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Subject: Re: UKNM: Latency
From: Caroline Tosswill
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 11:43:01 GMT

Ross Sleight wrote:

> Mmmmm...I seem to remember a good story about this one once. The
> Interactive guy at a book publisher was creating an e-mail marketing
> campaign for an interactive novel online

here's some more info on the Penguin Books virus scare, it generated a
huge amount of PR at the time, but none of it was the right sort!


November 26: Latest: Penguin Books in South Africa has confirmed the
truth of this report that reached Gas Software this morning. After
several weeks of alarm in some quarters resulting from the e-mail
warnings of the dire consequences of the so-called Irina virus which was
said to be spread by e-mail messages with the header Irina, it turns out
to be a hoax started by a publicity stunt by Penguin Books for a
forthcoming novel called Irina. A spokesperson for Penguin has told Gas
Software that it will be apologising for the concern and inconvenience
that has been caused. Gas Software has been telling users from this site
that the "virus" is a hoax similar to the Good Times "virus" that users
need not be concerned about.

PENGUIN Books has apologised after a publicity stunt concerning a hoax
computer virus called "Irina" backfired and panicked Internet users

Guy Gadney, the former head of electronic publishing at Penguin, sent
out a bogus letter to newspapers and television stations claiming to be
from Prof Edward Prideaux at the College of Slavonic Studies in London.

"Some miscreant is sending e-mail and files under the title 'Irina',"
the letters said. They claimed that the virus could erase the entire
contents of any infected computer's disks and would "severely damage"
the processor chip.

Penguin is planning to launch an interactive book called Irina, in which
one of the main characters is a Prof Prideaux, but the letters did not
mention Penguin books.

Within hours of the letter being sent out, news of the virus had spread
to America and Europe. The Daily Telegraph received six copies of the
bogus letter, which is not clearly identified as a publicity campaign or
a PR stunt.

Anti-virus experts said Penguin's publicity campaign was "highly
irresponsible and dangerous".

Although the College of Slavonic Studies does not exist, London's School
of Slavonic and East European Studies said it had been inundated with
calls to the fictitious Prof Prideaux.

Mr Gadney said: "We had hoped that [the bogus letter] would be caught by
a second letter to explain that the hoax letter has a teaser campaign
for an interactive book. It is very unfortunate that we have created a
scare - it was not our intention."

  RE: UKNM: Latency, James Tarin
  Re: UKNM: Latency, Ross Sleight

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