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1Top Tales of IT Terror

It Came From the DeepThe data recovery experts at Kroll Ontrack once received a laptop that had been absolutely soaked in saltwater. The story goes that the guy who owned the notebook had brought it with him on vacation so he could catch up on email on the beach. At one point he decided to go for a swim but didn’t want to leave his precious computer unattended. So instead he put it in a plastic bag and brought it with him for a dip! Needless to say, the bag didn’t work. It’s NOT safe to go back in the water.

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Hidden Porn StashOne anonymous IT expert recalls working once with a system administrator in the public sector who used root access to the organization’s Unix systems to create hidden directories in which to stash his porn collection. The gig was up when his classy compilation grew so large it started crashing applications. Oh, the horror.

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Screensaver from HellRainer Enders, CTO of Americas for NCP Engineering, says he once worked with a company that had a remote warehouse that used a VPN through Terminal Servers without any problems for years. Then one day the company began receiving giant, scary bills for anywhere between 5 GB to 15 GB of data use. An investigation revealed that it wasn’t file servers, hacking or online video hogging possessing the bandwidth. It was the screensaver from hell – set up to stream to a thin client over the VPN at about 1 MB per minute.

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Laptop TortureAnother vacation mishap that a Kroll Ontrack customer went through came from leaving the computer at home rather than bringing it along. This time the customer thought that he’d hide the laptop from potential thieves by putting it in the most unlikely of spots: the oven. But when his wife arrived home first she turned on the oven to roast a chicken, instead roasting his machine.

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Downtime DisasterIT veteran Nancy Hand says that at one large utility company she once worked for in the time when SANs were new, she experienced a downtime nightmare of epic proportions. Her team had ported most of the company’s applications to a new SAN with full failover capabilities. The SAN had to be patched, though, so the team worked out a date and time for scheduled downtime to take the SAN and its applications offline and apply the patches. All went well until it was time to boot the new SAN servers back up. They wouldn’t budge and the phones started ringing off the hook. It took a whole week to get the servers back up.

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Core Router RevengeAn anonymous IT manager reports that while working as at a major service provider he and his department decided to fire one of their network engineers due to an HR violation. Unfortunately, the rumor mill was faster than the escorts could arrive to see him out of the building. Before he packed up his desk toys and calendar, this disgruntled engineer changed all of the passwords to the core routers.

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What’s Due Dilligence?Peter Doggart, director of product marketing for Crossbeam, once met a prospect at a large financial institution who was in the middle of getting over eating some serious crow in front of his boss when it came to the purchase of a ‘high-end’ next-generation firewall. Seems that he trusted the vendor’s performance claims without testing them. Upon installation throughput fell through the basement. When he worked with the vendor to troubleshoot, the process they took him through to improve performance had him turn off every single one of the security features included in the product.