"Beware of the Leopard."
......a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.”
The Australian government has suffered what must be one of the most ridiculously embarrassing security breach in its history: Cabinet records from five successive governments were sent to a second-hand furniture store... in filing cabinets. The trove ended up in the hands of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC, which …
No worries, simply pick the lock. I've done that at my office many times. Key lost, key broken, key locked in the cabinet (yes...). My best time to open a standard filing cabinet using a bent nail and paperclip is ten seconds. When I bought myself a pick set, that dropped to five seconds. Some are more difficult than others, such as the fire cabinets here with anti-picking features. Those take much longer, but I get 'em. Recently I had to pick the security lock on the electrical room (generator failed during power outage) because a manager had misplaced the key. Fifteen minutes to noodle that one, and avoided calling out a locksmith at 3:30 AM.
It's one of the best skills you can learn, and kinda fun as well.
"White-anting is an Australian term for the process of internal erosion of a foundation. It is often used in reference to groups such as political parties or organisations where information from group insiders is 'leaked' or used to undermine the goals of the group. The Macquarie Dictionary says the verb "to white-ant" means "to subvert or undermine from within".
Our previous statement saying "The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has already issued a statement saying it will investigate what happened and won't comment further for now.
should have read:-
"The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is currently undertaking a rigorous search to find a suitable scapegoat at least two civil service grades below anyone who really matters.
"...They're at homeopathic levels right now..."
Still much too high !!!
Where x = Competence.*
Start at Zero (or as near as you can get) .... slowly increment up/down in Zeroth steps until 'expectations of x' are just begining to register then drop back 1 level.
Well Done your 'expectations of x' have now been set exactly where they need to be set for minimum disappointment !!!
*Amazingly, this 'works' for many other 'values of x' for Governments globally as well as locally.
I purchased a pallet load of used 5 drawer SteelCase filing cabinets from a company called "Weirdstuff Warehouse" back in 1989. There were a dozen in all, arranged in a 3x4 grid on the pallet. One of the employees allowed as to how they had come in with a bunch of office equipment from a small engineering campus that Unisys had just closed in South City (South San Francisco).
None had keys. Knowing that it's easy to replace a drilled out lock in this kind of cabinet, I was pretty happy to pay $40 apiece. The way I figured it, I'd sell 10 for $120 each after replacing the locks ($20 per), for a nice tidy profit of $480, plus two "free" locking file cabinets, which was what I needed for my startup.
It turned out that the lower three drawers of the center two cabinets were full of half inch mag tape. Half were labeled "Sperry", and the other half were labeled "Burroughs", and from the labels they contained system images, source code and some kind of corporate data. Being the curious type, I eyeballed the contents of a couple at random. They contained what was written on the tin.
I have no idea why they were "hidden" in the middle of the load like that, but I have my suspicions. Rather than jump through hoops to return them to Unisys, and having no use for the code, I bulk erased them and re-used the tapes. I wish now I had kept them :-)
Agreed. At UNI, I purchased a second hand locked filing cabinet. I didn't even need to drill out the lock as a friendly locksmith was happy to cut me a new key based on the lock design and key number. Turned out the filing cabinet was full of client files from a legal practitioner who had retired. Passed the documents onto Law Society to be taken care of properly.
However, one would like to hope that our government might take better care of documents.
Yes, I know how to pick locks. And yes, desk drawer and file cabinet locks are really, really easy to pick (and good practice for the neophyte). And yes, once its open, and if you have a set of blanks, it's trivial to cut new keys. However, I had no blanks and didn't want to pay a locksmith for a house call. The fastest/easiest/cheapest method at my disposal was to drill & replace. Also, the folks I sold them to appreciated the matching numbers on the locks & keys, which didn't hurt any.
I spent many a Happy Day in Weird Stuff. From a wee child to, well, a tall child, raiding that place for the greatest geedunk was just Randomized Joy.
Beers to you bud, you've made my day.
Oh, was just in that neighborhood recently (visiting Santa Cruz, needed stuff==Fry's Run!)...*sigh*: I'm sorry to say, the old Ham Radio Store on Lawrence is no longer with us. Just thought you might like to know.
Tha Ham store went away years ago. Are you sure it was on Lawrence? Not Kifer?
The Source is long gone, unfortunately.
HalTec on Linda Vista in Mountain View is also gone, alas.
HalTed is still with us. http://halted.com
Weirdstuff is a relative newcomer, and still here. http://weirdstuff.com/
For those who don't know, the above five "recycled" parts stores are the un-sung heros of Silicon Valley. Much of the computer/high-tech revolution started with a nerd/geek rummaging around in their parts bins.
HalTed and Weirdstuff both ship. If you're fiddling about with a RasPi project (or similar), and are having trouble finding a strange bit of kit, try them. One or both probably have it. If it's not listed online, drop 'em a note. They are responsive to serious inquiries. Both have a generous return policy. Both have regular hours, and are open to the general public. Well worth a visit if you are in the South Bay. They are close enough together (under five miles by road) that you can visit both and have a good nostalgia-browse at both in a short afternoon.
