Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Scaremongering and maybe Howard was right!!!

As most of you know, I work in the wonderful world of I.T.

As part of my job, I am sometimes required to cleanup a virus effected pc and on a couple of occasions we have had a virus spread throughout our network. Not a big deal as most virus's are more concerned with propagating themselves or performing denial of service attacks on people like Microsoft, than doing any lasting damage to your pc.

Nevertheless, I still get, at a rate of about 1 per week, emails from staff that they have received warning about the latest and greatest virus that is on the loose. I usually spend about 3 seconds on google and then reply to them with a link to the snopes page confirming it is a hoax.

Sometimes the hoaxes are not even virus related, such as the one I received today which follows:

Subject: MOBILE PHONES - Do Not Call Register!

This is for Australian phone numbers!

REMEMBER: Mobile Phone Numbers Go Public next month.

REMINDER all mobile phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls.


Below is a link where you can enter your phone numbers online to put an end to telemarketing calls

While the donotcall register is a legit gov website, the rest of the email is just scaremongering.

This is all no big deal when the emails are sent to me. It's a couple of seconds out of my life and I am happy to set people straight. The problem is when people forward these to group email addresses. I then have to deal with the panicky fallout.

So next time you receive a virus warning email, jump on google and search the subject or keywords with the word "hoax" and see what comes up. I reckon the little Johnny Howard said it best, "be alert, not alarmed".


  1. IF you could decimate an ONE entity without repercussions via an email bomb who'd ya choose?.

  2. Considering how little thought/effort is involved in sorting one of these emails out for oneself, it's disappointing isn't.

  3. Moko - That's an easy one, it's Telstra every time.

    Bangar - Yep, especially when they just forward it to a group email address. It just wastes everyone's time and causes undue concern. If you foward a hoax email, you should be forced to pay $5 to everyone you forward it to. Actually we used to have a try hard I.T. employee who was notorious for it. Everytime he used to ask me for a proper I.T. role, I would remind him that proper I.T. people don't forward hoaxes. It didn't stop him.

  4. Imagine what Warnie could get up to with all those digits - we'd see some real GDP growth from his phone bill alone!

  5. Yep... When I was working I would get those calls all the time. Even now friends ring up and ask about them.

    Had a notorious "Group Forwarder" at one workplace who wouldn't listen to me so I removed the Forward functions from his Email Client.

    All my friends know that if they Forward or Group Forward to me, they will be added to my Block List.

  6. I'm so glad I don't get those any more. Such a waste of time for all concerned. enough to send a man to drink. speaking of which ...

  7. LOL Me too. Careful tho, Mick will pre-emptive strike.

  8. Its evolution in action. Hoax forwarders are effectively self-selecting as morons, so you can confidently mark them as such. It's a simple intelligence test - if you're stupid enough to forward an obvious hoax email, or give your net banking details to an email from, or any of the utterly arsetarded things some of these muppets do (or must be doing for the hoaxers to still be trying the same sad stunts), you are no longer to play on the interweb without proper supervision.

    Probably email-nuke Auckland Uni. It'd be the last time THEY try and claim to being the number one uni in the country, the lying JAFA bastards.

    And for the benefit of the cyber-crime department of the NZ Police, who live in my town: Joking.

  9. I worked for a CEO years ago that made his IT guy go to the cops (not phone - go to the regional headquarters) to confirm the e-mail he had sent to 200 employees was a hoax. It was about ATM fraud. funniest thing was he used to make people seek his and your immediate managers permission to send an e-mail to more than 10 people. You had to submit it to him first so he could make sure it was worth anybody else spending their time reading. SO you would wait half a day for permission, in the mean time you would have rung the people you needed to tell to inform them an e-mail might be coming about what you talked to them about. He'd read an article or something about the amount of time people spend reading e-mails. he was a tool

  10. My best friend is in IT for the city of New York. When he gets an email from a tool that copied 50 people, he researches the hoax, calmly hits "reply all," and provides the Snopes address to the hoax, basically calling the guy out for being a tool. Nobody has ever done a mass forward to him more than once.

  11. And GE Energy removed the "reply all" button from their entire company (10's of thousands of employees) due to reply all abuse. They snuck it back in about a year later, and by then everyone learned how to behave.

  12. We had our reply all button removed as well after our CEO got abused by everybody by accident, now we have more censorship.

    We got lots of Nigerian ones here at the moment all claiming to be from the bank asking for our passwords!

  13. Lerm - He would go down with a severe case of rti (repetitive text injury).

    BBA - Yeah, I am thinking of removing Reply All and passwording group email addresses.

    Therbs - Have 3 for me.

    Moko - Fortunately I don't think Mick visits here so I should be able to launch a surprise attack.

    Doc Y - I think we need an I.T. version of the Darwin awards where all you have to do is lose money to qualify, not die.

  14. Uamada - I have seen bosses like that:-(

    Steve - I have done that a few times and they quickly learn to send it me first for verification. Seems they can't work out that they are ALL hoaxes.

    Mr Stu - I have actually done a post in the past (js days I think) about reply all abuse. Most commonly performed by brown nosers at my place of employment. As to the nigerians, we as a courtesy send from time to time an email reminding people that banks will never email you asking for your details. Funnily enough bank regulators frown on banks that don't know their own customers details.

  15. Uamada's boss sounds like David Brent's retarded cousin.