I decided to come in today, New Years Eve, to see how things were going. Not good. We have just a skeleton staff working and they were rattled. Last week, there was the usual snow of incoming Trojan Christmas cards sent from Uzbekistan pretty much all harmless to us as they are aimed at the benighted Gatestax payers.
As a result, reassuringly open sauce as we are, we may have got a bit complacent - it seems we have an infection. The assailant has been careful in his targeting. For example, one problem appears to be a carefully arranged corruption of the office grammar checker. Every other paragraph in every e-mail, letter and report now mysteriously contains a grammatically correct and appropriately positioned obscenity.
This was not noticed until the post had gone. Anyone receiving a new planning application acknowledgement, housing benefits determination or letter from the director of education confirming their little ones' suspension from school, is in for something of a reassessment of the council's customer care approach.
I found myself in work on New Years Day. A terrible thing for a Highlander, but I felt I must be seen to support the techies, who were all in and working on tracking down the virus. I was drunk of course, but at least I was there to pass the bottle around.
The real concern is that the tomfoolery that is going on - today the website spontaneously replaced our homepage with that of dcupdivas.com - is just a cover for someone stealing personal data. I mean this is Bogcaster, a city council not a government department. We do not just send the stuff out to the fraudsters in the post.
We are, we hope, now sanitised. The last little difficulty, the sending of very explicitly detailed dogging invitations to random members of the e-mail list, happened yesterday afternoon. Since then nothing. Mind you, the further reaches of Tesco's carpark were much busier and noisier than normal last night.
Have we lost any personal data? Of course not. Our systems are foolproof, and I will be issuing a reassuring statement to that effect to the local press. Just as soon as I have completed the transfer of my bank account, re-ordered my credit cards, reported my driving licence and passport as stolen, sold the house and moved into a hotel under an assumed name.
"Happy New Year!" announced Mavis on returning to work this morning. "Is it?" I replied.
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Thanks Microsoft - we now know that everybody prefers ODF to OOXML for government document standards