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Blog : Posts tagged with 'vanishing'

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Life Story

In which we wonder why John Darwin returned


News story of the week: John Darwin, the man who disappeared, mostly, then came back again after the police started raising their eyebrows. The question, of course, is: why would you disappear, only to come back again with such publicity?

Well, I reckon I’ve worked it out. Never mind insurance money; I think Darwin’s worked out he’s had an interesting life, what with all the disappearing, and wanting to return. So why come back? To sell the film rights, of course. I bet there’s “Untitled John Darwin Project” up on IMDB before the end of the decade. Just you wait and see.

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Viruses, and other geekery

In which we still have no satellite internet, and encounter a virus


Quite a few people, recently, have come to this site looking for information on Aramiska, the European satellite ISP which apparently collapsed last week. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any information, anywhere. The company promised to release a statement on January 30th; it never appeared. Their disappearance is still a mystery.

Moving on, this email came in to one of our work addresses yesterday:

I noticed whilst browsing your site that there were problems with some of your links, when I tried again with Internet Explorer the problems were not there so I assume that they were caused by me using the Mozilla browser.

Very nice and helpful, you might think.* However, if you read on, you might get a little more suspicious…

I have enclosed a screen capture of the problem so your team can get it fixed if you deem it an issue.

Hah. If you’re not suspicious yet, you probably shouldn’t be allowed near the internet. If you look a little closer, the attachment is a .scr file – which could, I suppose, look like “screenshot” to the non-technical. If you try to open it,** then: congratulations, you have a virus, one known as W32/Brepibot. Well done.

I thought I’d mention it here, because it’s the most believable virus-spreading email I’ve come across; and I’m someone who is used to all this. To someone who is less cynical than me, it looks entirely believable. So watch out. And, even people like me can be infected by viruses. In fact, like lots of other blogs, this site has been infected by one itself.

Blog.Worm

However, this virus is cute, green, and slightly silly.***

* As our work website was designed by an apparently-clueless PR chap with no previous knowledge of website design at all, it is also entirely believable.

** and you’re using a Windows computer, and don’t have up-to-date virus protection

*** Although it has been pointed out that this virus could potentially be a genuine security risk. Especially if you still use Internet Explorer and your computer isn’t completely up to date. It isn’t actually dangerous, at all as far as I can tell, but you still need to be wary when it comes to things like this.

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Out like a light

In which the internet disappears without warning


At the office, our main internet connection for many years has been a satellite broadband link, from Dutch company Aramiska. When the directors first wanted broadband, it was the cheapest solution. It’s slower than ADSL, and a lot more expensive,* but it’s still more reliable. Well, it was, until this rather surprising email arrived this morning:

We regret to inform you that Aramiska and its services are shutting down and the company will be unable to provide you with internet access after today, 27th of January 2006

Yes, that is the entire email.** It’s repeated on their website as a Customer Care Announcement, but otherwise their website is up as normal. They’re not answering the phone. Noone seems to be able to find out what has happened. Their executives have promised a statement next week, but for now they’re not admitting anything.

Luckily, we have – I mean had – two broadband links at head office now. So, after a bit of reconfiguration,*** I think we’re safe now. I feel sorry for the people in my position who didn’t have a fallback, though.

* Several thousand pounds a year – but it’s still the cheapest option in some rural areas.

** And it turns out that not everyone received the email, even.

*** Geek footnote: our main problem was that all our MX records pointed to Aramiska’s SMTP relay. In fact, they still are, even though we got on to our registrars about it this morning. They’d better sort the bloody thing out.

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