Truth About Computer Security Hysteria
'Fibs' are just well-meaning lies
Wednesday, 12 December 2001
AHH, DECEMBER. MANY employees & college students like to send "video file seasons greetings" at this time of year. If you've seen Rudolph crashing into a window or a snowman stalking a child, then you know what I mean.
These humorous videos add 2-3MB to an email when sent as an attachment. Now, 2-3MB doesn't sound like much — until you start adding up all the students or employees. A slew of seasonal attachments can swamp mail servers and choke Internet bandwidth. For example, these eight videos alone would consume 17MB of email bandwidth. Ouch!
The bigger the company or university, the harder their bandwidth tends to fall in December. Do the right thing: point your friends to a website address in your Xerox Xmas email. Don't send large attachments. 'Nuff said.
"Great advice, Rob, but what does this have to do with virus hysteria?" I'm glad you asked. Your network guru may send a warning to everyone to avoid video files "because they may contain viruses." Ignore the fib — he just wants to protect the network by scaring you into doing the right thing.
Don't bother to ask your network guru to explain how a video file can carry a virus. He'll just come up with some sort of rationalization to protect his fragile ego. You'll hear something like "rudolph.exe is an executable program file which can blah blah blah so I didn't lie when I called video files a dire threat to the blah blah blah and you'd better not disobey me because I'll blah blah blah to upper management blah blah blah..."
Of course, you can have a little fun at the network guru's expense if he fibbed in an email. He tried to scare you, so why not scare him back? Hit the "reply" button and say "Vmyths wrote about you in a column." Or better yet, click the "email to a friend" graphic at the top of this page. We'll annoy him for you!
But don't call him a liar in your reply — he might punish you by locking your email account. 'Nuff said.
Memo to all network gurus who lied: whatever you do, don't watch these videos. Your brain might get infected with a computer virus.