Hoaxes, myths,
urban legends




About us


Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Deeyenda Maddick virus

CATEGORY: Hoax virus alerts

This hoax virus alert surfaced around November 1996, warning users not to read email if it contains the word "Deeyenda" or "Deeyenda Maddick" in the subject line. This hoax uses many tactics found in other hoaxes, myths, and urban lengends. For example:

  • like the Good Times hoax, the Deeyenda hoax warns you to delete messages if they contain a key phrase in the subject line;
  • similar to the Java virus scare, the Deeyenda hoax claims Java-enabled web browsers stand at great risk of getting infected;
  • like the MSN/Prodigy privacy violation urban legends, the Deeyenda hoax claims it will scan your hard disk for personal information;
  • like the Good Times hoax, the Deeyenda hoax claims the FCC issued an alert to watch out for it;
  • like the Mutation Engine myth, the Deeyenda hoax claims it is "virtually undetectable."
Deeyenda warnings quote a message from a Steven K. Johnson at Carnegie Mellon University, complete with phone number & email address. The phone number doesn't exist; the email address doesn't exist. And Steven K. Johnson probably doesn't exist either. Providing a [ficticious] name, phone number, and email address at the bottom of the hoax merely gives it a feeling of authenticity.

And finally, the full name of the so-called virus is "Deeyenda Maddick." Phonetically, it sounds a lot like "the end of my dick." Enough said. Numerous versions of the Deeyenda hoax currently exist. One version (possibly the original) includes a "forwarding header" similar to the Good Times hoax, warning users not to read email if the word "Deeyenda" appears in the subject line. A second version (possibly the first variant) makes no mention of the Good Times-like warning.

Notable people who fell for the Deeyenda hoax include the chairman of the University of Massachusetts Management Science and Information Systems Department. Dan Shimshak spoke on 6/6/97 at a public meeting for the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection:

I have with me actually and attached to my comments a copy of an e-mail message that I received last week about a new destructive virus spreading via the Internet e-mail. It's called Deeyenda. The names are always so clever. This message came from, of all places, the Office of Representative Wolf, of the U.S. House of Representatives... You can imagine what destruction the Deeyenda would cause if there's a virus outbreak. Maybe the whole Earth will stop spinning.
Shimshak's testimony didn't make it into the final PCCIP report delivered to President Clinton. Or if it did appear in the report, it at least doesn't appear in the unclassified version. Jakree Sakunbongkot, an aspiring virus author, posted this short message in the alt.comp.virus newsgroup on 1/1/97:
I want to learn about virus deeyenda please you send me this virus to me on this newsgroup thank you...
You just know a reporter will someday call him "a genius" in the computer virus field... (His ".th" email address indicates a non-English-speaking country, so we can forgive the awkward sentence structure.)

Last updated: 2000/7/2