back to article This is the military – you can't just delete your history like you're 15

Welcome to an On Call where on-site misdeeds resulted in the most dishonorable of discharges. Our story, from a reader we have Regomized as "Jones", takes place in the early years of this century and concerns some military gear supplied by his company. While the computers (which ran Windows) were not connected to the internet …

  1. Wally Dug

    We've Probably All Come Across This

    The (rather annoying and arrogant) sales manager who kept complaining about the speed of his laptop eventually sent it to us to have a look. As part of the troubleshooting, I looked at his Internet browsing history. Completely empty. Curiosity piqued now, I looked at the Internet cache - full of pr0n, so a word to my boss who said that we had no option but to report him to HR. Who made him an ex-sales manager. And, yes, he had signed an Internet usage form and he also denied looking at the pr0n.

    P.S. we have Regomized as "Jones" Don't panic, I see what you did there, well done.

    1. Loyal Commenter

      Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

      Putting the words "rather annoying and arrogant" into that sentence describing any sales manager is a classic example of tautology.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

        dunno what "tautology" means (but will look it up) and still agree with you

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

          tautology is the study of tauts. Which presumably, given a small typo, was both what the sales manager was and what he was studying.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Someone Else Silver badge

            Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

            OK, enough of that for now - - - - ->

          3. IceC0ld

            Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

            you are Sir Terry Pratchett, and I claim my £5 :o)

        2. JamesTGrant

          Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

          The first rule of Tautology Club is the first rule of Tautology Club!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

      It's always the sales people. Not really tech related, but one of our senior sales managers was caught gratifying himself in an elementary school parking lot on company time in a company vehicle. (Hint: We track all our vehicles). He was one of the "nicest guys". Sales people can be nasty little weasels. Guess it comes with being a professional liar.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

      Many decades ago at a defence company I caught a system administrator contractor looking at p0rn while at work in the middle of the office...

      I used this to leverage the IT department into being more accessible.

      The contractor had been employed because IT could not be bothered to sort out or manage the servers in a locked room. They kept crashing at odd times. Thier response was to employ a contractor who's sole job was to reboot the machines, hence having nothing better to do then watch p0rn.

      However this did not help in the evening or weekend when he was not there as IT refused to send anyone to reboot the machines as it out of hours and sod the business that pays the bills...

      After the contractor was let go we were given the key to the room and a password that allowed us to reboot the machines... ...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

        I remember being on a military site for hours while someone tracked down the someone who had the key to the previously secure room where the kit was. It was no longer a secure room and normally the door was just left open all the time because it;s just another room nowadays. After at least a good hour of hanging around, someone found the someone who knows who passes back the message to go down the corridor, turn right and the first door on the right is never locked and that's how you get in because the secure door in from the outer office can only be opened from the inside anyway.

        BTW. It's the Weekend and we seem to be missing Something For it. The BoFH is also AWOL. Have Simon and Alistair eloped?

        1. FeRDNYC

          Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

          Have Simon and Alistair eloped?

          Aw, I'm rootin' for those crazy kids. I think they just might make it!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I take your sales Manager and Raise you a Sales Director

      He was actually the ex IT Director

      He had been on the road refusing to connect to the corporate network for several months, he was missing lots of security and AV updates, when he was Finally visiting the office for a board meeting he was instructed by the IT Director not to connect to the network until his laptop had been virus scanned.

      Needless to say he did, passed on a virus which hit a server and then replicated across the entirely windows estate. The IT Team were on the ball and started powering down servers to restrict the damage but it was extensive. The ERP system was down for several days while the tech team worked with the AV providers and security consultants to remove the multitude of nasties he had on his laptop. The complexity of the infections raised red flags and his laptop was taken away and investigated. He had been browsing very non-mainstream porn sites, escort sites etc. He arrived to the office in hi Company Mercedes and left to catch the train back down south without even a company credit card. Needless to say he was never heard from again.The company had a good IT team, solid AV practices and, thankfully a tried and tested backup solution. Using a combination of disk, partition and file backups the organisation was fully back on the air in about a week with minimal data loss. without a highly skilled team with existing relationships with companies who could help them I think it would have spelled the end of the company.

    5. hoola Silver badge

      Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

      Exactly the same situation for me but with a different outcome.

      There were persistent issues with laptops issued to certain elected members of a council. After a couple of time investigating these and finding them full of porn and malware we attempted to to report it.

      As they were elected members of the council we were told to lump it, not make waves or risk losing OUR jobs.

      Apparently it was acceptable for these people to do what ever they wanted with no comeback, no matter if it was illegal.

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

        Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

        If it was *actual illegal*, then the police should be told - that whole "there should be one law for all" thing!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many years ago, I worked in the computing department of a university. A chunk of the estate was Solaris, with automounted shares from various servers to the desktops that some of the researchers used. Shares included a central /usr/local/bin for distributing software, home directories, web server content, etc.

    At some point I became aware that the web server share was rather more full than I'd been expecting, this being the days when web pages and images were generally fairly small. After digging through with "du", I found a folder owned by one of the researchers containing many pictures of women without much in the way of clothing... Nuked the folder and left a README.TXT file which said something like "who's been a naughty boy?" and chown'd it to his ID.

    The folder and README were gone 2 days later...

    What got me about this was that he had a workstation on his desk which had a decent sized home directory for his own use; a directory I'd almost certainly never have found anything in without specifically needing to check. If he'd kept his porn stash there, it would likely never have been found...

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      So often, it's the overly-complex hiding the tracks that gets people caught.

      There was a manager at a big insurer (er, let's call them Celtic Bereaved) back in the 90s who was just writing himself cheques from the company, and approving them. Due to the volume of cheques moving around and the trusted (at the time) position he was in, this wasn't caught, and the final investigation confirmed that if he'd just kept doing that he'd never have been caught! If nothing else, these payments were so regular that anyone who might process them would just see them as "another one of those" - completely routine, and not suspicious.

      What got him caught was he started moving money around between other accounts to 'disguise' the payments, and one day one of these cover payments attracted a desk jockey's attention as being a bit odd, asked a few questions and before you knew it, manager's in handcuffs and the board are setting up a team specifically to audit managers who have the authority to both raise and approve payments.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "and the board are setting up a team specifically to audit managers who have the authority to both raise and approve payments."

        Better late than never.

        1. Killfalcon Silver badge

          Just like safety rules are written in blood, financial controls are written in red inked bank statements.

        2. CountCadaver

          or just manager can raise OR approve payments not both

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Doing both is fine, just not to the same cheque.

            1. Great Southern Land

              No it isn't. It still involves being able to perform both functions and thus there remains the potential for fraud. It is far safer for you the worker and the organisation if you have access to raise credits, or to issue refunds, but not both at the same time.

      2. Robin

        > (er, let's call them Celtic Bereaved)

        Were they running Scottish Windows?

