Crackpots in computer security: The neighbors are looking at me weird


The security team gets all sorts of email to report security issues. Nearly 200,000 each year. And of course the reports vary in quality greatly. The ones I'm fascinated by are the crackpots.

Subject:  IMMEDIATE THREAT AND NW INTRUSION, SAME AS FRIDAY MM/DD/YY, TOWN NAME YR SOFTW STOPPEDM SOME BUT ACCESS IS STILL THEREN 1000 YD FROM MY HOUSE
Importance:  High

IMMEDIATE HELP NEEDED, PHONES  PHONE NUMBERS DELETED, EM XXXXXXXX@ GMAIL,HOTMAIL,LIVE,AOL.YAHOO. IM ALMOST POSITIVE HE IS USING BLUETOOTH.  BUT HE CAN INTRUDE AT WILL. HE COULD  BE VERY DANGEROUS. LAST FRIDAY YOUR DEPT HAS GPS SEARCHING, BUT THE HACKER CUT US OFF. THEN TRASHED 4 OF MY PCS.PLEASE ON CONTACT ME IMMEDEDIATLY, LOOK IN THE RECORDS.  HE MAY BE IN MY AREA, THE NEIGHB ORS ARE LOOKING AT ME WEIRD, AS THIS CANT BE DONE.  im NOT ON DRUGS.  JUST CONTACT ME. NAME AND ADDRESS DELETED

Capitalization is preserved from the original, but identifying information has been deleted.

It's possible that he's actually onto something. After all, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

Comments (20)
  1. Dan Bugglin says:

    Wow I can't figure out wtf is going on.  OK:

    1) This guy is afraid something that happened on a FRIDAY is going to happen to him next, and he assumes everyone at Microsoft knows about it like it was on the level of the BP oil spill or something.

    2) He's afraid of some hacker guy but thinks giving out all his contact info over unsecure communications is a good idea.

    3) He thinks Microsoft powers his GPS and this hacker broke into Microsoft and stopped it (?) and then destroyed his computers.

    4) He's probably on drugs.

  2. dalek says:

    @Dan Bugglin

    I don't get it either, but concerning 4) He's probably on drugs:

    From the original message:

    im NOT ON DRUGS.

    :)

  3. Michael Hotaling says:

    @dalek

    Perhaps he should be?

  4. D. Garlans says:

    The corollary to "i'm not on drugs" is, in this case, "I'm not on the drugs I'm supposed to be on"

  5. Phil says:

    All I wanted was a Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me!

  6. Henke37 says:

    Things you probably shouldn't mention: I am not on drugs.

  7. jim says:

    @Phil: The guy sounds paranoid, but I don't see any evidence of suicidal tendencies.

  8. Nick says:

    "AOL.YAHOO"

    And this is why custom TLDs are just a bad idea.

  9. Killian says:

    Why are shadowy secret organizations always harassing the paranoiacs? Can't they pick on regular people for a change?

  10. T says:

    I worked in phone support for many years, and came across the odd case like this too. I'm not a psychiatrist, but you get a very real sense of their fear when someone starts whispering and crying to you over the phone, because a) they're scared, and b) someone's listening.

    So while it's fun for us norms to laugh at the patent ridiculousness of the interpretable claims, it's absolutely as real as the keyboard I'm typing this on to them. Perception is reality.

  11. Cheong says:

    A few things to note here:

    1) I'm really jealous of someone who can have bluetooth that's capable of transmitting over 1000 yards, or should I?

    2) Some hacker's c trashed 4 of his PC remotely, meaning he origionally has more than 4 PC.

    3) If someone nearing him has bluetooth device of such power, been used some way to cut off GPS searching, plus has destroyed 4 of his PC… well, he probably should be scared because I'm not surprised if he get cancer anytime, or be toasted, or both… :O

  12. mbghtri says:

    Dear User,

    Don't take the drugs. The blue pill is a tracking program that will help *them* find you. If you take it, hackers will pwn your GPS and cut you off from the matrix. He will then intrude at will on your GMAIL,HOTMAIL,LIVE,AOL.YAHOO.

    BTW, What's with that blue tooth? Of course the neighbors are looking at you weird. You should really get that looked at.

    -Customer Support

  13. Anonymous Coward says:

    One thing I hate about paranoiacs is that their existence makes it incredibly hard to bring up certain problems. Especially when dealing with IT security, people will go ‘you're paranoid’ and stop listening. And then the DBMS gets hacked, but that does not mean that people start listening then. If paranoia didn't exist we wouldn't have this problem.

  14. Nobody says:

    "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. "

    should be "just because you're NOT paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. "

  15. Drak says:

    @Nobody

    I'll stick to Raymond's version, as I've seen that before and it's way more funny than yours.

  16. Jerome says:

    Until last year when I cleaned up, I used to be on methamphetamine for 5 years. I knew long before his giveaway line:

    im NOT ON DRUGS…

    Why would anybody say that, unless they were paranoid that people could somehow "see" that they are on drugs? Paranoia and weird delusions are all part of amphetamine psychosis. It's surprising that he even bothered to send the e-mail. Everybody knows Microsoft can see and hear everything you're doing… :)

  17. Morten says:

    They laughed at Columbus, Galileo and Einstein. They also laughed at Bozo the Clown. I'm thinking I know in which group this feller can safely be put… :-)

  18. Anonymous says:

    People here laugh, but I've observed how much people's imaginations run wild when they get the idea that "hackers" are after them.  They'll suspend disbelief for anything that suggests said hackers might be mere mortals, rather than ethereal beings capable of pretty much everything.  Probably they watch too many movies, or heard too many stories in the press about their "leetness", and fear kicks in.

  19. Timothy Byrd says:

    @Drak: Yes, Raymond used the normal humrous version, but ponder what Nobody's twist on it means.

    Reminds me of a time when a young person I knew was playing at being ruthless and said something about "the means justify[ing] the ends".

    Really deep when you think about it.

  20. ITCartelMember says:

    Crackpots always bother me, how do these people function in regular society? Do they not have anybody that cares about them enough to get them some help.

    Anyhow a recent post on an Australian forum for an ISP is case in point forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm

    I figured it might be interesting for all the members of the "ITCartel", now that they know they've been exposed.

Comments are closed.