Jackass IT: Stunts, idiocy, and hero hacks

Sometimes you have to get a little crazy to find the right solution to technology problems gone absurd

By Paul Venezia, InfoWorld |  Career, career, idiocy

Although it was speculated that the disk might be best served with a chilled Chianti and rice, we'll leave it to you to whip up and wolf down what is sure to be a culinary delight.

Jackass IT stunt No. 3: Put vital passwords on the networkHere's one where a gifted but seriously antisocial network administrator put the "jackass" in "jackass IT."

After being abruptly let go, the network admin took with him the enable password to a wide array of production network gear. As soon as the problem surfaced a few days after his departure, he was contacted by email and asked for the password.

This prompted an expletive-filled missive that lambasted everyone in the department and other parts of the company, but alas, no password. The last sentence of the email, however, read, "If you really want the [redacted] password, it's on the network already, you [redacted] [redacted]."

He proved unreachable after that email, and his phone was disconnected. Desperate to find the password, admins searched all of his files on the network storage arrays, but came up empty. They looked in his cube, on his dev systems, everywhere they could think of, but the password continued to elude them.

At that point, one of the admins who had logged into the departed admin's Linux development system noticed a process called "pping" in operation. It was a compiled binary that had been running for quite some time and was apparently pinging one of the core switches every 5 seconds. He presumed that it was some form of connectivity testing that the admin had been running and moved on to other things.

The revelation didn't happen immediately, but a day or two later he thought to run a packet capture on the network traffic departing that dev system and collected several packets of this odd ICMP ping traffic. Peeling the packets apart in Wireshark, he noted that there appeared to be a custom payload pad in the packet. A few minutes later, he'd peeled out the 16 bytes in that pad and translated them from hex to ASCII. A minute after that, he successfully logged into the core switches.

If nothing else, the fired network admin was telling the truth -- the password was definitely on the network, but only where a jackass might put it.

Jackass IT stunt No. 4: Stick an eraser on the motherboardNote to all jackass IT practitioners: Document your hacks. After all, you never know when you might need to repeat your feat of asinine brilliance -- or prevent it from being undone.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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