        1. Anonymous South African Coward

          Scottish Windows run on haggis and whisky

          1. Tim99 Silver badge

            Sottish Widows surely...

          2. Muscleguy

            You got an uptick for at least spelling whisky in the Scottish context correctly.

            1. jlturriff
    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      As a student in the mid 90s, we were among the first students in the Uni to use the Web. The PCs we had at the time were basic business PCs, with no niceties such as sound. So, when I got access to a lab with Sun Sparcstations that did have onboard sound, good graphics and full web access, I started exploring..

      One day, in a lecture where we actually trying to learn to code for X Windows in C, I'd completed my exercise, and started looking on the web while I waited the other students to catch up. I clicked on an innocent looking link. 30 seconds or so later, Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit blared out, earning me weird looks from my fellow students and a stern telling off from the lecturer. Those Suns didn't have a great speaker, but it was loud.

      As a tech support bod in the Uni, I got a phone call from one of our security guards. I was surprised, as they don't generally use computers.

      When I went to see him, he showed me a computer that had been set up near to the security desk, so students could check the status of books in the library. Windows was locked down so it would only run Internet Explorer (sad, I know) and supposedly, it was on a Private IP so could only see University web sites.

      Supposedly. Turns out it'd been given a public IP for some reason. While IE was locked down so it didn't display a URL bar, somehow the guard had gone to a porn site. This computer was on full display.

      When I got there, he had hundreds of popups. I managed to close 160 before I persuaded the machine to restart, which closed the rest.

      1. Solviva

        Ahh at my uni we had a thinlinc session available for browsing IP-restricted journals remotely. It was reasonably locked down, except for the file dialog allowing right clicks... browse to system32, right click cmd.exe. I think i launched a client there or something. One day my login no longer worked there, odd I thought. Logged in with another departmental login that worked, hunted around and found a batch file with my other username in, with an if statement and then terminating the session should it be true. I guess easier than tightening up windows :)

    3. jlturriff

      Maybe he couldn't share it as tracelessly from his own machine?

  3. DrBobK

    Written reports on pron.

    As a junior academic, but with some IT skills, I was once given the task of determining whether our senior IT technician, who had been caught 'red-handed' watching porn, had downloaded or viewed any illegal material. This was a very strange task, but the strangest, and hardest (not intended as ooh-err-missus) part was that I was expected to write a report for the Head of Department describing exactly what sort of things he had been watching even if they were not illegal. A rather tricky assignment, and I was never quite clear why the non-illegal material had to be desired in detail!

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Written reports on pron.

      So... For a brief time, it was actually your job to watch somebody else's playlist of porn?

      Sounds horrible.

      1. Aladdin Sane

        Re: Written reports on pron.

        Yeah, but he then had to provide a synopsis to his boss. Plot analysis can be tricky.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Written reports on pron.

        Gives a new meaning to "I've been hard at work all day"

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Written reports on pron.

          Well, not really - the whole "somebody else's playlist" thing would (probably) be a real passion-killer.

          You know what some people are into? Yeah, well, if you don't, then cherish your ignorance, because you almost certainly don't want to. Having to watch that sort of thing for hours on end... sounds absolutely horrible.

          1. FeRDNYC

            Re: Written reports on pron.

            Indeed. Hell is other people's porn.

      3. Tubz Bronze badge

        Re: Written reports on pron.

        Now watching NSFW is against company rules and instant dismissal, I need to make a report on what he was watching, now watching NSFW is against company rules and instant dismissal, somebody will have to make report on what I was watching, you can see where this is going ....

        1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          "Paranoia" scenario

          "Greetings, Troubleshooter! The computer is your friend. Trust the computer."

        2. Great Southern Land

          Re: Written reports on pron.

          Which is why you don't undertake such investigations without written authority, preferably from the Heads of IT and HR.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Written reports on pron.

            And Corporate Security.

        3. Muscleguy

          Re: Written reports on pron.

          In the lab on my personal computer in a shared office. I with genuine academic curiosity and need search for ‘Muscle Anatomy’. I click on one link which looked promising and my screen filled with rapidly duplicating windows (remember those?) all showing p0rn. I hastily hit the kill switch. Then restarted cautiously managing not to reinvoke when the browser was restarted. I killed the history going deep into the Library files to kill certain log files.

      4. short a sandwich

        Re: Written reports on pron.

        One local insurance office had to employ a sign language interpreter for a deaf employee who was caught by the network skin filter. The signer had to work through all sorts of standard sexual practices and one or two that were little more specialised.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Written reports on pron.

        IIRC years ago a US Senate subcommittee, investigating pornography, found it "necessary" to watch hundreds (or was it thousands?) of porn movies. The better to have a firm grasp of what was under investigation I suppose.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Written reports on pron.

      and I was never quite clear why the non-illegal material had to be desired in detail!

      Maybe the Head of Department had blocked access to /r/gonewildstories and needed something to keep juices flowing so to speak...

      1. Rich 11

        Re: Written reports on pron.

        I've twice had to investigate suspected use of work computers for, er, personal satisfaction during office hours. This was decades ago, when almost no-one knew there was such a thing as a browser cache, so it was always easy to figure out whether or not there was a case to answer. The first time I was able to categorise the type of material quite unmistakeably and warned my boss that I could tell him but that he didn't want to know. He said he did want to know. I told him he really didn't. He said he really did. I told him. He said he really didn't want to know.

        The second case was much more serious than just a misuse of resources report to HR. After that I told my boss there wasn't going to be a third time; my job description didn't cover risk of psychological trauma.

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Written reports on pron - Creative Juices

        Top level PA's in Corporate are usually the prime offenders for ""* over the lunchtime.

        *I would check the URL on my phone, but my service provider is having a bit of a lie down today & no I'm not checking on a work device.

    3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Written reports on pron.

      These days we'd consider that sexual harassment of a junior employee, unless your academic area of interest was the analysis of porn. Universities truly are the shittiest employers out there, which is ironic given the lefty slant of academia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Written reports on pron.

        The one i worked at was completely shit at learning on the job or getting anywhere career wise ,

        despite their many badges and certificates to the contrary .

        I was stuck in desktop support for years. and then left.

        1. Androgynous Cow Herd

          Re: Written reports on pron.

          A different angle - I worked for a while for a major PC manufacturer, who, at the lime, offered "lifetime technical support"....and this was in the days of malware exploits mostly being drive by infections by pr0n suppliers if someone was dumb enough to browse the wrong site or click on the wrong pop-up - the result being browser hijacks and lots of graphic pop up windows. I was in a technical escalation queue so I got the repeat callers who, for one reason or other, weren't helped by L1.

