Kids, do NOT try this at home (OR in the office)

Sysadmin who has access to all parts of this office's IT systems decides to play an April Fool's joke that's, well, a little too good, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

"We have a very good salesman who the sysadmin decided to put on the Secret Service's most-wanted list," says fish. "So the sysadmin made up a page that was a clone of the real Secret Service page that Google provides when you search for the Secret Service."

The sysadmin also makes up a clone page based on one of the people on the actual most-wanted list, but changes the photo and particulars to match those of the salesman.

And to make it all work, the sysadmin goes into the DNS server and remaps the IP address of the Secret Service's domain to the sysadmin's website with the modified pages. That way, when anyone in the office clicks on the link from Google, they'll end up at the sysadmin's pages.

Finally, he makes the rounds of the office, casually suggesting to people that they search for the Secret Service on Google and look at some of the people on the page because something "really interesting" is there.

Sure enough, a few people do -- and once they see apparently legit pages with the salesman's picture, his "real" name and other biographical details that exactly match what people in the office know, pretty soon everyone in the office has discovered their neighbor on the most-wanted list.

And that would have been the end of it -- except that the big boss happens to walk by while the prank is still live. He sees the photo on the most-wanted page and comments tersely that he's going to have a talk with the salesman, as he doesn't allow criminals to work in his office.

"At this point, the sysadmin realized that the whole situation was about to blow up badly, possibly with people making phone calls to the Secret Service and the boss firing this guy," fish says. "He spent many minutes running around the office explaining that this was an April Fool's joke. The big boss was unhappy at first, but eventually laughed when he realized what had been done.

"The sysadmin then went to our other office for the day to 'take care of things over there.'"

What Sharky wants most is your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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