HELP .. serious !!!


J

Johanna

Just a message of encouragement for you John, what a crazy (but
entertaining :) drama! What came of the BIOS virus? I never even seen one.

Well, isn't it insane the kinds of tech environments that some
supposedly serious organisations have?

For something that is a complete disaster, they pay various companies
and consultancies hundreds of thousands a year in support and other
fees... (I could mention some names (hehe) that you'd recognise but
since I am actually using my real and unusual Christian name, I won't.)

From the software perspective you have to wonder if they rolled a dice
rather than actually stop to think how things would operate together.

Throw in one empire-building IT director, his incompetent but
career-driven sidekick and you've got something that's representative of
so many organisations. (As a woman in IT you are somewhat on the outside
and get a less biased perspective on what the guys are up to...)

Then try to get some work done there, actually achieving some positive
change... and you're asking for trouble! ;-)

Jo
 
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J

johns

Onsite .. Federal Computer .. DELL Optiplex 280. Dell
tech support has replaced every part in it over a period
of 5 weeks. Lady is mad as hell! I got recommended.
Go in and see error message DISK ERROR on the
black bootup screen. Disk is SATA 150. OS is Federal
Kludge of Win2000 .. a real piece of garbage for sure.
Dell has her in vicious cycle of parts swapping and
walk out the door. Lots of valuable data on this box.
Last Dell tech replaced the hard drive with OS on it.
Every other part in the box has been replaced under
warranty. Still same DISK ERROR after post.
Here's what I see:

On boot, hit F12 to get boot selection screen, and
boot to WinXP install CD. The install CD sees
the hard drive ... sees the OS installed ... and can
tell how much free space is on the drive.

On boot, hit F2 to enter setup. All settings in BIOS
look normal. Hit F2 again, and try to run Dell diags
from the hard drive .. immediate DISK ERROR.

On boot, hit F2 and boot the Dell Diag CD, and run
all extensive diags from there. Everything, including
the hard drive passes all tests. Good ram, good cpu,
good hard drive. All tests pass. All psupply voltages
are correct.

Can never get to F8 for Safe Mode.

Tomorrow, I'm going to haul a spare SATA over there
with WinXP installed on it ( I'm not allowed to install
anything on a Federal PC ). I can swap that spare
SATA in, and if it boots ... which I'm very sure it will
.... then this Federal PC has been hacked ... and I
want a piece of who did it. Reason I think it is a
hack is on the Dell web site for their error messages,
there is no such thing on a Dell as DISK ERROR.
This looks like a boot sector hack. Any of you home
guys ever seen this error message?

johns
 
D

DonLogan

johns said:
Onsite .. Federal Computer .. DELL Optiplex 280. Dell
tech support has replaced every part in it over a period
of 5 weeks. Lady is mad as hell! I got recommended.
Go in and see error message DISK ERROR on the
black bootup screen. Disk is SATA 150. OS is Federal
Kludge of Win2000 .. a real piece of garbage for sure.
Dell has her in vicious cycle of parts swapping and
walk out the door. Lots of valuable data on this box.
Last Dell tech replaced the hard drive with OS on it.
Every other part in the box has been replaced under
warranty. Still same DISK ERROR after post.
Here's what I see:

On boot, hit F12 to get boot selection screen, and
boot to WinXP install CD. The install CD sees
the hard drive ... sees the OS installed ... and can
tell how much free space is on the drive.

On boot, hit F2 to enter setup. All settings in BIOS
look normal. Hit F2 again, and try to run Dell diags
from the hard drive .. immediate DISK ERROR.

On boot, hit F2 and boot the Dell Diag CD, and run
all extensive diags from there. Everything, including
the hard drive passes all tests. Good ram, good cpu,
good hard drive. All tests pass. All psupply voltages
are correct.

Can never get to F8 for Safe Mode.

