*****Computer Risk Bulletin #478*****

Warning Notice M.U.D-1

On the 3rd of September, 1992 the computing world was rocked by the horror of a new computer-originated illness and the life it claimed.

Eldred Squires, a 26 year old Operator/Administrator at major British Chemical Company was the first victim. At approximately 9:03am, Squires logged into his personal account, ees, and sent some email to a friend at a remote site. Logging out, he then proceeded to log into the operator account to clean up some problematic printing queues. Following this, he logged out and logged into a test account to check that his print queues were accepting data from normal users. Finding that all was well, he logged out, then logged into the root account to create a new username to receive helpdesk mail, not realizing the mortal danger he was in. Wanting to test this new username, he logged out from root and proceeded to login to his new account. Barely three letters into his twelve letter alphanumeric password, he slumped forward across his keyboard, dead.

Investigators, on arriving at the scene could find no reason for his death and elected to wait for further information from the outcome of the autopsy.

The Autopsy revealed that the victim's cerebral cortex suffered damage consistant with heating of the brain to approximately 120 degrees celcius. Still no nearer to the solution of the death, Computer and Workplace Safety Officers decided to recreate, using accounting logs and user audits, the circumstances leading up to the tragedy. Shielding the testing officer from the equipment with leaded glass, the team commenced their tests. Within five minutes, another victim lay sprawled across the keyboard, a fine patina of sweat on their brow.

Admitting defeat, the Safety Office called in an expert in Computer Related Deaths, Dr Brian Analpeeper. Within minutes of examining the logs and audits Analpeeper was able to correctly diagnose the cause of death. Multiple Username Disorders.

Multiple Username Disorders, Analpeeper explained, are a dangerous new side-effect of the current computing mindset. People become encumbered with several usernames until, ultimately, their brain fries out. Analpeeper also explained that for years the Social Sciences had been aware of the existance of Multiple Personality Disorders (commonly mis-referred to as Split Person- alities) and that in a small way, M.U.Ds were in fact a computer replication of this.

"People are required to maintain several accounts for various purposes, One for say, an Administration function, one for their own personal use, another for normal work, and perhaps yet another for financial and charging matters. Sooner or later the combination of what is required of the user of these accounts will wreak it's havoc on the brain, causing mass cerebric hysteria. Of course some people have a higher tolerance to this than others, yet there is *no* way of accurately judging how far we can push a user."

Later, in a harmless demonstration, Dr Analpeeper, took a volunteer and assigned him 5 usernames for different purposes. Victim number 3 fell to the floor in a lifeless heap.

"I lied about it being harmless," Analpeeper said. "So sue me."

Months later scientists are still no nearer finding a solution to the problem, mainly because they're too scared to login to the research computers. Life goes on, or sometimes it doesn't.

Are you in danger?

In an effort to reduce the deaths and crippling side effects of Multiple Username Disorder, the Computer Risk Committee has compiled this list of warning symptoms:

Victim may:
Should one or more of these symptoms be present, STOP USING YOUR ACCOUNT NOW! Logout and walk away. Life is, after all, too precious..