Video spoof a knockout at MoD
Sam Jones
Tuesday May 17, 2005
The Guardian

When the Ministry of Defence's technical staff drew up a list of the many threats to their computer systems, they probably flagged up everything from cyberterrorists to deranged hackers - not to mention huge electromagnetic pulse weapons.

What they had not reckoned with, though, was the technological menace of a bunch of squaddies armed with a video camera and an idiosyncratic take on Peter Kay's recent No 1, Is This The Way to Amarillo?

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A spoof clip of the song, shot by British soldiers in the Iraqi desert, found its way on to the terminals of MoD workers, who downloaded it so much that they crashed the ministry's entire system for five hours last Friday. The soldiers' homage - renamed Is This The Way To Armadillo? to reflect its parched setting - surfaced on a website last week.

Before long, soldiers and other MoD employees were eagerly downloading and forwarding the clip, which takes up a hefty 52 megabytes of computer memory.

Tickled by images of a Peter Kay lookalike flanked by other soldiers in Y-fronts and webbing, one MoD officer after another emailed it to colleagues until the system gave out. The video even found its way to the MoD's top-secret Strike Command headquarters at High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.

Last night an MoD spokesman downplayed suggestions that the prank had posed a real security threat. He said the crashing of the entire system "did not affect operations" at any time. "We had a laugh at the video," said the spokesman. "You've got to see the funny side of it."

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