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:
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!