Spoofing e-mail: A prank too far?

A week from today is, of course, April Fool’s Day. It’s also Friday, which means it’s the day for my department’s weekly colloquium. So I’m thinking that I’ll send out an announcement for the colloquium, giving the topic as perpetual motion devices or some such nonsense. OK, so far.

But I’m thinking, the prank would be much more effective if it appeared to come from the office lady who usually sends out the colloquium announcements. Now, I know how to do this (and the Powers that Be probably wouldn’t smile on telling how it’s done, anyway), but I’m not sure if I should. Is spoofing someone else’s e-mail address for an April Fool’s Day joke (and I’ll make it obvious that it’s a joke, of course) going too far? Should I just do it in my name instead? Or bring her in on it?

If you’re beginning to regret and doubt sending it even prior to sending it, you probably shouldn’t do it.

Bring her in on it! Don’t send it under someone else’s e-mail. I’d be pissed.

Not sure where you work but at my corporation this would be grounds for termination.
I’d think very carefully about this.

Unless she knows do not do this.

Also remember it’s gonna come out you did this and non-computer people are going to think you might be doing “other things” to their computers, 'cause you know how to spoof things.

Am I the only one that doesn’t understand how this is a prank?

I’m with the others. Do not do this. If people learn that you can hack their email account, you will get moved to IT or fired. Its a VERY bad idea.

I’m pretty sure that if you were to ask for a safe prank, the folks here would help out happily.

I’ve got stuff to do over the weekend, so I can’t start a thread about suggestions about work pranks. Please do it and I’ll happily read it when I can. The teeming millions can be very creative :smiley:

Do it in your name, or have her send the spoof e-mail from her own address. Don’t use her address–bad things will follow.

Nope. I didn’t get a word of the OP’s first paragraph.

Don’t. Even academic situations will have a low tolerance for this. Other options

  1. Bring her in on it. Seriously - even if she’s Little Miss Follow the Rules, she’d probably get a kick out of it, especially since it’s not harmful - you’re doing a silly prank, not a serious one that can get out of hand. You may develop a useful bond with her.

  2. make a second email account that is similar to, but obviously not her, that way no one can come down on you for compromising security. But option 1 is the way to go.

Messing with email signatures, even in jest, is one thing that makes network and IT types go absolutely nuclear and causes epic shit storms. You really do not want to do this and you especially do not want to bring her along for the ride.

I know it sounds pussy but I’ve discovered the higher up the ladder you go in life the less tolerance there is for messing around.

Allow me to help: April Fool’s Day is an annual tradition of practical jokes that takes place on the first day of April, which is a month in the Roman calendar. A perpetual motion device is a machine of physically impossible design, which therefore often features in hoaxes. A colloquium is some kind of academic meeting (I did have to Google that part, I admit).

get her to buy in on the prank.

Remember that DuckTales episode where Huey, Dewey, and Louie convince Uncle Scrooge that it’s Friday so they can get a good deal on a bike, and then Uncle Scrooge falls for it and goes back to work thinking it’s a different day than it actually is, but because he’s so powerful no one has the courage to tell him he’s wrong, and then the news spreads and the whole world starts to think it’s Friday, and it affects the stock market and the value of the dollar drops like a rock, and for a moment they all wonder if capitalism itself is going to crumble right before their eyes?

Yeah, don’t be like that.

April Fools pranks are for kids and other social deviants. Grow up already, and act like it—by not doing some stupid and obnoxious prank. But if you do, be sure to post a “Oh Shit, they fired my ass because I was stupid” thread so we can all laugh at you.

This. As a support technician, it’s long been a policy of mine not to do “cute” computer tricks when technologically unsophisticated people are or could be involved. Most of them don’t understand how they work, and may reject any explanation that doesn’t involve the “obvious” truth that “hacking” was going on.

To clarify, what Chronos wants to do does not involve or require access to the secretary’s or any other email account in any way. The From: field in email is specified by the sender. It is possible to make any email appear to be from any address, even ones that don’t exist. While the message headers will reveal what is actually going on, even an understanding IT department will be pressured to “handle” the “obvious breach”.

I’ve spent the morning dealing with having our home email account spoofed (complete with a computer guy bringing his fight with my brother-in-law, another computer guy, into it), and my response to this is “NOT NO BUT HELL NO!” Do an April Fool’s joke that isn’t uncomfortably close to a pain-in-the-ass thing that’s really going on in the world.

Brilliant idea! I’m going to have the chief’s secretary send out an announcement that there will be an evacuation drill at 10.00 am to simulate an extraterrestrial invasion!

I think I’m seeing a consensus forming here. OK, then, I’ll go ahead and do it.

(just kidding)
I’ll just bring her in on it, then. It’ll still be a good (and harmless) joke on everyone else in the department.

Quoth Markxxx:

Yeah, this was what got me wondering whether I should in the first place. With my more tech-savvy friends, I wouldn’t have worried about it, because they’d know that I hadn’t compromised any actual security to do this, but I don’t know how tech-savvy the secretary is in this regard, and so she might think I was doing something nefarious with her account.

Oh I warned you, but secretly I want you to do it so you can have some HUGE drama at work where eventually you’re tased and hauled away to jail where the warden makes you tutor his slow but voluptuous daughter in math and… well… I’m just in it for the stories.