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Urban legends and hoaxes can spread like fire on the internet. Here are some clues that you might follow to determine if the email you received is true or not.

Leo, please explain the why the internet or part of it will be shut down on March the 8th and who will be affected?

In this excerpt from Answercast #4, I note that I used the internet all day on the 8th and take a look at urban legends.

The Internet is up and running

So I'm recording this on March the 27th and I never noticed a thing! My assumption is that this was some kind of a urban legend making the rounds and that a.) it wasn't shut down on March the 8th and b.) nobody was affected. It's just another one of those things that gets forwarded around a lot and people end up believing it, when there's really nothing to support it.

People make these stories up all the time, just for grins apparently, and they get forwarded and forwarded because they sound plausible. But there's not a grain of truth to them. I do have an article on the site about not forwarding urban legends. I strongly, strongly recommend that you read that and follow its suggestions to always check out the validity of something before you ever forward it on.

It's obviously a case where, in this particular case, you've fallen for (or at least taken as plausible) something that didn't have a single grain of truth into it. Because like I said, March the 8th; I never noticed it. I can assure you I was on the internet a lot that day.

Article C5145 - March 29, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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3 Comments
Jeffrey
March 29, 2012 2:12 PM

this question may be related to some sites either going black or otherwise changing to protest the SOPA and PIPA bills

MoreOff
March 30, 2012 9:23 AM

I read that the FBI was given an extension of time to run the DNSChanger program that would had expired on March 08, 2012.

Read this:

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/november/malware_110911

It says the program will be available until July 09, 2012.

Ken B
April 2, 2012 10:24 AM

Maybe it was that time again where they have to empty out the bit buckets, and you need to stay disconnected? (Like when they flush the water pipes in towns.)

:-)

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