The month's hoax list from Sophos is all about fake virus warnings. The top five hoaxes warn of hard drive erasing, sector-deleting viruses. As "Tech Live" reports tonight, most of the hoaxes arrive as email from well-meaning friends, but end up propagating misinformation and sometimes doing permanent damage.

Sulfnbk and Jdbgmgr tell victims to search for an infected file on their hard drive. If it shows up in their search, the hoax asserts they've got the virus. The email then instructs them to delete the file. Sulfnbk and Jdbgmgr are system programs in Windows. The hoaxes have victims disassembling their Windows operating system in the name of virus protection.

Jdbgmgr.exe is the Microsoft Debugger Registrar for Java. Part of the confusion is that the program uses an icon of a gray teddy bear, not a typical MS system file icon. Although it is possible for the file to be infected by the Magistr virus, the email hoax is attempting to get people to delete clean versions of the program.

The best rule of thumb is if you receive Jdbgmgr.exe or any other Windows component by email, it is most probably a file infected by a virus. If you find Jdbgmgr.exe from your system directory, it is most probably a clean file. If you have already deleted the file, you should be able to reinstall it from the Windows CD. Even easier, upgrade the Java virtual machine.

Sulfnbk.exe is a program that comes with the Windows 95/98 operating system and can be used to back up and restore long file names. It's not explicitly needed to run Windows, but you need it if you ever need to restore the file name of a corrupt file. For instructions on how to restore Sulfnbk, click here.

A Vida i Bela and Loft Story tied for ninth place.

Below is the list from Sophos Anti-Virus.

Top virus hoaxes in April 2002

1. A virtual card for you
30.5 percent

2. Budweiser frogs screensaver
6.6 percent

3. Sulfnbk
5.8 percent

4. WTC Survivor
2.5 percent

5. Jdbgmgr
2.0 percent

6. Perrin.exe
1.8 percent

7. Hotmail hoax
1.6 percent

8. It Takes Guts to Say Jesus
1.4 percent

9. A Vida e Bela
1.3 percent

10. Loft Story
1.3 percent

45.2 percent
The Source