Feeds

Fancy knocking off early? Just run our fake computer crash 'virus', say admen

Bosses worldwide explode in rage at bogus bork campaign

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A jokey US ad agency recruitment campaign encouraged users to stage fake computer crashes so that they might be able to ditch work early.

The Happy Hour virus from Colorado admen TDA_Boulder came with a series of screensavers that allowed users to claim they were unable to work because their machines had gone wrong, creating a convincing excuse for them to ditch work early in the process.

A choice of three static images, including a representation of the infamous Windows Blue Screen of Death, are offered. Other choices include "Kernel Panic" and "Broken Monitor".

The idea of the tongue-in-cheek recruitment campaign was to promote the idea that's it's possible to have a healthy work-life balance even in the hectic advertising biz, AdWeek reports.

The HappyHourVirus.com site explains TDA's workplace philosophy and how self-inflicted computer problems might play a role in this, presumably when all else fails: "We are all better employees if we achieve something called work-life balance. However, pursuing that goal is not always an easy task in today's corporate culture. Please use the Happy Hour Virus to leave work early and enjoy the company of friends, family or co-workers.”

"We are aware that this might jeopardise your productivity the following day,” continued the site, “but we are willing to take that risk on your behalf. And if this sounds like a philosophy you could live with, learn more about us here," it adds, complete with a link to an employment application.

The whole set-up takes the diametrically opposite line to a job ad from games and comics site Penny Arcade looking for a "Web / Software Developer & Sys Admin" which outlines unashamedly wretched working conditions. "We are quite literally looking for a person that can do four jobs… if you’d like to be at the technical epicenter of it all and don’t mind having a really bad sense of work-life balance, this is the job for you,” the unappealing pitch concludes.

Visitors to the Happy Hour virus site can download fake crash motifs and install them onto their PCs without going through any kind of registration process. The site remains live and open to all, not just those looking for a job with TDA. Removing the fake screensaver involves simply pressing the escape key.

Screw YOU guys. I'm going home.

Net security firm Sophos makes the obvious point that the downloads available from the Happy Hour virus site might easily be abused by the workshy. Trivialising computer security is no good thing, Naked Security writer Paul Ducklin adds in a light hearted piece on the campaign, full of tech-themed jokes.

Ducklin's article includes an obvious fake quote from Boulder Online Regulators of Interactive Network Games (geddit) as well as a suggestion to update the Blue Screen of Death theme for Windows 8 and the sarcastic observation that Mac users wouldn't be able to use the ruse because "Macs don't get viruses and thus cannot actually crash". ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.