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BW Businessworld

No Joke Among Jokes

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April 1st I found it difficult to believe any and every news item I read. That was difficult because I didn't know whether to believe whether Facebook had actually put in the ability to migrate your personal page to a business page, whether it was true that Ali Davar the founder and CEO of the iPad news aggregator Zite, which I wrote about recently (and which has become one of my favorite news apps) received a cease and desist order from US publishers. I also didn't know whether Google has really come up with a face recognition app and whether the CEO of GoDaddy really killed an elephant. It seems this is serious.

By now you will all have fallen for the wonderful Google April Fool pranks and seen how LinkedIn suggests you connect with Robin Hood, Tolkein and Hemmingway. If you missed those, they've gone down as internet history, so you must see them. My favorite is the one in which a Michael Taylor explains how he started out as a Spellchecker for Google, predicting what it is you're trying to search for when you make a spelling mistake and Google asks "Did you mean…" He graduated to Autocompleter and is the one person who quickly types in the results when you search for something on Google Instant. But the work is too much for one person and Google needs more autocompleters. 

But a story that is not funny, no joke, and unfortunately true is that thousand of sites (or millions, says PC World) have been hit by a massive cyber attack. And it's an attack that's still going on.  Making us realize that while we've been busy with our cricket fever and April Fool jokes, someone has fooled us yet again and with full malice. Named LizaMoon after the site that the malicious script spreading over the internet links to, it's called an SQL Injection and leads the user to a rogue site called the Windows Stability Center and tells you that your computer has many viruses and that you have to pay for their removal. It's worth skimming through the FAQ at WebSense even though it's technical. After all, with people falling for the most outlandish pranks online, you never know what they'll believe.

The author is editorial director at Mindworks Global Media Services

mala(at)pobox (dot)com,

@malabhargava on Twitter