          One nice lady was in a lather because her computer had all the symptoms but she *never* went to porn sites, and the only other user, her teenage sone, was apparently a saint who wasn't interested in that stuff. She refused to believe my explaination, carefully honed by the many times repeating it, that this sort of malware was like vampirism - it had to be invited in at least once, but once in, it could invite other vampires (malware). We went round the lemon tree a couple of times, so I said "Let's investigate a bit" and look her into the browser cache without explaining what we were looking for. Once we were in the cache, in thumbnail mode...I just went silent for a while, and after a minute, she quietly said "Oh, that little sonofabitch..."

          1. pirxhh

            Re: Written reports on pron.

            her teenage sone, was apparently a saint -

            after a minute, she quietly said "Oh, that little sonofabitch..."

            Which makes her... erm...

        2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Written reports on pron.

          I've mentioned before on here the professor I encountered who had come up with a 'brilliant' dodge, where he'd contract work, but then refuse to sign off the invoices on completion because his budget wasn't depleted until they were actually paid. Eventually the uni got involved because writs were starting to turn up.

          He was a proper lifelong antiracist type, Marx, Corbyn, etc. He apparently believed in all the conspiracy theories about people stealing your share, and modelled his behaviour on them.

          It is no surprise to me he has since achieved more prominence as a supporter of antisemitism and Holocaust denial than he ever gained as an academic.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Written reports on pron.

        Shitty people make shitty employers. No surprise there at all.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Written reports on pron.

      I had to review the caching on a users computer, she was spending time researching various enhancement, nips and tucks and even was uploading pictures of her body parts (with obvious identifying tattoos) to various plastic surgery web sites.

      Her right and private affair, but not when your supposed to be working and not on a work PC on a busy Sales floor.

      Honestly though sometimes the stuff I've been PAID to watch, I would sometimes have paid NOT to watch.

    5. PRR Bronze badge

      Re: Written reports on pron.

      > caught 'red-handed' watching porn, had downloaded or viewed any illegal material.

      Just say "NO!!"

      And it is not always Sales. Or IT staff. Our school had a (full) Professor of Ancient Music. His spiffy laptop stalled just before an overseas conference. HD full-up. Of what? Yes, some music and images of old paintings and....

      Oh my my my my. Just the folder-names suggested an interest in "uncommon" erotica. While the university allowed about any valid research material, it seemed hard to relate this crap to what we paid him to teach; and if found at airport inspection it would be very embarrassing to the university.

      I skimmed the folder-names and opened a few to be sure of the contents (maybe they were really encrypted spy secrets? No, and how does she bend that way??) The added question "legally illegal?" I refused to go into. I had already pushed the boundary of university professorial privacy (they were serious about that). I don't know the fine points of the law, at home or the several countries he carried the laptop to for conferences. (He really was a highlight of his field.) And while I am no prude, and will look at anything once, his tastes were, to me, revolting.

      And of course, if it is illegal for him, it is illegal for me or you to view or possess.

      No. Let this go to the justice system. I realize your boss and mine wish to avoid public scandal, but that does not mean pissing on IT staff.

      In this case, because a Full Professor is hard to get rid of, Chair asked Prof to find another job and take his filthy laptop with him.

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    what rules?

    An associate once set up a small 'red & black' computer unit in a war zone. The red and black machines were of course electronically and electrically isolated and the statutory distance apart. He returned a couple months later to find a USB stick suspended from the ceiling between the two machines on a length of elastic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what rules?

      Considering the recent story of a Japanese bloke and a lost USB stick - this sounds almost like a good idea.....

    2. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: what rules?

      I've heard of sneakernet so this must be bungienet.

  5. GlenP Silver badge

    Only Once...

    I've only found dodgy material once on a work machine, but then I don't normally go looking for it. As the person had already left the company there wasn't much I could do except report it to HR and delete it.

    I did hear a story, which may or may not be true, from the early days of CD writers. The evening shift lab tech at one of the UK's nuclear establishments was spending most of his time duplicating dodgy material for sale.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only Once...

      I did hear a story, which may or may not be true, from the early days of CD writers. The evening shift lab tech at one of the UK's nuclear establishments was spending most of his time duplicating dodgy material for sale

      Had some one do similar at an old company, she was copying line dancing music CD's.... That counts as dodgy doesn't it?

      1. Glenn Amspaugh

        Re: Only Once...


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only Once...

      Yup. Worked at an IT company in the early 90s where the warehouse chief made quite good money copying and selling those CDs full of cracked software suites. One of his clients was our CEO. Until the board of directors got whiff of this side job, and CEO sent out a stern email to all that these practices are highly illegal and if caught consequences would be severe. Talk about hypocrisy ...

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Only Once...

        It's not hypocrisy, it's 'careful, everyone, this is getting a bit blatant' in an arse-covering way.

    3. Rob Daglish

      Re: Only Once...

      It's not true. Judging by what was going on in the early 00's, it was quite a few people on every shift at our local nuclear licensed site. I'm surprised the whole county wasn't buried under green coloured CDs!

  6. ColinPa

    You need to know how to clear a paper jam if you are going to print dodgy material

    At work, one of the printers had a paper jam. I cleared it, and it started printing its backlog. One of the documents looked like a list of porn sites. I took it to my manager who dealt with it. The offender was called in, and denied all knowledge of the document. The manager said he would call the IT department to scan the computer for this document, or any other suspicious documents. Suddenly the offender decided it might be better if he took early retirement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You need to know how to clear a paper jam if you are going to print dodgy material

      You also need to know if the default printer is not the local printer sitting next to the machine, but the large multi-tray printer in the cube across from the director's office down the hall. If you don't know this, then you shouldn't be downloading and printing pron at 3am in at a random desk in a different department.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You need to know how to clear a paper jam if you are going to print dodgy material

        Hey AC - that sounds rather specfic.... Was it you?

    2. Dafyd Colquhoun

      Re: You need to know how to clear a paper jam if you are going to print dodgy material

      Back in my uni days a grad student found out the hard way about choosing the wrong printer. Sending to the department secretary's printer in a locked office was not good (in the Link Building -- if you studied EE in the 1990s in the city that shines then you'll remember). Made the local paper too.

  7. DailyLlama
    Paris Hilton

    It's happened to me a few times...

    I was in my office one day circa 2001, and "someone" came in and put a Zip disk (remember them?) into the drive of a computer used by someone who wasn't in that day. Then went back to their own desk.

    Then I noticed the activity light flashing a lot, and being a nosy bugger (and not trusting this person a jot), I opened Windows Explorer and went to the Zip drive, and found that the disk was filling up with images of women who had clearly gotten too warm, and decided to remove all their clothing.

    Screenshots were duly taken (of filenames, not the images), and information sent to HR & Management, whereupon the user in question claimed that he was "copying it for a friend who didn't have internet access). Management then decided that even though there was a precedent of sacking people caught doing this kind of thing, that he merely merited a warning.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's happened to me a few times...

      No mention of who the friend might have been?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's happened to me a few times...

        Not sure of the name..

        He may have been a Brussels correspondent at the time.

        lost contact afterwards, but I heard he was going places...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: It's happened to me a few times...

