Here’s a problem that *sounded* impossible… I almost regret posting the story to a wide audience, because it makes a great tale over drinks at a conference. :-) The story is slightly altered in order to protect the guilty, elide over irrelevant and boring details, and generally make the whole thing more entertaining.
I was working in a job running the campus email system some years ago when I got a call from the chairman of the statistics department.
“We’re having a problem sending email out of the department.”
“What’s the problem?” I asked.
“We can’t send mail more than 500 miles,” the chairman explained.
In December 2011, Harris got an email from someone claiming to be a recruiter for Google, wondering if the mathematician was interested in working for the company. The email noted that Harris “obviously [has] a passion for Linux and programming” and the recruiter wondered if Harris was “open to confidentially exploring opportunities with Google.” The email struck Harris as odd — his passion was clearly for math, not necessarily Linux or programming. And as far as he could remember, he hadn’t done anything which suggested an interest in working for Google. Harris’s skepticism took hold and he checked to see if the email was coming from Google at all — and upon further investigation, he found out that it was.
This guy should get an award, like Google normally gives when someone finds a flaw in their security and points it out to them instead of exploiting it.
I got this spam email at my old university address today. I thought it was pretty clever (it definitely had me chuckling). Much too long for a tweet, so here it is:
You have just received a Taliban virus. Since we are not so technologicaly advanced in Afghanistan, this is a MANUAL virus. Please delete all the files on your hard disk yourself and send this mail to everyone you know.