Tomorrow, I'm going to haul a spare SATA over there
with WinXP installed on it ( I'm not allowed to install
anything on a Federal PC ). I can swap that spare
SATA in, and if it boots ... which I'm very sure it will
... then this Federal PC has been hacked ... and I
want a piece of who did it. Reason I think it is a
hack is on the Dell web site for their error messages,
there is no such thing on a Dell as DISK ERROR.
This looks like a boot sector hack. Any of you home
guys ever seen this error message?

johns
funny seeing you, of the "386 novell" days again. What a surprise.
What is your job function? what department? And where do the
know-it-alls fit in? like a soap opera.
 
J

JAD

johns said:
Onsite .. Federal Computer .. DELL Optiplex 280. Dell
tech support has replaced every part in it over a period
of 5 weeks. Lady is mad as hell! I got recommended.
Go in and see error message DISK ERROR on the
black bootup screen. Disk is SATA 150. OS is Federal
Kludge of Win2000 .. a real piece of garbage for sure.
Dell has her in vicious cycle of parts swapping and
walk out the door. Lots of valuable data on this box.
Last Dell tech replaced the hard drive with OS on it.
Every other part in the box has been replaced under
warranty. Still same DISK ERROR after post.
Here's what I see:

On boot, hit F12 to get boot selection screen, and
boot to WinXP install CD. The install CD sees
the hard drive ... sees the OS installed ... and can
tell how much free space is on the drive.

On boot, hit F2 to enter setup. All settings in BIOS
look normal. Hit F2 again, and try to run Dell diags
from the hard drive .. immediate DISK ERROR.

On boot, hit F2 and boot the Dell Diag CD, and run
all extensive diags from there. Everything, including
the hard drive passes all tests. Good ram, good cpu,
good hard drive. All tests pass. All psupply voltages
are correct.

Can never get to F8 for Safe Mode.

Tomorrow, I'm going to haul a spare SATA over there
with WinXP installed on it ( I'm not allowed to install
anything on a Federal PC ). I can swap that spare
SATA in, and if it boots ... which I'm very sure it will
... then this Federal PC has been hacked ... and I
want a piece of who did it.
reaks of a job By Crash Override or Zero Cool...or even Acid Burn......good
luck finding them GMAB




Reason I think it is a
 
J

johns

Bunch of Fed servers are down too, just learned.
Brief history on google says may be Chernobyl
virus. Also, they have no email spam filtering.
No security against opening anything. No onsite
administrator. Absurd computer environment.
Entire thing is outsourced to Dell techs who come
on site and swap parts and do no troubleshooting
at all. And, even better, the Dell Techs are called
onsite by remote "gubernment techs" who equally
do no troubleshooting and rely on the local users
to tell them what is "wrong". All this bullshit from
the Feds about "Homeland Security", and I find
that they don't even meet the standards of a
Kindergarden. And there is not one competent
onsite computer tech to maintain their systems.
Add to this, one user down for 5 weeks, and
she is a research scientist who can't access
her data. I took her so-called bad hard drive,
which the Dell tech left, and slaved it into a PC
back at my office, and simply copied off all her
data intact. The drive is fine. But, the FAT BUTTS
say I can't reinstall her OS.

johns
 
J

johns

I'm an honest to gosh real computer tech .. not some kid
at the Dell Toy Shop or sitting in India. This Federal setup
is not up to my 386 days .. what ... 14 years ago? I can't
believe what I'm seeing. The size of the total OS and data
is about 8 gig. I could have restored an image of that in
about 6 minutes, and had her back up and productive
5 weeks ago. Instead, she has to call someone who calls
someone else to come on site and swap a part when
nothings broke. I actually heard the Dell bastard start
her completely over from the beginning by asking her
if her PC was plugged in. He was reading from his
troubleshooting list. Morons.

johns
 
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P

Peter

Onsite .. Federal Computer .. DELL Optiplex 280. Dell
tech support has replaced every part in it over a period
of 5 weeks. Lady is mad as hell! I got recommended.
Go in and see error message DISK ERROR on the
black bootup screen. Disk is SATA 150. OS is Federal
Kludge of Win2000 .. a real piece of garbage for sure.
Dell has her in vicious cycle of parts swapping and
walk out the door. Lots of valuable data on this box.
Last Dell tech replaced the hard drive with OS on it.
Every other part in the box has been replaced under
warranty. Still same DISK ERROR after post.
Here's what I see:

On boot, hit F12 to get boot selection screen, and
boot to WinXP install CD. The install CD sees
the hard drive ... sees the OS installed ... and can
tell how much free space is on the drive.

