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Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

Boothy Silver badge

Reminds me of something that happened to me many many moons ago now.

We were decommissioning some equipment, and for security, they too had epoxied some large plates onto the top of the cases, which in turn had large chains welded onto them, then some large padlocks to fasten to the wall. This gear had been in there for probably 20 years (this was custom electronic control gear, full of relays etc. not servers). You could access the insides for maintenance (side panels), you just couldn't remove the gear itself, not easily anyway (in theory).

Turns out no one had any idea where the keys were, and so they were thinking of getting a disk cutter/angle grinder (too big for bolt cutters) to cut the chains. I wasn't keen on this idea, as I still needed to get the stuff off site, and really didn't want chains etc stuck to them.

I noticed that the surface looked like it was painted, on closer inspection, it was actually some sort of plastic coating. So out with the Stanley, cut a groove in the surface a short way from the plate, then used a blade on its own to lever up the plastic, it just peeled off. I placed a flat wide chisel in between the metal top and the plastic coating, to see if this could pop the plate off. A few taps with universal adjustment device (i.e. a large hammer), and the plates just came off, still glued to the plastic layer!

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