          Friend of management?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Colin Wilson 2 - Apple have got this right!

          Jean Quatremer ?

        3. TDog

          Re: It's happened to me a few times...

          Was he someone well known who may soon find himself out of a house with the number 10?

    2. Dom 3

      Zip drives...

      I was looking for a driver for one, and typed into the browser. Oops.

      IIRC it was a gay dating site. Nothing there now.

      Anyway, I once went into a small company as a freelancer to help a mate who had a part-time IT contract there to do some sort of systems audit. We discovered that there was one individual who'd clock in very early, and then spend the 30 minutes before anyone else turned up looking at VNSFW material. I think we decided it wasn't our problem.

      And then there was the director of another small company who asked me to look at his teenage son's laptop...

      At least none of them were MPs.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: Zip drives...

        I was looking for a driver for one, and typed into the browser. Oops.

        IIRC it was a gay dating site. Nothing there now.

        In the days before adult filters on search engines, I'd often search for something for work and end up and adult websites. I thought I knew a lot of porn slang: Clearly I was way more naive than I thought!

  8. elsergiovolador Silver badge
    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Every single time

      Oh god, yes! I used to work in IT support back in the 1990s - the number of times we had to remove all those damned "useful" (sic) toolbars from people's computers. We'd tell them NOT to reinstall them knowing we'd have to go back a week or two later to do exactly the same thing once again...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Every single time

        do exactly the same thing once again

        If you didn't get a complaint about their absence and request for them to be reinstalled first!

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Every single time

      Yeah let's click on a link to a jpg when we don't know what it is....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Every single time

        ...especially in a thread about catching people surfing inappropriate content!

        Can't help myself. It's a safe enough image. Although it might trigger PTSD for support folk from that era.

  9. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Let me ask the board

    If you're really lucky, there's a member of the board handy when you find something interesting.

    I always enjoyed explaining access and audit logs to people hitherto unaware of their role or indeed their existence.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I believe the story

    But not the punishment

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: I believe the story

      That really depends on what exactly was SUPPOSED to be going on with those computers. It seems likely that was a TS site, and if the Powers That Be decide it's time to make an example, it's not that hard to turn any security violation of TS into hard time.

      We were ALL briefed (repeatedly) about the consequences of violating TS security. (Technically, a firing squad is possible.)

      1. G.Y.

        Re: I believe the story

        What is TS?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I believe the story

          If you're not cleared for TS you can't be told what TS is - because it's TS

        2. YouStupidBoy

          Re: I believe the story

          Topless Secrets

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I believe the story

          I tried to find a link for you to a picture of a two drawer cabinet where the bottom drawer is labelled 'bottom secret' to help you, but let's just say that the image search results were not as expected.

          Before you do that search, be aware that the results were wholly in context of the rest of the discussion here but even with safe search enabled* you'll get the idea ;)

          * It's off in my home browser when researching exploits (from inside a VM, I'm not silly). That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

          1. PRR Bronze badge

            Re: I believe the story

            > the image search results were not as expected.

            I see what you saw, but there are several examples of the image-meaning you meant.

            Top Secret Bottom Secret Funny File Cabinet Pun Poster

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: I believe the story

        Great reason for not joining the military. You'll end up being bored out of your mind in someone else's desert, maybe being shot at occasionally by a pissed off local and if you put one foot wrong then you're up the creek without a paddle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I believe the story

          you're up the creek without a paddle

          On the plus side, it's hard to find creeks in a desert..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I believe the story

          Very accurate description. I did enjoy it though.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I believe the story

        Don't know mate. I spent a few years in the sand myself and people will watch porn on anything that can show an image. When (not if) caught you'd get a right bollocking but that should be it. The only one I recall ever been sent off was an annoying local with more than doubtful sympathies anyway.

        The only way that punishment is credible is if they were watching kiddie porn, and even so it'd probably have to involve the brigadier's daughter in a starring role.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I believe the story

      > But not the punishment

      The PCs were for a specific military use and the users using them were (presumably) supposed to be carrying out a specific duty. Using them for something else therefore carries a dereliction of duty charge.

      If they'd been playing the video training manual then the CO might have looked the other way. :-)

  11. Lazlo Woodbine


    Your mention of pouring glue into the USB ports reminds me of the time a customer sent his laptop back for repair because he couldn't plug in his USB stick.

    Upon inspection all his USB ports had been filled with glue, I informed him of this and he said "yes, that's to stop my son plugging in USB sticks, I got a virus last time he did that."

    I said, "so, you poured the glue in yourself to stop your son, and now you're sondering why you can't plug USB sticks in."

    This is when the penny dropped, I told him the glue had damaged the motherboard and it needed replacing, he wasn't happy with the bill, so I sent it back unrepaired

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Glue

      "his USB ports had been filled with glue"

      Quite unnecessary. As long ago as 2008 I was given at a security conference a cunning little device that looked like a USB stick. However it was an applicator that inserted dummy connectors into USB sockets so they were blocked physically without anything sticking out of the socket - so the blocker was difficult to detect. The same applicator could remove them again. This was a commercial device. I'm surprised it was not more widely used.

      1. Loyal Commenter

        Re: Glue

        Oddly enough, I had an ad pop up on FB just two days ago for one of those.

        (yes, I know ad-blockers exist, but they don't work so well on the app on your phone, dontchyaknow?)

        1. Jos V

          Re: Glue

          Loyal commenter: Use the "Brave" browser. It also doesn't show commercials in youtube. Never mind about FB. I guess some people still use that for some reason.

      2. Nightops25

        Re: Glue

        Unfortunately those little USB socket fillers are easily defeated, even without the application/removal tool. Having worked for an outfit that spent a considerable amount to equip an entire fleet of hardware with those filler plugs to prevent un-approved USB devices, then determined their relative uselessness, but still wanted them recovered when decommissioning workstations due to the cost spent on the useless/worthless plugs.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Glue

        I like the idea, but (a) it doesn't work that well and (b) we're now all moving to USB-C here :).

        (update: they do exist already. But we have laptops which get their power via such a slot so it wouldn't work anyway)

  12. Kubla Cant

    "They don't like it up 'em" - but in this case it seems that "they" were the senior officers, and "'em" were the ladies in the videos.

    BTW spent the rest of their tour doing hard labor - were they sent to America to do it?

    1. drand

      Given that several of the military establishments were said to have been in the desert it's possible they were in the USA to begin with.

    2. gotes


      I get quite tired of people commenting about American spellings in articles on this site. The Register has American journalists, deal with it. We all know what they mean, even if you don't like the spelling.

      For the record, I'm British.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        I heard the other day that all those spellings were matching the English when the Americans went off to form America , and we changed them in the meantime to sound more French.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          They were largely Noah Webster's doing. Some of his offerings were even worse but didn't catch on.