On boot, hit F2 to enter setup. All settings in BIOS
look normal. Hit F2 again, and try to run Dell diags
from the hard drive .. immediate DISK ERROR.

On boot, hit F2 and boot the Dell Diag CD, and run
all extensive diags from there. Everything, including
the hard drive passes all tests. Good ram, good cpu,
good hard drive. All tests pass. All psupply voltages
are correct.

Can never get to F8 for Safe Mode.

Tomorrow, I'm going to haul a spare SATA over there
with WinXP installed on it ( I'm not allowed to install
anything on a Federal PC ). I can swap that spare
SATA in, and if it boots ... which I'm very sure it will
... then this Federal PC has been hacked ... and I
want a piece of who did it. Reason I think it is a
hack is on the Dell web site for their error messages,
there is no such thing on a Dell as DISK ERROR.
This looks like a boot sector hack. Any of you home
guys ever seen this error message?

johns
Can you tried an XP CD, Repair option and then FIXBOOT, FIXMBR?
 
D

DonLogan

johns said:
I'm an honest to gosh real computer tech .. not some kid
at the Dell Toy Shop or sitting in India. This Federal setup
is not up to my 386 days .. what ... 14 years ago? I can't
believe what I'm seeing. The size of the total OS and data
is about 8 gig. I could have restored an image of that in
about 6 minutes, and had her back up and productive
5 weeks ago. Instead, she has to call someone who calls
someone else to come on site and swap a part when
nothings broke. I actually heard the Dell bastard start
her completely over from the beginning by asking her
if her PC was plugged in. He was reading from his
troubleshooting list. Morons.

johns
I apologize
I was rude
sorry
 
J

johns

I'm going to do an end run like that on a spare
SATA drive I have .. install XP, and set up a
snooper like F-secure firewall to spot the ip-
address of the hacker. I'm not allowed to touch
the OS of a Fed PC, but I can put my own
disk in there and log the scans. It is either
some kind of screwed up Big Brudder thing,
or it is a hack. Just learned that Dell lost
their federal contract .. so maybe we have
a revenge thing going on. Imagine that .. a
ticked off company trying to take down the
Federal Government. I'll drop my evidence
right on a Judges desk.

johns
 
J

johns

I know about that .. and that is why I talk to you guys
on the home builders group. I doubt that Big Bro takes
us seriously, and yet we are the first to see the garbage
because we are out there playing around. You can't
do that on your job ... and probably every key you
touch is logged. The Feds use Tivoli, and pull a disk
image to their servers in real time. They are so paranoid
that their security is aimed at themselves more than
at outsider tresspass. And they are their own worst
hackers. If the rest of our Federal Government is run
like this, I doubt they are hitting a lick at a snake.
This lady has been down for 5 weeks, and her job
depends on her PC. I was called in as a "friend"
.... to just have a quick look ... and I can't believe
my eyes at the total incompetence in our Federal
Database. Those guys are not trained, and they
don't give a damn.

johns
 
J

jtpryan

DonLogan said:
I apologize
I was rude
sorry
I wouldn't apologize. These messages are like the rantings of a
madman. None of it makes any sense and appears to be entirely
fabricated. The Federal government brings in somebody that isn't
capable of writing an English sentence (and not foreign born)? I think
not. Somebody has been down for 5 weeks that "depends" on her
computer. Right. Mucking about with all of this instead of just
installing a new drive and restoring from backup? Please.

