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All joking aside

Read: 2837 Comments: 1 Rating: 44

Friday, August 19, 2016

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn’t after you.

It’s a Catch-22 situation.

Law enforcement agencies are known to dislike jokes. However, most normal people have a sense of humour, and, when among friends, feel free to have a laugh without pondering the possible consequences of what they say. But doing that on social media is another matter—as we mentioned previously, in Russia even reposting someone else's material can be considered a criminal offence. And that includes your own material if it violates the law. After all, this is a situation where information is being made available to an unlimited number of people! But even more unusual things can occur.

Most people find peace in the thought that they are just a little fish in the pond, of no interest to anyone, and not worth watching. They have nothing of value to take, stay away from politics, don't make public announcements, and lead an ordinary life. Going to a bar with friends is probably the most exciting thing that happens to them in the course of a week. Indeed, who would be interested in a small amount of money sent to a friend to repay them for buying some beer? After all, it's just a drop of water in the sea of transactions, right?

Two o’clock on Sunday morning isn't really the best time to transfer a payment. Unfortunately, Ben Guarino realised this only after he sent $42 to his friend via Venmo with the comment "ISIS beer funds!". Surprisingly, just a few short seconds after he pressed the Send button, he received an email from Venmo asking him to provide more information about his involvement with ISIS, what the funds were for, where they were going, and other information. A detailed description of the payment, along with information on what Ben drank with the funds and where he drank it didn’t help, nor did claiming that "ISIS beer funds!!!" was the result of an autocorrect gone wrong, and that he actually meant to say: "It is beer funds!!!". The $42 never reached his friend and wasn’t returned to him. The “joke” failed.

The Anti-virus Times recommends

  • Bad jokes may end badly.
  • Even in such private matters as transactions, a third party may always be involved—a bank employee or security specialist who has no time for jokes. There is anonymity on the Internet. No one is considered to be too insignificant to have their personal information collected, to be identified, and to have their behaviour analysed. The capabilities of modern hardware and software make it possible to track anyone with little effort.
  • Only transmit information if disclosing it won't harm you.


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