        2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          It would be more accurate to say that until long after the de facto separation, there was no fixed spelling.

        3. Andy A

          Some of what are seen as "American" spellings used to be normal in the UK. My 3xgreat grandfather was baptized rather than baptised, for example, so "Regomized" seems fair enough.

          Other Norms of the Time, such as all Nouns having capital Letters, have dropped by the Wayside.

          Webster set out with the intention of making the Merkan version of the language different. His reforms have had some success in the USA, but make no sense to right-pondians. To me, a "center" is someone who does centing, just as a programmer does programming.

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            >Other Norms of the Time, such as all Nouns having capital Letters, have dropped by the Wayside.

            Not in Germany!

          2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            -ized is normal in Scottish English.

            1. Solviva

              isn't that -izer as in T-izer?

      2. TWB

        Labor Labour

        I'm not bothered with labor but I get annoyed when US writers refer to the [UK] Labor party - it's a name, leave it alone - and I know we brits are guilty of this as well.

        1. Solviva

          Re: Labor Labour

          Ere in Sweden the local rag invariably refers to the Conservatives as the Tories 99% of the time. They even go so far as to say "the conservative Tory party", well yes correct but why not just then say "the Conservatives"? Reeks of lazy journalism.

        2. jotheberlock

          Re: Labor Labour

          I generally make a snarky comment relating to Australian politics when that happens.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nasty goings on

    Back in the mid 1990s when company internet was often a bit "Wild West" we installed some monitoring software, we alerted everyone. 3 days in and we had a list of executives who wished to be placed outside the monitoring!

    This is made us curious and while most was just idle time wasting one gentleman had a paricular taste for some very unsavoury material, it was CP. It was reported and the Police had to be called in and luckily I wasn't involved but a colleague had to attend the proceedings and had the unpleasant job of cataloguing some of the items for evidence before handing over the PC. Back then things were not so good as they are now and they had only basic phone counselling offered afterwards, they had simply try to forget what they had seen. Not a very happy ending.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nasty goings on

      During the late 90s, I was working for an entertainment company.

      The dudes from IT support, the office next to mine, were routinely scanning network drives when they were getting close to full. They were also viewing the contents of heavy files.

      I never agreed to see what they were viewing but they told me most was bestiality.

      Gosh, they really had guts, I really don't know if I could have spared their screen from the content of my stomach, had I agreed to view it as well !

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nasty goings on

        Mmmm, Copraphagia. Though why the hell you want to see some chick eat desiccated coconut is just beyond me.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Nasty goings on

          I believe the phrase is... if it exists, there is porn of it.

          1. Admiral Grace Hopper

            Re: Nasty goings on

            Rule 34.

            A management type had a rude introduction to his when he was a trying to find a pony club where his daughter could learn to ride a pony. He immediately called to explain what he'd clicked on, why he'd clicked on the link and why this was definitely not what he was looking for in his lunch hour on a work machine.

            1. tiggity Silver badge

              Re: Nasty goings on

              @Admiral Grace Hopper

              Many years ago, daughter was young, searched for dolls house (as we were planning to get one and build it & decorate as her Xmas present)

              That search gave some rather non child friendly results! ... I'm sure its probably an OK search these days now you can usually set most search engines to try and filter out explicit content (not that they are 100% effective, but a lot "cleaner" than results were back in the early days of search)

              1. John Riddoch

                Re: Nasty goings on

                Late 90s/early noughties you could pretty much guarantee that ANY web search no matter how innocent would consist of about 50% porn links. It was fairly common to search for "search term -sex" to at least try and filter out some of it.

                1. Androgynous Cow Herd

                  Re: Nasty goings on

                  Yup...if you recall, Disney used to have a show called "So Weird" which was kind of X-files for kids...the plot line was a the child of some touring rockstar (rockstar played by Mackenzie Phillips IIRC) had a web blog about paranormal activity. This would have been around 1998.

                  My kids had access to the family PC, placed in a public hallway, and wanted to see this fictitious I went into a search engine and typed "So weird"...

                  I glanced at the results, shuddered, closed the browser window, and simply told the kids the site didn't exist, it was all made up for the show...but if you type "So weird" into a search engine, you WILL get proof on just how weird people can get.

                  1. Dog11

                    Re: Nasty goings on

                    A check on several search engines (with nanny filter turned off), and several different browsers, gave me a (first) page of hits almost all relating to that show (which I'd never heard of). One or two dictionary sites. Even tried with a misspelling ("I before E except after C, anything else would be weird"). Purely in the service of scientific researc, you understand.

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Nasty goings on

      I met someone who'd worked for the police in a forensic IT role. She left after a couple of years as she couldn't stomach any more - she spent most of her day on her own in a locked room looking at, and cataloguing, illegal images and videos.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stuxnet was discovered (by the public) in 2010

    In the early 2000s, whatever the content, sticking a flash drive in the USB of an air-gapped military system was a Bad Idea (TM).

    1. Mark 85

      Re: Stuxnet was discovered (by the public) in 2010

      And yet, they did it anyway.

  15. chivo243 Silver badge

    Embarrassing on both sides

    On house calls, I hated coming across some NSFW stuff when trying to figure out why the computer was so slow, and out of disk space! It was even worse when the woman of the house was looking(lurking??) over my shoulder when I found the folder "don't delete", and saw some thumbs* of her sister in one of those oops moments while smiling for the camera... The man of the house was speechless... I used my fav Myth Busters quote "there's your problem"...

    *Turn off file preview if you're gonna share a computer with your wife!!

  16. goodjudge

    laptop resales

    I've told this one before, but in the 00s a friend asked me to look at the laptop his housemate wanted to sell him to see if it was worth the money. I switched it on and almost immediately saw how slow it was running. I checked the disk drive and it was almost full so I ran a search for files over X Mb. Back came a long list of videos, many with titles including things like "lolita" and "babysitter". I / we did NOT open any, I just told him that if any were really dodgy then the IP might have been traced and eventually someone official might come knocking. He didn't buy the laptop.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: laptop resales

      "I've told this one before, but in the 00s"