If you ask me this is a post by a Dell basher, an unhappy customer.

-jtpr
 
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J

johns

The new Dell drive IS RESTORED from backup
image. -->Dell has to go to the Feds to<--
get the image, and the old image cannot be
taken offsite. However, I took it anyway, and
slaved it, and the old drive is fine. The new
drive ( with image ) does exactly the same thing,
and I can test it and read it from the XP install
disk ( something the Fed hackers can't block ).
That means, she is being hacked for 5 weeks,
and her own tech support will not walk in the
door. I was able to recover her data .. and
eventually, I am going to fingerprint that drive
and go after who did it !!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm betting
I'll see it in boot.ini because DISK ERROR is
not a valid Dell error message.

johns
 
S

Senex

johns said:
The new Dell drive IS RESTORED from backup
image. -->Dell has to go to the Feds to<--
get the image, and the old image cannot be
taken offsite. However, I took it anyway, and
slaved it, and the old drive is fine. The new
drive ( with image ) does exactly the same thing,
and I can test it and read it from the XP install
disk ( something the Fed hackers can't block ).
That means, she is being hacked for 5 weeks,
and her own tech support will not walk in the
door. I was able to recover her data .. and
eventually, I am going to fingerprint that drive
and go after who did it !!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm betting
I'll see it in boot.ini because DISK ERROR is
not a valid Dell error message.

johns
You'd better be careful. I did that once and my belly-button auto
unscrewed and my ass fell off. Haven't been able to sit down since. :)

--
_______________________________________________________________________

Do people who spend $2.00 apiece for those little bottles of Evian water
know that spelling Evian backwards gives the word Naive?

Senex
 
J

johns

It will be worth it just to nail the India Division of our
Federal Government. This has got to be a balled
up security hack. They've outsourced their fannies.

johns
 
S

Senex

johns said:
It will be worth it just to nail the India Division of our
Federal Government. This has got to be a balled
up security hack. They've outsourced their fannies.
Heheh, so that's where mine went. Friggin' India.

--
_______________________________________________________________________

Do people who spend $2.00 apiece for those little bottles of Evian water
know that spelling Evian backwards gives the word Naive?

Senex
 
J

Johanna

johns said:
It will be worth it just to nail the India Division of our
Federal Government. This has got to be a balled
up security hack. They've outsourced their fannies.

johns
(didn't follow that - Let us know if you find anything about this hack
though. What part of the government is this woman working at?

I agree with the guy who said it all sounded very crazy, but that's what
the world of large IT operations is sometimes like.

I have worked with Dell consultants and... some are good, others aren't.
They tend to start out with a couple of guys, then after you turn your
back, they're practically running that department, including software
development. If the organisation in question lacks strong IT direction,
it would then be at the mercy of Dell basically. Dell tells them what
they're going to do, how and when and what the price is. Not to mention
what hardware they must use... (I have nothing in particular against
Dell, for the record - there are lots of consultancies out there who are
a lot worse)

None of what Johns mentioned is particularly shocking to anybody who's
worked in a large IT department. I'm 30 and have worked in some large
and well-known organisations. I am sure others have the same experience
and noticed the same things.

At a certain world leading East Asian car manufacturer, "IT security" is
very tight for a number of reasons. Internet restrictions are really
heavy, likewise you cannot bring a non-corporate laptop into the IT
department. Emails are extremely strictly filtered and mobile phones
cannot be used. This environment is really frustrating to work in.

Hence every consultant working there is using private memory sticks as a
second hard drive, while on fully networked corporate desktops!
(Otherwise it would be impossible to get any work done). But that
immediately forfeits the whole super-ambitious security setup! The same
person who decided on the security policy, lets this go on right under
his nose! Hello????!

(You could copy quite a lot of business sensitive info onto a 2GB stick,
assuming you have a decent access level - which you would as a techie.)
Or you could copy freshly written viruses galore off the same stick and
onto the network....
(The way this particular company treat their staff, it is a matter of
time until exactly that happens!))

