Mud On the Road

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‘Egg and Spam; Spam, Egg, Sausage and Spam; Egg, Bacon and Spam; Spam, Bacon, Sausage and Spam...’

Posted by Deborah Courtnell

In which I propose leaving Sky to the yahoos

    I dare dip my finger into the surface waters of new technology but I know very little about the deep fathoms, 'where be dragons.'

     I do know this, however: I know that, earlier this month, millions of email customers of Sky Broadband had their service summarily switched to 'Sky Yahoo Mail' and, in the changeover, spam filters that had apparently been sealed tight as the mouth of a mafioso, were rent asunder and are now wide open and gaping.

     And I know that into this vast, black, chasmic gap has swarmed the foul plague that is spam.

     As a sky email user I can tell you that my inbox has been infected with this contagion. Every sixth or seventh email is now a lie, a fraud, a scam, a hoax, a con.

     Some of these messages from the dark side of the cyber galaxy are artful, complex: they sport logos and banners and purport to be from The Halifax, Santander, MBNA, Barclay's. They urge you to reset your online banking access, re-enter your password and account number.

     You can almost see the febrile fingers, hovering  in cyber space, awaiting the touch of your own fingers on the keyboard,  the hesitant tap-tap which will  reveal the passwords and account numbers, and secret answers and maternal maiden name, the open-sesame codes to your savings.

     Or , even worse, your overdraft facility.

     Others are entirely random and haphazard, like this one purporting to be from HM  Revenue & Customs and warning that you will 'loose' your claim:

'You are almost at the end of the deadline date for you to claim your back dated tax refund for the amount of ( 275.32 GBP ) for the dates 2011-2012. Failure to do so will result in you loosing this claim.'

     The likes of 'Mrs Parker' mimic the needy and the desperate, with their plaintive sighs. 'Mrs Thandeka Parker' calls  you 'dear friend,' apologises for bothering you, guarantees she has prevented:

 'our messages being infilterated into and used by internet spammers/hackers.'

     Mrs Parker wants you to help her access the '3.5 million pounds' her dead husband deposited in Europe....

     For those blessed with a soft heart, generous disposition and cash, her final parry might be fatal, were it not so ludicrous:

'my doctor told me that i will not last for the next 4 months due to a rare form of cancer of the pancreas but what disturbs me most is my stroke'

     Last but by no means least are the mad 'Jake Landry – plant explosion at Waco Texas...' and the gross: 'Candida Gross – Make Your Wife Happy...’

     The intelligent and beleaguered Sky Technical Support man tried to help me on the phone, he really did. And he muttered terrible things about what he would like to do to the people in echelons higher than his who oversaw this fiasco.

     But the only practical help he could offer was to show me how to reset my own filters, one word, one phrase per single filter, in a vain attempt to screen individual spam mails one at a time.

     This  is the equivalent of standing in a field with a fishing net as the locust swarm blackens the horizon.

     So, what with the server crashes, the system freezes and complete inability of the Sky to equip us with anything faster than an average of less than 3Mb/s broadband speed, it might just be swifter, surely, to abandon Sky altogether and leave it to its new ‘Yahoo’ friends.


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