      Pronounced "naughties" in this instance?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In an earlier life I worked in a hotel, the traditional sort with doormen and ballrooms and us staff had to wear waistcoats and bow ties and little white gloves. By necessity a lot of traffic were travelling businessmen staying by themselves for just one night. Although family suites existed most rooms were of the single bed variety for just this sort of thing. Now there was (and perhaps still could be if not for the ubiquity of the internet) an unspoken agreement that lonely businessmen would stash copies of, erm, promotional material underneath the bottom drawer of furniture, a sort of Gideon's bible but in reverse. At some time the housekeeping department decided to redecorate and had a clear out of illicit literature, piling it up in the middle of the corridor like trophies or prohibition police getting ready to destroy barrels of whisky after a raid. It's important to understand that the unspoken agreement has existed since time immemorial (or immoral) trends and tastes have changed, collections have grown, some were positively historic. Grumble mags had given way to smutty vids, VHS to DVD. The mounds of material were growing and a quick discussion was had. Some favoured burning it all in a big bonfire but the event's department volunteered to find a suitable home for it all. Legend mentions a wheelbarrow at this point. And so they collected it all in the centre of one of their function rooms as a shrine to smut. The television-on-a-trolley was requisitioned and played host to non stop streaming for several days, almost like that one episode of Friends. The event's department was mostly run by young men and as it happens I knew one of them was undertaking a triple shift challenge because he had been dared to work for 24 hours straight. I chanced upon him in said function room as I was making a shortcut between elevators, by this time he had entered the twilight region of sleep deprivation and was standing glassy eyed in front of the TV. Without looking away he tried to explain himself and could only come up with "I'm going to get a clean spoon". Eventually the room was needed for real work and had to be cleared. The event's team had apparently tired of the novelty and seemed relieved to finally purge it all. Instead of a bonfire which would have attracted attention, everything simply went in the compacter. The team were subdued for several days afterwards but rumours still persist, told in hushed tones after shifts end, of the tale of porn mountain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The experience left him so scarred that, to this day, he can't use enter to form a line break.

  18. big col

    Before retirement I worked in student IT support in a university for 27 years . This was in the days before laptops were uncommon and the students used tower systems at home.

    Quite often would have problems and to pass the time I was happy to fix the computers for them. When a student brought there PC to my office, I would usually discover a mess of virus, spyware and toolbars.

    One morning a beautiful Italian young lady from a different department brought her PC in for me to take a look at. It was running slowly, and she could not print her dissertation which she needed to submit in 2 days time. No problem.

    So I took a look, and it was the usual problem of spyware and virus infestation. But there was a massive collection of porn videos and photos, which almost filled up the hard drive.

    So I cleaned up the virus and spyware issues. And I printed her 3 copy's of the dissertation. Next day she comes into the department with her boyfriend..Somewhat embarrassed I explained what the problem was, and went into my office to get her dissertation print outs.

    CRASH....... She had thumped her now ex boyfriend so hard he fell to the floor, while saying "this body not good enough for you"

    She then thanked me and took her computer away. A couple of days later She came back to the office with a nice bottle of Scotch, and a hug for helping her out.

    Fun times.

  19. Surrey Veteran

    Back in the 90's I worked in a Global US Bank offices in South America, they were rolling Windows NT 4.0 Workstations and with that a "Selected" group of users will have Internet Access. My job was to ensure that they agree with the Usage policy and install the TCP/IP stack for Novell (those were the days).

    Of course the Internet came with Cache/Proxy and the infamous Border Manager part of the Netware suit for Internet ... Despite our warnings (well only to a selected group of friends, the rest were pedantic juniors exec types) they fall into the Venus' temptations.

    To cut a long history short, we started to see a wave of sackings, including the walk with the security guards. The finings in some cases involved the police as well.

    In a adjacent building they set a particular enforcer to monitor the Proxy logs, she was a weirdo that tagged her name on any piece of stationary, like a mixture between Theresa May and Lucretia Borgia. She seemed to enjoy her job, but like any reign of terror is always an abrupt ending: In her case apparently she took the job so seriously that launched a campaign against the C-Suite, she ended up doing the walk of shame.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got that beat

    I got that beat ,

    Finding porn an peoples machines is all well and good , I've found porn on the machine starring the person I was repairing the machine for.

    Actually i guess thats maybe not that uncommon , but this involved more than 2 people :) and quite a lot of paraphenalia

    1. Rob Daglish

      Re: I got that beat

      Found?? Found??!

      I once fixed a laptop for an employee at a company I used to do some work for. It was the usual late 00's full of toolbars/diallers from pr0n sites, so I tidied it up and took it back.

      He was very happy to have his laptop back, even more so when he found out I hadn't had to wipe it - and proceeded to proudly show me the videos of him, his girlfriend and a few of his mates. His GF was a teacher in a local school that I also looked after, and I wasn't able to look her in the face afterwards... I'm not sure if she ever found out he was showing people the videos, but they're now happily married, so I wouldn't like to guess!

  21. aerogems Silver badge

    Some years ago I was on a job where the training consisted largely of trying to figure out which, of multiple revisions of documentation, having been squirreled away if different locations, was the correct one. As a result, I was traversing the filesystem when I stumbled across someone's SNES emulator and a number of ROMs stored on the company server. I strongly suspect the IT admin was either the one who was responsible, or at least already knew about it, because when I mentioned it to them they seemed surprisingly uninterested in someone storing pirated software on the company systems.

    At a different job, where I was repairing customer computers for a retail chain, it never ceased to amaze me what people would leave in plain view. I could understand it if maybe the computer wouldn't boot and they weren't able to clean things up a little, but most times the computer would boot just fine and they would have obvious pirated software and/or movies just sitting on the desktop. Fortunately for them, I was told only to report it if it was kiddie porn. Fortunately for me, one time I had an excuse to watch a movie I wanted to see, which a customer helpfully downloaded, so I could "test" for a display issue they reported.

    1. John D'oh!

      My old company had a copy of Office 2000 Professional, but the activation key scribbled on the label on the front was obviously fake, particularly as it was the same one I had downloaded!

  22. sebacoustic

    A Warning

    We had a production facility a decade and a bit ago when things were still being made in the UK. Someone on the night shift brought in some sort of homemade pr*n and _everyone there_ had a good ogle at it (i didn't as i rartely had to come in nights!)

    HR somehow got wind and interviewed everybody. Some held their hands up and said they'd watched it. Got a written warning. Others said they didn't. Got nothing.

    That sums up HR for me.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: A Warning

      We still make stuff here !

      Until the one of the day shift downloads something onto the wrong computer, begins watching with glee, skips doing his job and goes home at shift end.

      Not realising that the IT department (me partly among other hats) can see what he's downloaded onto the desktop of said laptop after its been brought in because its running slow.

      Deleted everything....... then notices its still running slow....... and the network is..... and everything on the admin side network is....... and then the virus scanner blows a fuse....

      thank gawd for that airgap.

      He came in the next day only to be sent home early with the contents of his locker ...

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: A Warning

      All you need to know to understand hr depts is that a few decades ago, before computers, HR required large numbers of admin staff to do lots of boring admin manually.

      Then computers came along, and basically made entire HR departments redundant overnight.

      The agreement reached at the time was that the few on top of the dept would keep their jobs in exchange for helping get rid of the rest.

      They've been parasiting ever since, making up stuff to justify their existence.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Self righteous tw-t could've handles this without ruining careers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      within a theater of conflict

      Perhaps the materials in question warranted such action... the kit also were not home PCs they were specifically configured systems for communication and monitoring in an active operation abuse of which could cost lives... maybe it was excessive and maybe not we do not have enough information to make that decision

    2. spuck

      Years ago when I was a contractor working on a military installation, my introduction to the facility involved a warning which basically boiled down to: "Your computer is considered part of a weapon system. Anything you do intentionally to the system which might negatively impact the availability and operation of the weapon system will be handled accordingly."

