A Very Geeky April Fools

Back on April 1st, 2004, I was dating a woman who was a fan of Showtime’s new lesbo show, The L-Word. She subscribed to Showtime specifically for the show but missed it one night. Not having experienced the pleasures of TiVO, she asked me to download a copy from the Internet. She was usually a little too paranoid to participate in P2P but was pretty desperate to see the missed episode. I hopped on her computer, installed the popular P2P client of the month and quickly downloaded the episode. She was happy but also a little concerned. I reassured her saying that there are millions of downloaders and only thousands of law suits, stats are in her favor.

I’m a bad person, I’ll admit. Seeing her worry about the download got me thinking. Today is April 1st, what a perfect day for an awesome prank. As she hopped into the shower, I hopped onto her monster Dell laptop and began flipping through all of her IE Favorites. I gathered up all of the hostnames (imdb.com, news.google.com, nytimes.com and so on), opened up her HOSTS file and went to town giving about 50 of those hostnames the IP for my webserver.

I then setup my webserver to accept wildcard hosts and then copied all of the HTML from http://www.mpaa.org/anti-piracy/index.htm and inserted a fake message. The message, which had her full name (only after a successful IP check), stated that she was to be served with papers on Friday, April 2nd. I didn’t want to make it too obvious that it was me so I actually setup a scheduled task to switch out the good HOSTS file with the modified one (as well as an ipconfig /flushdns) at the time I was in the shower. Oh, I also set the 404 as the index file in the event that she didn’t go to the root URL. I tried to make the text as cheesy and unprofessional as possible and came up with the following:

You have violated the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998) by downloading the following Showtime copied acts: 'The L Word' starring Jennifer Beals. It also appears you have over 100 megabyes (MB) of MP3s on your hard drive. Because of this, we have disabled many of the Internet sites you frequent.

The plan worked perfectly, when I was in the shower, my lady companion loaded up imdb.com, saw the message and shit her pants. She started sweating and ran into the bathroom. “CHRISSSSSSSY! I’m going to throw my laptop out of the window!! Oh my god oh my god!” I said “What’s going on? You have a virus or something? Let me look. I’ll be out in a second.” “Noooo! My family is going to kill me! I’m getting sued!”

The bad person in me let her freak out for about a minute more as I fake comforted her, saying that it had to be something else. “The MPAA can’t take over people’s laptops — it’s illegal and virtually impossible.” “WELL! LOOK!” she yelled. I strolled over to her laptop, poked around and said “Sweetie. The only problem with your laptop is that you’ve got a crazy girlfriend that replaced the HOSTS file and played a prank on you. APRIL FOOLS!” I then proceeded to run out of the room yelling bloody murder as she ran after me yelling profanities. Talk about a hoot!

Chrissy is a Cloud and Datacenter Management & Data Platform MVP who has worked in IT for over 20 years. She is the creator of the popular SQL PowerShell module dbatools, holds a master's degree in Systems Engineering and is coauthor of Learn dbatools in a Month of Lunches. Chrissy is certified in SQL Server, Linux, SharePoint and network security. You can follow her on Twitter at @cl.

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6 comments on “A Very Geeky April Fools
  1. L.C. says:

    You know what I should have done…I should have f’ing broken up with you– CRUEL.

    No more Pinkberry’s for you!

  2. Corey says:

    a) love the attention to prank detail, the scheduled start is my favorite part; great execution.

    b) what an impressively clean firefox layout. Mine looks like something from some kind of UI design nightmare with more buttons than the space shuttle!

  3. tenajs says:

    Best Geeky April Fools!

  4. vern says:

    That is truly the coolest April Fool’s prank I have heard.

    You rock!

  5. Chrissy says:

    haha thanks vern! The craziest part is that she really did almost throw her laptop out of the window (she lived on the second floor) the moment she read that message. Man, that would have taken this prank to a whole new level. hahaha.

    Thanks! I actually use the Google toolbar but I removed it for the screenshot. I also added greasemonkey and Scribefire (to troubleshoot) within the last week. The theme I use is Azerty. It’s so good lookin!

  6. lev says:

    :) :) it’s cruel but nize, did she forgive you?

    how I understood, you could just change her proxy in IE/FF settings to your web server.

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