Then there was another time when I (as a non UK citizen) worked with a
system which only UK citizens with a a certain type of security
clearance (quite hard to get) were supposed to be allowed to see. I have
a slight foreign accent, so it was not exactly a big secret that I was
not British! When I realised what the situation was (it was recorded
all over the customer's documentation) I never mentioned it to anybody.
I really liked that project and did not want to be taken off it. But is
very strange that nobody else noticed or brought it up...

(I even visited two very fascinating military installations in
connection with this project and was treated very nicely and shown some
really cool mainframe defence systems, among other things. The security
was very obvious, extensive check when entering etc. And even then,
nobody seemed to clock that I was foreign, but managing a classified
project! They just 'forgot' to check me, I guess.

It is quite right that the greatest IT security threats are from within
- the human factor and just plain stupidity which may afflict anybody on
a really bad day. Working in IT you must learn to hold your tongue about
stuff like this and pretend that all is well and perfectly logical.
Pointing out the contradictions are a good way of digging a hole for
yourself. As you may guess from this ramblings I am a bit disillusioned
with corporate IT at the minute ;-)
Hannah
 
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S

Senex

Johanna stunned us with this revelation on 10/11/2006 :

(didn't follow that - Let us know if you find anything about this hack
though. What part of the government is this woman working at?

I agree with the guy who said it all sounded very crazy, but that's what the
world of large IT operations is sometimes like.

I have worked with Dell consultants and... some are good, others aren't. They
tend to start out with a couple of guys, then after you turn your back,
they're practically running that department, including software development.
If the organisation in question lacks strong IT direction, it would then be
at the mercy of Dell basically. Dell tells them what they're going to do, how
and when and what the price is. Not to mention what hardware they must use...
(I have nothing in particular against Dell, for the record - there are lots
of consultancies out there who are a lot worse)

None of what Johns mentioned is particularly shocking to anybody who's worked
in a large IT department. I'm 30 and have worked in some large and well-known
organisations. I am sure others have the same experience and noticed the same
things.

At a certain world leading East Asian car manufacturer, "IT security" is very
tight for a number of reasons. Internet restrictions are really heavy,
likewise you cannot bring a non-corporate laptop into the IT department.
Emails are extremely strictly filtered and mobile phones cannot be used. This
environment is really frustrating to work in.

Hence every consultant working there is using private memory sticks as a
second hard drive, while on fully networked corporate desktops! (Otherwise it
would be impossible to get any work done). But that immediately forfeits the
whole super-ambitious security setup! The same person who decided on the
security policy, lets this go on right under his nose! Hello????!

(You could copy quite a lot of business sensitive info onto a 2GB stick,
assuming you have a decent access level - which you would as a techie.) Or
you could copy freshly written viruses galore off the same stick and onto the
network....
(The way this particular company treat their staff, it is a matter of time
until exactly that happens!))

Then there was another time when I (as a non UK citizen) worked with a system
which only UK citizens with a a certain type of security clearance (quite
hard to get) were supposed to be allowed to see. I have a slight foreign
accent, so it was not exactly a big secret that I was not British! When I
realised what the situation was (it was recorded all over the customer's
documentation) I never mentioned it to anybody. I really liked that project
and did not want to be taken off it. But is very strange that nobody else
noticed or brought it up...

(I even visited two very fascinating military installations in connection
with this project and was treated very nicely and shown some really cool
mainframe defence systems, among other things. The security was very obvious,
extensive check when entering etc. And even then, nobody seemed to clock that
I was foreign, but managing a classified project! They just 'forgot' to
check me, I guess.

