Juan's job wouldn't have been so bad if not for the rampart stupidity. Stupidity was responsible for deciding a 25k+ employee corporation only needed a skeleton-crewed IT department. And that same level of stupidity was spreading across the entire C-level of the org chart.

The IT office, such as it was-- a single converted room in the basement-- was its usual sparsely populated self, made up of just Juan, and his few remaining coworkers. Everyone else had either been caught by the last swing of the budget axe, or had seen it coming and had bailed. The team that remained was a tight mix of competent enough to be seen as valuable; hard-working enough to be taken advantage enough; and skilled enough to leave, but too lazy to do so.

Juan's co-workers were friendly, and the users they supported were tolerable. Indeed, his job wouldn't have been so bad if not for the rampart stupidity. It was barely five minutes into the day, and already it was landing in his inbox with a dreaded bing.

"It's Steve," Juan called out, getting back a collective groan from the Barbara, the mail admin, and Ingeborg, the network admin. The email was addressed to Juan directly-- even though Steve's own policy as Chief Security Officer demanded all employees send IT related email to the catch-all IT inbox.


Helpdesk found this mail in our inbox.

We can't figure out which user has a problem with his home banking. Can you help us???

Kind regards,

Steve, CSO

Attached to the email was a run-of-the-mill banking phishing scam. Your online accress account has is expireding, for service uninterrupted click her to manually updating etc, etc. Although it had ING's logos, all the links pointed to a blatant scam site. Obviously it had slipped through the filters, but-- Juan just couldn't wrap his mind around it. He read and re-read Steve's email. Steve-- the guy who was ostensibly responsible for all security-related things-- the CHIEF guy responsible for security-- literally could not identify a phishing email.

Juan glanced around, but no one would make eye contact with him. Yeah, he knew the drill-- Juan got the email, Steve was his problem.

He took a deep breath, and calmly composed an email, dictating his real thoughts aloud.

"Dear Chief Stupidity Office," he said. Dear Steve…

Barbara and Ingeborg rolled their chairs over to his desk, craning their necks to read over his shoulder.

"How the hell can you, a so-called IT-professional, not recognize an obvious phishing scam?" Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We believe this is just a piece of junk mail that got through the spamfilters.

"What's next? You want us to track down which user ordered Viagra?" In order to help Barbara update the blacklist, please forward us the original email with headers.

"If I had to pinpoint the origin of the stupidity eating away at the company, it would be the day you failed upwards into the position of Chief Security Office. Here's a link. Please attempt to educate yourself on the very basics of your chosen field, including terminology that's been around for decades, idiot." Please refer to Wikipedia:Phishing.

"I sincerely hope that your stupidity is either reversible, or terminal." Sincerely, Juan

Juan tried not to picture Steve's kidney and a rusty shank when he stabbed "SEND". The sound of his coworker's laughter surrounded him, quelling the anger that dealing with Steve always dredged up. As long as he had good coworkers, the job couldn't be that bad-- even with the rampart stupidity. Right?

"Good one," Barbara said, patting his shoulder. "At least that's taken care of."

"No it isn't," Juan said, pessimistic but realistic, "He'll skim the email, see your name, and just make a stupid mail-server request."

"What?" Barbara shook her head, "No, he'll see it was just a mail that got through the spamfilter, and--"

His inbox went bing. A response from Steve, already. Blah, blah,blah-- Thank you for your pedagogical approach. Barbara pointed at the email. "See, he's trainable."

Ingeborg interjected, "Like a monkey, or a goldfish."

"Yeah," Barbara continued, "I think that's the last we'll hear--"

Barbara's inbox went bing, and Juan gave her a look. "Told you."

They all went over to her workstation. Sure enough an email from Steve-- asking her, as 'the mail lady', to proactively prevent a new threat called phishing (pasted link from Juan's email). His great solution-- hackers are trying to hack ING bank all the time, so the mail servers should just block all emails with "ING" in them.

"That's brilliant!" Ingeborg cried out, "I'll never get a stupid email again!"

Barbara began to type her reply, talking aloud. "Dear Chief Stupidity Officer." Dear Steve…

"Since you're either brain dead or functionally illiterate, I'll just let you know straight out that your stupid solution won't work. All it will do is block all emails using pretty much any verb in the English language." This solution would generate too many false positives from common words or names that contain 'ING'.

"Since I assume you're too stupid to adequately care for yourself, and are probably fed a nutrient slurry from a bottle like a hamster, you don't even know about real world things, like that banks actually exist." In addition, the filter would block legitimate communications from ING

"I hope the money we saved from cuts to the IT department allows R&D to develop some sort of chlorine to dump into your gene pool, to save the rest of humanity from your stupidity." Sincerely, Barbara.

She hit send, and the three of them had another chuckle. But underneath Juan's humor ran that old current of discontent. If this had been an isolated incident of stupidity, perhaps he could have written it off as an honest mistake.

"I don't know how much more of this I can take," Juan said, his humor fading. "These sorts of emails seem to be coming every day."

"It's not that bad," Barbara said, still smiling. "Some people are just slow on the uptake. We give Steve a hard time, but isn't that bad. I'm sure that's the last we'll hear of it."

"Or--" Juan started, but Ingeborg interrupted.

"Let me guess," the network admin said with a smile, "Or Steve will just email me asking for all network traffic with the word 'bank' to be dropped."

Ingeborg and Barbara laughed.

Juan didn't.

"Probably," Juan said.

"Not going to happen," Barbara said, her smile wavering a bit.

Ingeborg shook his head. "No, you can't seriously be that pessimistic."

"I wish I wasn't. Look, guys, this job would be fine if not for the rampart stupidity. I've been putting up with it because you're great, and I'd feel bad about leaving the department even more short-staffed than it already is-- but I'm at my tipping point here. Just one more nudge and I swear I'm going to update my resume and--"

Ingeborg's inbox went bing

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