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Vicious Hoax Aimed at Peruvian Pets

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By
S. E. Hoffman

Spam Email Falsely Claims Dogs Carry Dangerous Flu Virus

Peruvian net surfers whose email addresses have the misfortune to be on spam email lists were the recipients of a fraudulent news alert, purportedly from Peru.com, which claimed that household pets in southern Peru were spreading a virus, “Fiebre Q,” which the email claims is “letal de alto riesgo.”

The email was not sent by Peru.com or by its parent company, InterLatin Corporation. The email implies a similarity to the virus that causes SIDA, and claims that over 1200 Europeans have already died from “Fiebre Q.”
   
Neither is true. Both H1N1 and the canine influenza, H3N8, are sub-types of Influenza A, and neither is in any way related to the virus that causes SIDA.Furthermore, according to health authorities, pet dogs cannot transmit canine influenza to their human owners, and owners cannot transmit human influenza to their pets.
   
The email directs readers to contact “National Cientific World”, but no such organization exists.Readers are strongly advised not to click on the link which promises “Descarger Informe Prevencion” because the link will download malicious software onto the readers’ computers.

The link is associated with another web service provider, HostMonster.com, based in Provo, Utah (EEUU), and the domain is registered to a company called FastDomain Inc.
ALERT ALSO INTENDED TO CAUSE PANIC.The hoax email seems intended to cause panic among Peruvians, and induce them to click the link, but it also might cause them to discard their household pets. The hoax could have tragic consequences.
   
The email is purportedly from joshuacr@blackbird.netcolo.com, but the address is not real.The internet domain, netcolo.com, is currently registered to a company called Enom, which buys inactive internet domains and holds them for later sale.
   
Information hidden in the full headers of the email show that the hoax actually originated from a computer at Softlayer Technologies, a Texas (EEUU) company with server hubs located in Dallas, Texas, Seattle, Washington, and Washington, D.C.Softlayer Technologies provides hosting services to corporations and individuals, usually for business purposes. It leases network connections and webservers to companies all over the world.

A Softlayer customer service representative, contacted by telephone late Sunday night, could provide no information about steps Softlayer might take when their servers are used to send hoax emails. He referred all questions to the Softlayer abuse department.

Canine influenza is a respiratory disease of dogs caused by the H3N8 sub-type of the Type A influenza virus. It was first identified in in 2004, and up until now has only been found in certain parts of the United States.Canine influenza does not infect humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control (EEUU), it “a disease of dogs, not of humans.”
   
Dogs are most likely to be exposed to canine influenza in kennels and other sites where groups of dogs are kept together.Household pets with little contact with other dogs are much less likely to contract the virus, and owners of household pets are not at risk.For more information on Canine Influenza, the Centers for Disease Control (EEUU) has a webpage with updated information.

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