the virus hoax were much longer and contained detailed descriptions of what exactly the ‘Good Times virus’ would do to the recipient’s computer if they were foolish enough to open it.
The hoax alleged that the good times virus would send itself to every contact in a recipient’s email address book, in addition to other undesirable effects.
It further alleged that any infected computer that contained a hard drive would almost certainly have all it’s data erased.
The ‘ASCII’ buffer email described the good times virus as a buffer overflow attack.
Lastly, and most unbelievably, the ‘Infinite loop’ was supposed to cause an infected computer to enter an ‘nth-complexity infinite binary loop’ which would apparently damage the computer’s processor.
Of course there wasn’t, and still isn’t, such a thing as a ‘nth-complexity infinite binary loop’ – it was just a made-up term.