Caymanians e-mail called a virus

An e-mail circulated to companies and government entities around the Cayman Islands this week was described as a virus by some government IT managers who urged recipients not to click on a link contained in the e-mail.

‘DO NOT under any circumstance click on this link as it will activate the virus and introduce it into the authority’s IT network,’ an e-mail sent to staff members of one statutory authority advised. ‘This virus cripples the entire IT infrastructure i.e. e-mail, printing, document files, databases etc.’

However, officials with the government’s Computer Services Department later said they doubted the e-mail was a virus, and said at worst, it could be an attempt at ‘phishing’ – fraudulently attempting to obtain certain personal information from respondents.

‘From what I’ve been able to determine, though suspicious, it’s not a virus,’ said computer services Deputy Director Wesley Howell.

The Caymanian Compass contacted the site administrator at the e-mail address provided. An anonymous response indicated that the site was a legitimate effort.

The message in the e-mail, supposedly sent by representatives from a group called ‘Caymanians for Caymanians,’ contained a lengthy text which was generally a complaint about the unemployment status of local workers and ‘elitists’.

‘There are hundreds, maybe thousands of us who are competent, qualified and willing to work,’ the e-mail stated. ‘Yet we remain unemployed in a society where there are thousands of jobs filled with expatriates. What are the reasons for this?’

‘This movement is not just about the unemployed. There are many employed Caymanians who are frustrated because they are being denied basic benefits, training and promotion. Civil servants are afraid to speak up for fear of victimization. Even if you are satisfied, there are relatives and other folks you know being victimized. We are open to all citizens with a right to vote.’

The final paragraph of the e-mail asks those who wished to ‘benefit from this movement’ to click on a link contained in the e-mail and to complete the form, after which the site administrators would contact the sender promising to keep the sender’s information confidential.

The form asks respondents for certain personal information, including name, gender, birth-date, phone number and e-mail address.

‘All measures have been put in place to safeguard against this being received by our servers,’ the government IT manager’s e-mail read.

Mr. Howell said that a website associated with the group ‘Caymanians for Caymanians’ is being hosted on www.hostzi.com.

‘This is a conscious and deliberate action to host with a company which makes it difficult to figure out a person or company behind the website,’ he said.

Computer services officials said the reasons site administrators wanted respondents’ e-mail addresses were not known.

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