Our Poor Help Desk



  • Amused me in a sad way, hope you enjoy it as well...

     

    Email #1 (from corporate help desk):

    From:     _Corporate Communications  
    Sent:    Wednesday, January 28, 2009 10:12 AM
    Subject:    Warning: Be alert for "Wells Fargo" spam e-mails

    Good morning:
    An e-mail is being received in parts of the company with the Subject line: New Online Security Measures. It contains a link to what looks like a Wells Fargo site. This is spam. Do not open the e-mail or click the link. Delete the e-mail from your Active and Deleted e-mail folders.
    If you have already clicked on the link, do not provide any information that's requested. If you have already provided information, you should contact your bank to let them know what has happened.
    There do not seem to be any viruses associated with this spam, but we are looking into that and will provide more information if necessary. If you have any concerns, please contact the appropriate ITS Help Desk.
    Thank you.

     

    Email #2 (from our own Help Desk, not Corporate)


    If you have received an email like this, please forward the email to TEGE Help Desk (IT).  IBS is working to resolve this problem and needs to be aware of the extent of the issue so that they may take approrpiate corrective action.  Thank you.

    John Doe
    Help Desk Specialist

     

    Email #3 (from our own Help Desk again, 5 minutes later)

     A point of clarification:
    We want to know if you received a "Wells Fargo" email, not the one from _Corporate Communications.  I apologize if I did not communicate this clearly.

     

     



  • What's sad about it? Your helpdesk guy noticed on his own that  some might misunderstand his e-mail, that's good thinking.

    If you find it sad that this clarification is necessary (and probably only partially successful)... Well, yes, life sucks.



  • @matthewr81 said:

    Amused me in a sad way
    I know exactly what you mean. There's a reason the term 'lusers' exists...



  •  I guess I should add... he sent the last one after receiving a large number of "reports" of the first email within that first 5 minutes.



  • @Ilya Ehrenburg said:

    What's sad about it?
    The fact that email #1 was sent to begin with?

    If you don't consider that sad, then the fact that email #1 didn't contain all the information someone thought required so that email #2 had to be sent?

    Or maybe the fact that anyone who had complied with the instructions in email #1 couldn't follow the instructions in email #2 as a result?

    Or just the fact that Corp.Comms and Helpdesk don't communicate when it comes to IT issues.




  • @matthewr81 said:

    Amused me in a sad way, hope you enjoy it as well...

    Made me laugh :)

    @matthewr81 said:

    Email #3 (from our own Help Desk again, 5 minutes later)

     A point of clarification:
    We want to know if you received a "Wells Fargo" email, not the one from _Corporate Communications.  I apologize if I did not communicate this clearly.

    Phew!  Just in the nick of time!

    < cue shot of corporate helpdesk gradually sinking beneath a tidalwave of useless email reply-all shitstorm in the background >

     



  • @Ilya Ehrenburg said:

    What's sad about it? Your helpdesk guy noticed on his own that  some might misunderstand his e-mail, that's good thinking.

    If you find it sad that this clarification is necessary (and probably only partially successful)... Well, yes, life sucks.

    I don't think someone "might" misunderstand.  I think that in the 5 intervening minutes, he got around 100 copies of the first email.  At least, that was my impression.



  •  Ah, that brings back memories of the good old "Please do not use 'REPLY TO ALL' when asking to be removed from the mailing list!" e-mail :)





  • @TwelveBaud said:

     You Had Me At EHLO: Me Too!

    I'd just like to point out that I have always loved the title of that blog and have immense respect for the Exchange team simply for coming up with it, even though I have never used Exchange. 



  • @TwelveBaud said:

     You Had Me At EHLO: Me Too!

    [quote user="You Had Me At EHLO: Me Too!"]

    We’ve got well over 100,000 mailboxes 

    [/quote] [quote user="You Had Me At EHLO: Me Too!"]

    Each distribution list had about a quarter of the mailboxes in the company on it (so there were about 13,000 mailboxes on each list).[/quote]

    [quote user="You Had Me At EHLO: Me Too!"]Remember, there are 25,000 people on this mailing list.[/quote]

    [quote user="You Had Me At EHLO: Me Too!"] First off, the original mail went to 13,000 users 

    [/quote]And there we have the explanation for everything that is Microsoft, my friends.


  • @DaveK said:

    [quote user="You Had Me At EHLO: Me Too!"]Remember, there are 25,000 people on this mailing list.

    [quote user="You Had Me At EHLO: Me Too!"] First off, the original mail went to 13,000 users 

    [/quote]And there we have the explanation for everything that is Microsoft, my friends.
    [/quote]

    Agreed.  I especially liked the tone of the problem description, stating that we couldn't understand how the scenario would be a problem without understanding Exchange internals (admittedly, they were right), but then go on to say

    [quote user="You Had Me At EHLO: Me Too!"]So at a minimum, 15,600,000 email messages will be delivered into peoples mailboxes. But Exchange can handle 15,600,000 email messages EASILY.</font>[/quote]

    Now, this is sad on two levels.  The first level, because the number was wrong, and second because Exchange obviously couldn't handle it.

    Of course, it's also sad that Exchange is too clueless to strip delivery/read receipt requests from large email lists.

    As far as this scenario only being problematic to Exchange systems - that's pretty clueless.  Given that these replies will all include the full body of the prior messages, and that the worst users will send one 'me, too' message and about 10-15 'stop replying to all' messages, even without the delivery receipts this will quickly be untenable.  It doesn't matter *what* mail server software you're running; any business will size their hardware based on expected usage, and will never approve capacity to handle this kind of abuse.  The only defense against this sort of thing is preventing it from ever happening.  For example, the rule we established after an incident where I worked about a decade ago was that any mailing list with over 1k subscribers must either be moderated, or only allow a restricted list of no more than 20 people to be able to send to it.  (Note: that rule was enforced with a technical fist: exceeding the subscriber limit converted any open list into a moderated list, or chopped anyone in excess of 20 authorized senders off the list for a restricted senders list.  The list interface would allow them to choose which of the two they wanted, but would error on any attempt to set it to open.  Given the number of people who complained about that interface, this rule would not have been enforceable purely administratively.)


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