Thursday, March 11, 2010

Illusions (or delusions) of Nerd Grandeur

Ok, if you get queasy at the thought of a wannabe hacker douche, please look away now.

A very good friend asked me to fix her sister's boyfriend's infected computer (referred to hereafter as SB.) She had warned me that he was an idiot, but I was completely unprepared for what I found.

I spent a couple hours trying to clean up the data in a VM environment. Cleared off literally hundreds of infections (all sorts of trojans, viruses, and assorted malware) with a variety of tools. Still not clean. Called my friend, explained that I could wipe and restore the system in less than an hour. She checked with the SB, he said no, he had never backed anything up. I'm thinking to myself "Ok, pretty much the stupidest move possible." I tell her I'll continue to try to clean it, but no promises of actually recovering anything. Apparently when she relayed this message, SB actually cried. SB demanded that his data be restored. Again, I made no promises.

Flash forward 10 more hours of cleaning. In the process I noticed he had multiple P2P software installed, including LimeWire, Kazaa, etc. He also has a very substantial collection of porn. I try to salvage everything I can. The problem started when his Symantec went out of subscription and he failed to renew it, update it, or even go get a different free anti-virus program.

Then I put the drive back in and try to boot it. I got the following screen:

You might notice that the profile name is called Lone Wolf. Ok, pretty douchey, but still, I've seen far worse. Now look at the bottom left corner of the screen. Yes, that does say "Turn off Hacking Computer"

I saw that and panicked. OMG, after all the work on this thing so far and its still hosed! I quickly snap a photo with my crackberry in case anyone has seen this sort of thing before. I forward it to my friend, who sends it on to SB.

A few hours later I get a text back from my friend "SB says he actually NAMED his computer Hacking Computer". Uh, wow. I call her back and we're both laughing so hard we nearly pee ourselves. We were both happily picturing every REAL hacker in the world busting into this computer and anally-raping SB over and over through the Internet, just to show him what real hacking is.

Please feel free to renumber this into your own order of stupidity. Here's mine:

1. Naming computer Hacking Computer
2. Not ever backing up ANY data...for 5 years. Yeah, 5. (this is based on age of the machine and dates of files)
3. Installing P2P and porn
4. Not keeping at least one up-to-date anti-virus program running.
5. Not knowing how to clean the computer after it got infected.
6. Not just saying "Ok, I guess I'm going to lose everything" and accepting the loss as a result of your own direct stupidity.

There are also the additional segments of dumb like disabling the firewall, allowing sharing of his entire hard drive through LimeWire, etc, but you can add or delete those as you feel like. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Power Failure

Okay, I just have to let this one out. Somebody in accounting got a phone call from a person who said he was from the power company, and wanted to let us know that we're going to have a power outage during the day tomorrow. They forwarded the call to IT (why?) and the power company guy (if he really was) left a message on our help desk voice mail.

Seeing some potential for ugliness, I alerted my boss and the guy who's in charge of facilities. There was some back-and-forth, from which I politely excused myself, leaving this for those in charge to deal with.

Later in the afternoon my boss sends me an email with the subject line "Power outage." The entire text of the message is "send an email to all staff." He's in a meeting where I can't contact him. I answer the email with "OK, but what should I say?" Of course, no answer. I decide to wait 15 minutes, as it's getting late in the day. No answer. So, I send out an all-staff email that basically says we have been warned of a power outage and have no further details.

And so, an email comes back from one of the Leaders of the Org. that asks "does this mean no lights, and no computers?"

So far I have restrained myself from answering it. If no one else replies to it, I guess I'll just say "yes."

This is what is known as a Career Limiting Opportunity (CLO).