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1993 Fools: Warning: April Fools Time again (forged messages on the loose!)
From firstname.lastname@example.org.EDU Thu Apr 1 21:55:00 1993 From: email@example.com.EDU (Gene Spafford) Newsgroups: news.announce.important,news.admin.misc Subject: Warning: April Fools Time again (forged messages on the loose!) Date: 1 Apr 93 00:00:00 GMT Warning: April 1 is rapidly approaching, and with it comes a USENET tradition. On April Fools day comes a series of forged, tongue-in-cheek messages, either from non-existent sites or using the name of a Well Known USENET person. In general, these messages are harmless and meant as a joke, and people who respond to these messages without thinking, either by flaming or otherwise responding, generally end up looking rather silly when the forgery is exposed. So, for the few weeks, if you see a message that seems completely out of line or is otherwise unusual, think twice before posting a followup or responding to it; it's very likely a forgery. There are a few ways of checking to see if a message is a forgery. These aren't foolproof, but since most forgery posters want people to figure it out, they will allow you to track down the vast majority of forgeries: o Russian computers. For historic reasons most forged messages have as part of their Path: a non-existent (we think!) russian computer, either kremvax or moscvax. Other possibilities are nsacyber or wobegon. Please note, however, that walldrug is a real site and isn't a forgery. Really. o Posted dates. Almost invariably, the date of the posting is forged to be April 1. o Funky Message-ID. Subtle hints are often lodged into the Message-Id, as that field is more or less an unparsed text string and can contain random information. Common values include pi, the phone number of the red phone in the white house, and the name of the forger's parrot. o subtle mispellings. Look for subtle misspellings of the host names in the Path: field when a message is forged in the name of a Big Name USENET person. This is done so that the person being forged actually gets a chance to see the message and wonder when he actually posted it. Forged messages, of course, are not to be condoned. But they happen, and it's important for people on the net not to over-react. They happen at this time every year, and the forger generally gets their kick from watching the novice users take the posting seriously and try to flame their tails off. If we can keep a level head and not react to these postings, they'll taper off rather quickly and we can return to the normal state of affairs: chaos. Thanks for your support. Gene Spafford, Chairman, USENET control freaks, Inc.