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The buffalo that comes from afar

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I do not want our dear friend who has kindly forwarded the email from which I draw inspiration for reflections of this post but the opportunity was too good. Everything that follows is by no means addressed to him directly but must be taken as yet another attempt to educate and inform users of the Internet on two simple concepts:

  1. All mail requests for support for people dying who need blood, organs or need an operation abroad, "BUFFALO IS." All together recite this mantra: "BUFFALO IS.
  2. You do not ever send email to a number of recipients greater than 10 in the clear.

To discuss these two concepts, we see the background.

I received a mail from my friend. The mail has the subject: "Fw: In: Fw: This should run ... URGENT! Coast just 1 minute."

We learn from the start to recognize things. The first rule is empathy: an email with a subject like this is 99% a hoax, a chain letter or similar.

But just because it amuses or because you can never be 100% sure, you open it to see what it is.

The mail is about a family with a disastrous problem. The daughter named Rachel has a brain tumor, inoperable, fortunately, but unfortunately parents do not have the money to pay for the operation. But it seems that two major U.S. providers, AOL and ZDNET have agreed to help because for every person who reads the mail, their family will pay 32 cents (not quite know what currency, dollar, euro, flies fried). Course, so please turn the mail to acquaintances to get the most money possible from the provider.

Such a story reeks of chain letter from a mile away, do not feel it too? No? Ok, since it is not expedient to trust your instincts even if every cell of your body cry "wolf". Then the second rule is: Paul Attivissimo is your friend.

Who is Paul Attivissimo? As he likes to define himself in his blog "The Disinformatico", is a buffalo hunter. That said, the second rule, validated by the fact that in the end are always those buffaloes and even those, is that putting a little 'things of the mail received in the search of the site of Paul, gives the assurance that the mail is a hoax.

Which in fact happens with the mail in question. Rachel and inserting some other name that appears in the mail as a contact person, and soon you reach the page of the chain letter showing not only the mail that I got but all its variants. For one thing, the first variant of the mail appeared in February 2002 and, be assured that the poor Rachel, even if he existed has been dead for some time.

But you're not worried. Rachel has never actually existed, in fact, known as Paul

Do you really believe that companies like AOL (America Online) and ZDNet are so cruel as to organize this subspecies of the lottery? "Dear George, I'm sorry, but we have responded in sufficient numbers, so you do not pay the operation and let you die daughter ... "

Anyway, if common sense is not enough, AOL and ZDNet have publicly stated that he knew nothing of this story. Also, do you really believe that there is a program that allows to track an e-mail to know who and how many times you opened?

The same reference included in the mail, those who say "I am XY from the General Command of the Guardia di Finanza", "are the prof. So and So University" La Sapienza "of Rome", declaring that "the mail is true, is not the usual chain letter, I know the fellow, "do not exist and if there are, once contacted, said they were complete strangers and had never heard of.

Well, then what have we learned so far? You should never turn over this type of mail. What was the original mantra? Remember him? "Everyone BUFFALO.

But we go beyond because the story does not end here. As you can see from the site of Attivissimo, the email "hoax" and will no longer be about thirty lines. The mail that came to me was long CINQUECENTOTRENTACINQUE lines.

Why, you say, and in the remaining 93% of mail that went? E-mail, to be exact 328 mailboxes sound of people scattered around Italy.

The thing reminds me of an experiment that verified that every one of us is connected to another person on Earth from 7 levels of knowledge. Looking at the trace of the e-mail reminded me of something similar.

"My mail" is in fact the party secretary of an association of Bari I say party, but in fact I understand that this was the last person who diligently cleaned up the mail received, leaving only the message and then delete the track of how mail it to him arrived.

He then had the foresight to clean up the mail but have not used the same foresight in sending the mail to his contacts in undisclosed recipient. He that is placed in the mail, clear, all the addresses of the recipients of his acquaintances.

One of the recipients, the $ not to be outdone, has not only turned over the email to his list of contacts, again in the clear, but left even the contact list in email sender.

Then the email arrived at another club, even in Bari, who takes and makes it big. Since an association has many members and many e-mail. What works? Turns the e-mail to its members, again all in clear, again enclosing message and e-mail present.

At this point, one of the associates, we see that $ get such important news from their association and he does. Guess what '? Forward to his contacts, again with all the emails in clear beyond those already present.

Do not you long face, mail, in the same manner described above, the buffalo-mail passes through the hands of

  • EdiliziaYYYYYYY,
  • XY Bank Carime,
  • the holder of a limited company in that of Capurso, always in the province of Bari,
  • his sales manager,
  • The sales manager of a famous brand of sportswear, which among others send to a group "Customer Service" (and here I dare not think how many people was a part)
  • another of his colleague,
  • the sister of my friend,
  • my friend

and finally, in this traceroute for e-mail to the palpitations, the "dirt" comes to me.

And what does Emiliano when he sees all this? There is a nice post on his blog and send the link to 328 mailboxes that have been kindly donated. So I hope

  1. increase the number of hits in his blog
  2. to educate those who, in this absurd chain mail, considered the true and the mail sent to other
  3. to understand that you never send e-mail messages in the clear because, at current stock in the market for crackers and spammers in Russia, a valid e-mail to 50 cents, selling 328 of these e-mail would realize subscribed to more than 150 euro tax ... ... ... ... Just kidding, but someone might not be as good as myself. Think about it!

So again, for the last time, the three rules of good e-mail reader

  1. Mails to recognize fake nose
  2. For everything else there 'Paolo Attivissimo
  3. Never send an e-mail in the clear function but use Bcc: or Bcc to hide the e-mail to the other words, to be more clear in the head "at destination" is not written anything and fit all the names in the "bcc "or" bcc "as the mail program elettronica.A all recipients will receive an email to" undisclosed recipient ".

A greeting of peace.

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