Feeds

Message storm turns DHS email list into social networking utility

'May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits'

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A misfired attempt by one subscriber to change the email address he used for receiving messages caused a storm in the a US Department of Homeland Security's mailing list today.

Instead of sending a message to the list administrators, job-changing security consultant Alex hit the reply-to-all button. His message was sent to every subscriber of the DHS's Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report. Attempts to recall this message were futile.

At first several people began firing off tetchy don't reply-to-all messages, which were, of course, sent to everyone on the list. Quickly this led to the disclosure of the email addresses of fellow members of the list, addresses that are normally hidden in the DHS's daily updates.

Some remarked that the message storm had generated an excellent social networking tool before swapping weather reports with each other. Again these messages were sent to everyone.

Minutes later, spam messages such as one for a "handhole locking device" that controls access to utility vaults and fiber boxes, began circulating on the list. Some of the replies that continued to flow featured the name, phone numbers and company name of list subscribers - useful information for would-be scammers if it fell into the wrong hands.

Some subscribers got pretty upset at around this and vented their spleen. "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits and may a yak in heat make love to your shin," noted Michael.

A couple of hours into the storm, more than 200 messages were generated turning the mailing list in a 21st century equivalent of a news net group. Most security experts took it all in their stride, though some asked to be removed from the list.

"Stop the insanity," pleaded Terence.

"I can see the headlines now," noted Steve, "'DHS gets spammed with its own reports'." Another subscriber wisely noted that the whole mess could have been avoided, if only the email mailout system had not been set up to automatically forward replies. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.