I'm not an employee, just a very long term satisfied customer.
I work in the NHS and inspect buildings we are vacating. It's surprising how often files are left behind, usually it's just leaflets for patients but we have a "zero left" policy which states every sheet of paper, regardless of what it is must be filed (patient/staff info), recycled(out of date literature) or reused(current literature).
It's not a cost cutting exercise, it's an easy way to ensure we don't leave sensitive data behind which in some of the older buildings will be hand written, not printed and sometimes on old ledgers and diaries which haven't been touched in decades.
I've recently decommissioned an old mental health building and found over 300 patient related items in lofts and under the floor of the old mortuary, many of these documents dated back to before the founding of the NHS when this facility was essentially run by the church so nobody worked in these buildings even knew of their existence until I went poking around the mortuary with a torch (felt like I was in X Files).
Thing is because none of the patients mentioned were alive now we had no reason to make this information public and it's not the first time this has happened. However we have kept the data to see if there's anything of value contained in it which could be of benefit. It's likely it'll end up being used as part of university studies into the way patients use to be treated and the language used.
Check out the (numerous) YouTube videos of people engaging in urban exploration (exploring abandoned buildings). When the buildings are old offices/hospitals/etc., it is almost certain that they'll find mounds of rather sensitive documents that had been left behind.
A long time ago I was given a fully working Altos 586 running Xenix. It contained the credit card numbers of the company and all their office documents. The owners had fled when their oil embargo breaking scheme had been discovered. (not just a few barrels!)
I did not fancy a [redacted] hitman coming to my door :(
I wiped the SCSI drive and stuck it in a 386DX box, quite a powerful beast in it's day.
"I wiped the SCSI drive and stuck it in a 386DX box, quite a powerful beast in it's day."
I'd have been inclined to cd to the directory concerned and
rm -rf *
echo junk > junk
cat <junk >> junk
#wait for crash
and then kept it as a Xenix box - provided it was far enough back in the day.
I was given a cardboard box in the late eighties containing a Mac512k (M0001W model just before the Macintosh Plus) in very small bits. It came with OS2.1 on 3.5" floppies. And a five megabyte Hard Disk.
Assembled all the bits, got it to boot, but no joy from the HDD. Opened it back up, and noticed that the HDD was slaved off the Mac PSU and had a dry-ish joint, possible due to overcurrent, overtemp in the unventilated box. Bit of lead/tin later & it booted into a Ferranti defence-secret environment containing encrypted HDD, in 1986! missiles, sonar, eurofighter - who knows. The HDD was encrypted, but as it failed mounted, it was able to be remounted without a problem, allowing me to delete everything, including the crypto system and install boring office programs. The Mac still boots and the 5MB HDD still overheats.
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It was a long time ago and I've since emigrated, but I'm still a bit nervous about telling this story.
This incident happened in the run-up to the first Gulf War. I was living in the UK, and I had a small sideline importing hand-crafted ornaments from Thailand. The Customs shed at the local airport called me to say that one of my shipments was ready for collection, containing seven boxes of assorted ornaments. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that the boxes were unusually well packed - usually they were scruffy re-used cardboard boxes. But the Customs people assured me me that they were definitely my shipment, so I loaded them up and took them home.
I got the boxes home and started opening them up, helped by my neighbour, who wanted to see what goodies had arrived this time. I was rather surprised when the first box revealed a rather complicated-looking piece of electronics, accompanied by a label saying "Secret. To be opened at secure location only".
My neighbour wanted to plug it in to see what it would do, but I decided that was unwise (probably would have targetted a cruise missile on me. or something). I immediately called up the Customs people, and found myself talking to a very relieved Customs officer.
"Err, I think you've handed me the wrong boxes"
"Heck, I'm glad to hear from you. We were just about to send a load of lacquerware and silk fans to the local US airforce base. We've given you their new military radar station"
"What shall I do with it?"
"Please bring it back, but very carefully. It's worth a fortune"
"well, OK. But there's no way I'm insured for a cargo like that"
" Right, please just drive very carefully"
I got the boxes back to them without any more trouble, and swapped them for my Thai ornaments.
I never heard anything more after that. I assume the equipment was part of the preparation for the pending war with Iraq.
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I was once buying some stuff on tender from a charity, they had closed down one of their offices. When I turned up to get what I had bought they were busy drilling out the lock on an old safe (no key) just to make sure there was nothing important inside it.
The only thing that could have been in there was old financial data or patient records, but they still wanted to make sure - in the end it was empty.
A charity in a 3rd world country thought that checking what was in a locked old safe was appropriate, yet a locked cabinet in a 1st world country (that weighs too much) doesn't warrant the same care...
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