Hoaxbusters (http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/) is an American government
site published by the Department of Energy Office of Cyber
Security. A link to that organisation is provided on the site and
is itself worth a visit for information on viruses and other cyber
The purpose of the Hoaxbusters site is to help people recognize
internet hoaxes when they see them and thereby to limit the damages
these hoaxes are causing on the world wide web. The site also
tells Americans what to do when they spot a hoax to help prevent its
spread. A history of cyber hoaxes is provided, too.
The site is organised simply so navigation is easy. Hoaxes are
grouped into categories and each category is described. Users can
browse through the categories, use a search page, or browse through the
complete index containing all the links on the site.
The site does not confine itself to hoaxes that damage servers,
networks, or personal computers. Perhaps the most interesting
part of the site is the list of urban myths and legends. Aside
from taking up hard drive space, these hoaxes are more a threat to
business and the peace of mind of gullible individuals.
of these include the assertion that canola oil, which is made from
rapeseed, is poisonous; a story that a two-year-old boy was grabbed in
Mexico and his internal organs were removed so that he could be stuffed
with cocaine; and the claim that a dog died from licking its paws after
walking across a floor which had been washed with a Swiffer
Wetjet. Some of these stories are so silly that it is difficult
to believe anyone took them seriously, but just in case, each myth
comes with a link to another site which debunks the tale.
Some of the stories on the site are tremendously funny, but hoaxes do
cause serious damage and cost corporations business, which affects
employment. The Hoaxbusters site is worth bookmarking to check
out the next outrageous story or chain letter that arrives by e-mail.