Shark Tank: Security first

Financial institution installs a push-button electronic lock on its data centre doors. 'The next evening, when our courier came for the nightly pickup, the driver walked in as usual,' says pilot fish on duty. 'Did someone leave the door open?' fish asks...

          After government auditors demand beefed-up security, this financial institution installs a push-button electronic lock on its data centre doors. "The next evening, when our courier came for the nightly pickup, the driver walked in as usual," says pilot fish on duty. "Did someone leave the door open?" fish asks. "No, it was closed and locked," says driver. "But when I see one of these locks newly installed, I just try the factory default combination. It generally works."

          But it sure looks great

          Just after video terminals replace keypunch machines at this college, one administrator insists he needs a terminal in his office. IT pilot fish knows it's the administrator's secretary who does all the inquiries for him, but the administrator gets his terminal anyway. "About two years later, the call comes that the terminal is smoking and needs to be replaced," says fish, who checks it out. "It has burned out from being in the sleep state. He's never been logged onto the system!"

          Hose it down

          IT pilot fish and his boss are working late when they notice the lights on the dial-in server are blinking. Out of curiosity, they run a trace on the firewall and identify the traffic as coming from pornographic websites. "Only one person was logged in: the CEO," says fish. Sometime later, CEO brings in his laptop and asks that fish "clean it up" so he can give it to his daughter. "Guess what we found in the browser cache?" says fish. "Images from those same sites."

          Forward into the past

          Customer tells this sales pilot fish that he can't use the vendor's website to order products. "Your helpdesk told us it's because we're running Mac OS X and the browser is incompatible with your site," customer says. Frustrated fish calls web manager and is told the customer has the story right. "But there's a work-around that has been tested and does work," web manager says. "Downgrade all the customer's Macintosh systems to Mac OS 8.5 and they'll work fine!"

          Lights out

          As the IT guy for this large church, pilot fish supports several travelling pastors -- including one who keeps calling about a low-battery warning on his laptop. Is the charger plugged in? fish asks the pastor during yet another call. "Yes, it is," pastor says. "And I really dislike you thinking I don't know how to operate my laptop!" Fish tries again: Is the outlet you plugged it into on a wall with a switch by the door? he asks politely. The response: Click.

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