A Virus of the Mind

Continuing my seemingly inexorable slide towards tech-blogging, I noticed an odd turn of the phrase on CNET’s News.com today:
Computer users continue to be duped by false virus alerts persuading them to delete harmless–but sometimes vital–files, and then forward the hoaxes to their friends.
Fueled by concern over genuine threats such as Klez, Bugbear and Magistr, computer users are continuing to fall for false warnings of nonexistent viruses.
Anti-virus firm Sophos released details of its latest top 10 virus hoaxes on Thursday. These hoaxes typically warn the reader not to open an e-mail with a certain subject line, or to immediately delete a particular file on their hard drive because they contain a virus. They will also tell the reader to forward the warning to their friends and colleagues.

CNET says they are “false warnings” — true enough — but also says they are “nonexistent viruses”, which I might take issue with.
The virus stated in the warning surely does not exist, of course, but it seems to me that these things (to use a neutral term) are indeed viruses (or to use the proper term, worms, if I remember correctly).
You’ve got a collection of information that is self-propogating, spreading multiple copies of itself as far and wide as possible against the wishes of the owners of the platforms on which it runs, and also doing damage along the way.
Seems to me the fact that the ‘platforms’ in question are human minds rather than silicon chips is a somewhat paltry distinction. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck….
PS – Now where did I put that Norton AntiVirus – WetWare Edition…?