Goodtimes virus

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The Goodtimes Virus was a computer virus hoax that spread during the early years of the Internet's popularity. Warnings about a computer virus named "Good Times" began being passed around among Internet users in 1994. The Goodtimes virus was supposedly transmitted via an email bearing the subject header "Good Times" or "Goodtimes," hence the virus's name, and the warning recommended deleting any such email unread. The virus described in the warnings did not exist, but the warnings themselves, were, in effect, virus-like.



The first recorded email warnings about the Good Times virus showed up on November 15, 1994.[1] The first message was brief, a simple five sentence email with a Christmas greeting, advising recipients not to open email messages with subject "GOOD TIMES!!", as doing so would ruin their files. Later messages became more intricate. The most common versions—the "Infinite loop" and "ASCII buffer" editions—were much longer, containing descriptions of what exactly Good Times would do to the computer of someone who opened it, as well as comparisons to other viruses of the time, and references to a U.S. Federal Communications Commission warning.

One of the demo videos included with the Windows 95 CDs was the music video "Good Times" by Edie Brickell. Discussions of this video and the artist were often criticised for "spreading the virus."[citation needed]

Purported effects

The longer version of the Good Times warning contained descriptions of what Good Times was supposedly capable of doing to computers. In addition to sending itself to every email address in a recipient's received or sent mail, the Good Times virus caused a wide variety of other nasty things to happen. For example, one version said that if an infected computer contained a hard drive, it could be destroyed. If Good Times was not stopped in time, an infected computer would enter an "nth-complexity infinite binary loop" (a meaningless term), damaging the processor. The "ASCII" buffer email described the mechanism of Good Times as a buffer overflow.

Hoaxes similar to Good Times

A number of computer virus hoaxes appeared in the wake of Good Times. These messages were similar in form to Good Times, warning users not to open messages bearing particular subject lines. Subject lines mentioned in these emails include "Penpal greetings,"[2] "Free Money,"[3] "Deeyenda,"[4] "Invitation," [5], and "Win a Holiday."

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