It is quite right that the greatest IT security threats are from within - the
human factor and just plain stupidity which may afflict anybody on a really
bad day. Working in IT you must learn to hold your tongue about stuff like
this and pretend that all is well and perfectly logical. Pointing out the
contradictions are a good way of digging a hole for yourself. As you may
guess from this ramblings I am a bit disillusioned with corporate IT at the
minute ;-)
Hannah
Hmmm, dual citizenship Jo////Hannah :/
 
J

Johanna

Senex said:
Johanna stunned us with this revelation on 10/11/2006 :




Hmmm, dual citizenship Jo////Hannah :/
Yes, sorry, how silly! As I was typing I realised that I was getting
into some details about work, and thought I'd use my Swedish nickname
(Hannah) instead of my English nickname (Jo). My name is actually
Johanna. I did not have any imagination when setting up the account. I
don't know how people come up with these online names for themselves!

Well in my ranting I forgot to change the outgoing email address anyway!
:) So I might as well not have bothered.
(But just in case somebody I know in the world of IT reads this
newsgroup (you never know!) and I know quite a few.)
From the details I mentioned, they could easily know who I was!
And it is not exactly professional to gossip about ones negative work
experiences! Would not be good for my career at all.

Somebody I know recently found out that several people at his work were
reading his blog (luckily not the managers he was slagging off though!)
He got angry that they hadn't told him and took the site down, but it
had been cached by Google, which means it's there indefinitely. ) Now,
he could probably get the sack if his boss ever decides to google his
name and finds the blog.... He has an unusual name, so there is no
question of a mixup. People could really stab themselves in the foot by
what they say or do on the internet.

(We had sooooo much fun in tech support at Shell in the late nineties
(ages ago - so doesn't count) before internet restrictions at work, and
before people realised that their computer activities left traces....
The things you find on computers...!. 'Normal' people do the craziest
things on their computers and online!)
 
D

DonLogan

Johanna said:
Yes, sorry, how silly! As I was typing I realised that I was getting
into some details about work, and thought I'd use my Swedish nickname
(Hannah) instead of my English nickname (Jo). My name is actually
Johanna. I did not have any imagination when setting up the account. I
don't know how people come up with these online names for themselves!

Well in my ranting I forgot to change the outgoing email address anyway!
:) So I might as well not have bothered.
(But just in case somebody I know in the world of IT reads this
newsgroup (you never know!) and I know quite a few.)
From the details I mentioned, they could easily know who I was!
And it is not exactly professional to gossip about ones negative work
experiences! Would not be good for my career at all.

Somebody I know recently found out that several people at his work were
reading his blog (luckily not the managers he was slagging off though!)
He got angry that they hadn't told him and took the site down, but it
had been cached by Google, which means it's there indefinitely. ) Now,
he could probably get the sack if his boss ever decides to google his
name and finds the blog.... He has an unusual name, so there is no
question of a mixup. People could really stab themselves in the foot by
what they say or do on the internet.

(We had sooooo much fun in tech support at Shell in the late nineties
(ages ago - so doesn't count) before internet restrictions at work, and
before people realised that their computer activities left traces....
The things you find on computers...!. 'Normal' people do the craziest
things on their computers and online!)
you sound like the kind of person I was glad wasn't in our department.
 
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J

johns

I sat with her today, and we did a financial breakdown
of the cost of her downtime to Federal Taxpayers:

200 hours at $60 per hour is $12,000.00
Her data is the accumulation of about 5 years
of work involving the labor of about 20 people.
We decided to figure their average annual
salery at $50,000.00 per year. That is about
$1,000,000.00 in salery per year, or roughly
$5,000,000.00. And that is at the half way
point in her 10 year research project. And
by taxpayer, I mean you guys. So, right now,
you are out of pocket at least $12,000.00
because the Feds and Dell have her in a
phony maintainance loop that she cannot
control. I offered to give her my computer
for half that, and save all of us a bundle.
I saved her data too ... on a USB drive I
picked up at Office Depot for $50. Check
it out folks. It cost the feds $50 to save
$10 million bucks worth of research data,
and a real computer tech did it :) The
India techs would have lost every bit of it.
Come to think of it, I put the USB drive
on my VISA. Heck, I'll just give it to her.

johns
 
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