      Morality of the situation aside, when Private Slackjaw and Corporal Bonehead cause a remote computer system in a combat or training area to be unavailable by their goofing off, they make it unavailable to do its job; potentially endangering lives, incurring cost, and causing other people to be in harm's way to make the trip to repair it.

      1. midgepad

        Soldiers used to open bottles

        using magazines. Sometimes that damaged the magazines leading to failures to feed etc.

        Solution, build personal weapons with a bottle opener on the side.

        Similarly, making dure there is a computer to hand that doesn't matter might be wise.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      If a system is airgapped or subject to similarly secure procedures, then it's done for a reason. The issue wasn't what they were copying onto it (probably), but rather that they did so at all. Failing to protect a sensitive system is a problem, and when that's your job, giving you a new job has to be considered. Had they been doing something similarly risky with a more obviously dangerous machine, I'm guessing you would agree that it was important.

    4. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Yeah right.

      This computer controlling the artillery battery. Is used for porn.

      The computer controlling some bigger machines which change humans into Chunky Salsa within less than a second. Or only their arms or legs, if they are lucky. Is used for porn.

      The computers controlling steelworks. Or oil rigs. Or plants.

      And that is all you have to say? You are the self-righteous tw-t here, ignoring all other people around.

    5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Can only agree with the above comments

      Fancy being between the robot and the safety cage because a hax has over ridden the PLC lock out on the safety gate when 'start' button is pressed....

      THAT really ruins your career.... and the operators life..... and the manager's career.... and if the insurance plays up, everyone's careers

  24. Andy the ex-Brit

    Some users are really dumb about it

    We used to have a company-wide shared drive with folders for each employee, usually mapped to O:. Each employee had a folder under their user ID, so O:\s\smithtj for example. We could then share data with each other and say "I put it on your O drive" or "it's on my O drive." Anyone could see or modify anyone's files. All files were automatically deleted on a rolling 7-day basis, so nobody used it for permanent storage.

    Sometimes I would try to drop files on it, and it would be full. What I would do then was search the entire drive for files over 100 MB (that was a lot.) I'd sometimes find movies or music, and I could IM the owner and ask them to delete them to free up space.

    One time, of course, I found a huge trove of adult oriented files. Nothing creepy involving underage, but hey, it's pr0n, at work, and it's stopping me from using this drive. I summarily deleted it and all of the other files in the same user's folder, then for good measure the folder itself, knowing he'd be unlikely to start an investigation into where all his files went.

    Honestly they're lucky I found it instead of someone who would have reported it. I did consider doing so, and would have if it had been CP.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Posting anonymously to protect the guilty.

    In the distant past, when DOS was still king, I worked desktop support at one of the larger chip manufacturers in Silicon Valley. One day. I got a call from a division director, saying his system wasn't booting and his hard drive had gotten corrupted, and he needed it fixed pronto. I grabbed my trusty DOS boot disk with Norton Tools on it, and went to sort things out. Didn't take long: there was a directory C:\PICS\STUFF that was loaded with cross-linked files, with filenames like BUSTY073.JPG and HOTSEX19.JPG. Well over 1,000 files, as I recall.

    My response was a bit different from "Jones". I blew away the directory, and left the director a nice note: "The problem appears to be with the contents of C:\PICS\STUFF. Most of the files in that directory were corrupted. It would have taken hours to recover them, so I deleted the directory and fixed the few remaining cross-links in order to get your system running ASAP. If you want me to try and recover them, please let me know."

    I never heard from that director, for any reason, ever again.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I feel like the tech could have dealt with this differently rather than costing people their jobs.

    If it was as long ago as it seems, it was a different time and there would have been a certain level of understanding for soldiers posted to middle of nowhere.

    I had an encrypted laptop whilst in Iraq which I was told could access the internet and if we were downloading porn then to make sure we deleted it upon return.

    One laptop, ten men.

    Good times.

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      > I feel like the tech could have dealt with this differently rather than costing people their jobs.

      In the military. Where computer control arms, artillery and a lot of other stuff you keep distance from.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm

        > In the military. Where computer control arms, artillery and a lot of other stuff

        I'm definitely from another age because in my time computers (the kind with monitors and so on) were hardly ever used two-handed. Not anything with more than 640×480 and 16 colours.

        And I'm also sceptical about the alleged punishment. Maybe a septic thing? Someone too precious about his bodily fluids?

    2. gotes

      Re: Hmmm

      One laptop, ten men.

      Was that anything like two girls, one cup?

      Good times indeed.

  27. Postscript
    Thumb Down

    So many stories

    I worked in a group where one prize specimen liked to watch porn at his desk next to the community fridge. We banded together and complained to management and he ... moved his desk into a storage room. He remained there, presumably happy as a clam, for the remainder of the time I was there.

    Or the lab leader who asked for support and had been searching for (among other things) Miley Cyrus naked when she was well underage. He didn't successfully find any CP so he just got reported to management rather than the police. No repercussions beyond being embarrassed.

    Or the visiting international researcher who called for support for his fresh new PC... He'd had it for ONE day and it was eaten up with viruses. I won't burden you with his grotesque tastes. He got reported and pretended he no longer understood English. I formatted the PC, busted him down to User and told him to never speak to me again.

  28. Mr. V. Meldrew

    I don't believe it!

    Nah not buying this "story".

    Jail sentences for this, the person who should swing for this is the one who allowed the software/hardware to accept the "stuff" on the HDD in the first place.

    Banging out of order if you ask me.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: I don't believe it!

      It depends what the system was intended to do, but I mostly disagree. My work machine permits me to send out emails and upload files to external services. Yet, if I use those mechanisms to steal data, it's still my fault and I still go to jail for it. Locking things down to the extent that I'd be unable to steal corporate files would likely cause many problems with my actual work, and they trust me with the data and the machine, so it's not unreasonable for them to trust me to follow the policy as well.

    2. John PM Chappell

      Re: I don't believe it!

      Doing anything unauthorized on a TS system is likely to result in, at minimum, reduction in rank, and very easily can result in doing hard time for the duration, possibly followed by more time once kicked to civvy street. If you're not aware of this, fair enough, but in that case avoid commenting on things you're ignorant of.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I don't believe it!

        And if you're working on such a system you'll have been warned about the consequences.

  29. Marcelo Rodrigues

    Once I worked with the starting end of the images...

    Yes, yes: I kid You not.

    Once upon a time, when I was doing freelance support, I got this one gig. It was usual to a given online chat interview someone. This time they were interviewing one Playboy centerfold. And it went like this:

    The questions where asked by anyone, on the public chat

    They filtered it, and sent on a back channel the ones that should be answered

    The operator (me) read these, relayed them to her, that gave the answer, and typed it back. That was the job. So.

