Malware alert! Oh, never mind

A user raises the alarm with reports of malware, which turns out to be anything but

I work in tech support for a fairly large travel company. We have several office locations, and some of the employees telecommute from their homes. Troubleshooting tech problems can make for some interesting situations.

A few years ago, a manager who worked offsite and was fairly knowledgeable about technology called our support desk to report that some malware had infected her computer. The user stated that there was an image on her screen of a duck that was blocking the system tray and clock area, which was bothersome and making it difficult to work. She reported that the duck had been there since the day before.

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The tech support engineer who took the call ran through the routine to determine what kind of malware or issue she might be having.

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After several minutes spent trying to determine the cause of this duck on her screen, he realized that he was unable to see the image via remote desktop, nor could he determine what possibly could be causing such a problem.

I worked in the office closest to the user, so the tech support engineer assigned the case to me and instructed the user to bring her laptop to our office to have it evaluated. I called her and set up a time to look at the laptop.

The day before she was to bring it in, she called and left a voicemail saying that there was no longer a problem, but no explanation about what the issue had been.

I was curious to determine why there was no longer a problem, so I called her. She proceeded to tell me that the image of the duck was simply a sticker. She had a fan in her office that must have blown the sticker from where it was on the bulletin board to her screen, where it landed. She was embarrassed, but laughed at herself.

I am not sure how she could have missed the fact that the image stayed present when she shut her machine off, or not noticed how the sticker was raised and stuck onto the screen. Maybe she was so busy with work that she didn't look into it very carefully. But whatever the reason, it took a few days for her to figure out that it simply was a sticker of a duck. We were relieved that it wasn't something serious and got a good chuckle out of it.

I guess we all have our "d'oh" moments that keep life from getting too boring.

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This story, "Malware alert! Oh, never mind," was originally published at Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.