I had the creepiest IM conversation recently, from an IM handle I have never seen before (handle has been changed to protect, um, whoever) :

(11:01:18) M****N: hi
(11:01:28) Christopher Fahey: who’s this?
(11:01:31) M****N: hi
(11:01:36) Christopher Fahey: who’s this?
(11:01:41) M****N: m****n
(11:01:47) Christopher Fahey: obviously
(11:01:53) M****N: ok
(11:02:00) M****N: i dont know u
(11:02:22) Christopher Fahey: you shouldn’t talk to strangers
(11:02:34) M****N: i no u shouldnt
(11:02:37) M****N: bye
(11:02:42) M****N: creep
(11:09:55) M****N logged out.

First of all, I’m the creep?!? I wasn’t the one chatting up a stranger.

Secondly, this is not the first time I’ve gotten unsolicited IMs from strangers. What is up with people who strike up chats with other random AIM users? Where on earth do they get our IM handles from, and what drives them in the first place to seek out strangers for chatting?

There are all kinds of ways of imagining the sordid stories behind these messages, and I don’t like any of them because they all lead to the same three basic possibilities:

  1. Some people type randomly into IM clients until they reach a real person
  2. There’s a spider/harvester program out there crawling the net for IM handles and publishing them somewhere so people like M****N can find strangers to talk to.
  3. Someone I know (a friend or a colleague?) gave my name to someone (who gave it to someone, etc.) who gave it to M***N.

None of these make me happy.

I’m going to start posting songs about my posts. Many of them will be from The Fall. Here’s The Fall’s song about creeps, entitled C.R.E.E.P.:



4 responses to “C.R.E.E.P.”

  1. that was funny.. i like ur blog

    but i find it creepier and funnier, when random strangers comment on other people’s blogs that they happen to come across when looking for graph paper online.

  2. I really ought to sell graphpaper on this site. Make a tidy side income.

  3. Great blog! I used to have one like this in WordPress.

    There are many “creepy” people who’d start calling you names when you tell them you don’t like replying to the same person more than once a day (I am NOT some organisation customer service to be replying that often!) Friends DO NOT need to write everyday…much less more than once a day.

    BTW, pls place your nice face on my map when you visit my page. Thanks!

  4. Chris, what you experienced was a form of port attack. Specifically, while you were engaged in “chatting” they were testing which ports you are using and the security of your system.

    When a stranger IMs you from an address you do not know – you are better to block them rather than let them probe.

    Similar to the movies in which people stay on the phone call and then get traced, by maintaining an IM you give them great opportunity to probe your systems.

    This was not some wacko weirdo IMing randomly.