Cluelessness abounds

So yesterday I received a rather interesting email. Subject: “INFOSEC Scholarships & Fellowships for PhD or MS + Free CISSP Exam Prep Events.” Hm, I didn’t know that “information security” suddenly became an all-caps acronym. How come no one asks me first about these things? Anyway, it purports to come from the University of Fairfax, who seems to be outsourcing their spam to I suppose if you’re gonna set up an outsourcing business, spam is as good as anything. There’s no paperclip icon next to the message, so I open it. Sure enough, it’s an ad enticing me to “advance my INFOSEC career to the next level” (the next time I hear “to the next level” I’m gonna throttle whoever says it) because “the federal information security budget will grow to $20B+ by 2008, will your INFOSEC career grow as fast?” I’m so happy that the University of Fairfax and Aladdin Knowledge Systems care so much about me! I’m honored! Yeah right.

Here’s the clueless, somewhat frightening, and hugely ironic part. This message — sent to me because I’m a subscriber at, advertising a way to learn more about security through courses and exam prep, had an ActiveX control attached! You’d think that people teaching security would know better, and you’d also think that would know better too and at least make sure the email abides by standard security practices. I guess not. Shame on you, and shame on you University of Fairfax. You’re doing exactly the wrong things to appeal to your intended audience.

Comments (2)

  1. Laura E. Hunter says:

    You know, I usually ignore the pop-ups from my RSS reader and catch up on everything once or twice a day. But when the pop-up reads "New post from Steve Riley: Cluelessness abounds"? I double-clicked so fast that I’m surprised I didn’t break my right index finger.

    I actually do quite a bit of writing for the TechTarget folks who control the search*.com family of websites – want me to put you in touch with someone over there? My email addy is up on my MVP profile if you want to follow up offline.

  2. steriley says:

    Thanks Laura, sounds good — sorry about your finger 🙂 But, um, I don’t know how to get to MVP profiles?