    I went to her house, and to her computer. Covering the full wall was one of the Playboy pictures of her - on all fours. Yeah, good look concentrating on the job with this one wall looking at me.

    After the interview was done, she asked me if I could extract some pictures of her from the Playboy CD! Yes, looks like they didn't gave any copy of her pictures to her, and she wanted me to extract some.

    So, we opened the CD program (it was all heavily condensed and obfuscated, exactly to fight this kind of thing), and went looking for HER pictures. With her saying "I like this one", "Can You get that one?" and so on.

    No, I couldn't extract them - but it made for a fun story...

  30. Already?

    Adults Only

    Probably told this before on here, but it’s a fact that filtering and blocking works both ways.

    My wife likes her camper van, me not so much but we or sometimes just she will go off in it for a weekend. We’re both old enough not to want to share these jaunts with squawking kids and toddlers so she searches for campsites that don’t accept children. That’s quite normal given the demograph of motorhomers and camper van enthusiasts.

    But she’s a teacher, and her school IT bods regularly get an alarm from her laptop that yet again she’s triggered the adult-only alert. Even at home. So far no consequences of any worth. Yet.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Adults Only

      I'm guessing from your story that the "adult" alerts are false alarms related to her doing camper van and pitch searches. The obvious answer is don't use "work" kit for personal stuff :-)

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Adults Only

        Did it simply ping on the word "adult"? Or "mature" (maybe...... I've heard.) Or - no, I won't. :-)

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Adults Only

      I was sat on a disciplinary panel to "judge" an employee who had been searching for holidays during work time on her work computer. Her job? Arranging holidays for the council's looked-after children.

      Yes, we called a disciplinary panel to investigate an employee doing her job.

  31. NITS

    Some years back we were investigating how to get Small Son's school networked and on the Interweb. A Google search for SOCKS (a Web proxy protocol) turned up, among other things, a site that had pictures of celebrities, not all of them athletes, wearing white tennis socks in addition to other clothing. Go figure.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      As someone said way back up there in the comments, if it exists, them there's porn about it somewhere.

      Friends of mine used to be an A&E nurse (Emergency Room for left pondians) and the stories of blokes needing things removed from their privates or had stuck their privates in and got trapped were, sometimes hilarious, other times terrifying. Women were just as bad, coming in with various items and articles stuck "inside" that had gone a bit far up while playing jiggy jiggy alone. According to some of the stories, both men and women managed to turn things you'd never expect into sex toys.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > the stories of blokes needing things removed from their privates or had stuck their privates in and got trapped were

        …most likely legend that get retold generation after generation. At least that was the case during my time as a medical technician.

        The only similar stuff that I recall were African girls needing treatment for genital mutilation, and even that wasn't common.

        1. TheFifth

          Some are definitely true. They even wrote a book about it...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Some of those stories are true...

        A 3" artillery shell. Gloucester hospital, December 2021.

      3. Muscleguy

        A NZ local ‘sleb presented at A&E with an item inserted into an orifice of his. Several medics around the country had to be disciplined for using their access privileges to view the pictures. Not your patient that is a no-no. They just couldn’t resist.

      4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        I think the first episode of Hugh Laurie as "House, M.D.", he deduces that the patient found standing up contains a foreign object, and House declares it won't be anything he hasn't already encountered in that context.

        He may be wrong - given whatever the date was - because it's an MP3 player.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Honestly, searching for "socks" should get you footwear. But possibly not footwear so thoroughly examined.

  32. Lost in Cyberspace

    Porn is often the cause

    Recently called out to a slow PC, in a old chap's home, with lots and lots of pop-ups. Some porn, some dating, some virus warnings. All Chrome push notifications.

    The cause was obvious, loads of porn tabs and granny dating going on. A quick cleanup - removing notifications and clearing the history/cookies/cache - sorted that all out.

    That wasn't the most notable part though.

    The next time the guy saw me, he 'told me off' for looking at porn on his PC. I was very confused, I'd never use a customer's computer for that. I'm a professional.

    His reasoning is that he's now getting pop-ups for teens in his home town wanting to meet up for sex.

  33. John D'oh!

    The USB/DVD couldn't be disabled because it was occasionally needed to download stuff, and the computers were never updated as they were offline, yet when he found the hidden folder he was then able to set the USB/DVD to download only. So, why wasn't that done in the first place?

  34. Ghostman

    Have you ever?

    I worked at a computer store in the US. I once had a woman bring in her computer because it had an "unusual" problem and asked if I could check it out somewhere off the floor. The Tech Bench was located in an open area, and the pull down doors were metal mesh so we could check on the progress of repair without having to open a door.

    Told the manager of her request and was told to take it in the break room since it was early enough in the day that no one should be using it.

    She told me to not connect it to the internet as that brought out the "problem", and if I was "prudish".

    I told her, as i was booting up her computer, that I had seen some things on various computers that would shock the devil himsel--"HOLY SH*T" What the hell, How did that get on your computer? Never mind, I don't want to know. Mam, would you please lean on the door for a few minutes while I shut this down. I didn't want one of our teenage cashiers walking in and having a seizure.

    On her screen were six different porn videos playing in their own screens, and the center displayed her normal desktop.

    Called the store manager and told him of the reason there would be a screen covered with a box and a sheet of cardboard in the Tech bench and to warn all other managers to not lift the box or move the cardboard.

    Since she did not want to do a full reset, it took several days to clean the computer and install AV software. There was one very persistent Trojan that kept loading itself back on the hdd. I finally convinced her to let me install a new hdd and do a fresh install and NO we cannot transfer any data between the two.

    1. Muscleguy

      Re: Have you ever?

      On an older computer than this one I tried to update Google Earth. It was unusable on that machine so I reverted it. Except every time I opened it it was back. The update file was set to auto install. Had to remove it from the download file and the cache and everything. A Trojan you say?

  35. Zuagroasta

    Being a pr0n critic for pay

    2nd Level for a big, big company, big, big Americas region. ‘Twas the time when storage was pricey, so the company paid us to look for all image/video files and anything over the magic 100MB; we used to joke that we were the only guys in the whole company who were paid to download MP3 collections and see pr0n at work… until it was no longer a joke. 2 cases of CP in MEX and 2 in BRA, some cloak&dagger stuff coordinating with the police in both countries and an arrest with drawn guns and lots of flashing lights down in Brazil. From that moment on, we reported all funny image/video/internet cache findings to regional security instead of IT, by order of global sec. I’m still proud of having sent those arseholes to 3rd world prisons where pedophiles get a very short, very painful stay.

  36. jlturriff

    Back to basics

    I have to wonder why the simplest fix (renaming or deleting the video viewing software) wasn't the first fix for this; would have saved a lot of troubleshooting...

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