October 30, 2012, 11:41 AM —
Is there an IT systems administrator in your life? Would you like to give him (or her) a good scare this Halloween? Well, forget horror movies, black cats or kids jacked up way too many Whoppers and consider throwing a fright into him by tossing out a command that could cause his heart to skip a beat.
Now, I’m not talking about commands written and executed by malicious people who know what they’re doing and are trying to do harm. No, I’m talking about commands that could be issued innocently enough by people in the organization who either don’t know what they’re doing, should know better or are a little too careless but which could bring a server, database or application to its knees.
Here are four classic and dangerous commands to spook your loved one with (and, please, just mention them, don't actually try running them):
rm -rf <DIR>
The grandaddy of all the dangerous commands, common to *nix systems which, if executed, will lead to the recursive removal - without prompting - of everything in and below the directory specified. Thanks to this handy dandy command it’s far too easy for an overworked developer (or one with that 2:30 feeling) to mistakenly run “rm -rf .” from the root directory when s/he intended to run it from somewhere else. Boo!
truncate table <TABLE NAME>
Torment your favorite database administrator with this command that quickly and easily wipes out every row in the specified table. Of course, part of what makes it so quick and easy is that there’s no quick or easy way to undo the damage done. If this gets executed on, say, the production database rather a developer version, that’s where your DBA friend will have to step in and clean up the mess. Hopefully, he didn’t have anything else important going on.