Claims: A Facebook Christmas tree app harbors a virus that will crash your computer.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, November 2010]
Just saw on facebook the following:
WARNING!!!!!!.....If you are using the Christmas tree app. please be advised it will crash your computer. Geek squad says its one of the WORST trojan viruses there is and it is spreading quickly. Re-post and let your friends know!
Origins: This warning about a Facebook "Christmas tree app" that supposedly harbors a trojan virus has been making the rounds of the Internet every holiday season since at least 2010 and follows a pattern found in several common computer virus hoax messages
(such as the Invitation warning): it identifies a supposedly highly destructive virus which is currently being widely circulated, and it asserts credibility by invoking the name of some authority who has allegedly certified the referenced virus as the "worst" ever.
True to that pattern, this warning is also a hoax: a search of Facebook reveals numerous applications with names related to Christmas trees, none of which has generated any noteworthy number of complaints about its harboring a virus, nor has the Geek Squad (a tech support service chain) issued any warning or statement about such an application. Indeed, in a 22 November 2010 blog post, the Geek Squad denied any such action:
A security alert about the Facebook “Christmas Tree” application is circulating online now that states:
"Warning !!!!!!!!!!! Don't use the Christmas Tree App. Be advised it will crash your computer. Geek Squad says it's one of the Worst Trojan Viruses there is and it is spreading quickly. Please repost to friends & let them know !!!"
In actuality, Geek Squad has not officially investigated this particular application, nor have we identified it as the source of any infections in any cases we have supported.
In general, widely circulated Internet-based viruses are typically engineered to perform illicit functions useful to their creators — such as gaining control over other computers, gathering passwords and other personal information, or sending out spam — rather than wantonly crashing or destroying users' computers.