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Most IT Pros Have Seen Embarrassing Information About Their Colleagues 144

An anonymous reader writes: Often working in isolation, IT teams are still considered to be supporting players in many workplaces, yet the responsibility being placed on them is huge. In the event of a cyber attack, network outage or other major issue, they will typically drop everything to fix the problem at hand. Almost all the respondents (95%) to a new AlienVault survey said that they have fixed a user or executive's personal computer issue during their work hours. In addition, over three-quarters (77%) said that they had seen and kept secret potentially embarrassing information relating to their colleagues' or executives' use of company-owned IT resources.
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Most IT Pros Have Seen Embarrassing Information About Their Colleagues

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    News at 11?

    (Most just got to management by being born with the right connections or playing sleezy, not by being smart. So it's always hilarious for me when I, the lowly tech guy, finds out my boss is having an affair or has a strange fetish, both true stories. Didn't tell them, of course, but I never looked at them the same way afterwards.)

    • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

      When it is mixed in with a steady stream of "I didn't do anything and now it's infected" and "Did you get the email about the email server being down?" , disgusting keyboards that don't work anymore, demands for more optical mice because the kids got new computers or whatever else...

      this kind of stuff doesn't stand out so much.

      • Migrations often bring a lot of this out of the woodwork. You can tell users to clean up their machines before migration till you're blue in the face but you'll still get the uncomfortable moment when the 80Gb of "essential company data" they need transferred from their old laptop has filenames like "Busty Betty bonks like an animal"...
        Though as IT staff we're not immune to this either - I've seen someone asked to hand in their resignation by the end of the day because someone else borrowed their flash dr
        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          That's a pretty stupid anecdote. Unless the flash drive belonged to the company, no one should have to resign because of porn.

          • by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @08:17AM (#51477747) Homepage

            That's a pretty stupid comment. Their customer saw the flash drive full of porn, there's no going back from that and saying "Oh, this is just Bill's personal thumb drive, we the company don't support this". Why did Bill have his wank drive at work in the first place? Is he in the server room marking the servers as his like some animal?

            Don't bring porn to work. Don't share it at work. It's not that difficult a task.

            • The company manager should resign because he had to borrow Bill's personal drive because he was too greedy to have his own and should suffer the consequences.
            • by Dins ( 2538550 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @08:35AM (#51477807)

              Yeah, I've never grasped the stupidity of some people. There's no excuse for this, especially in IT. I mean, do you NOT have an internet connected PC or other device at home? Maybe back in the 90s some didn't, but for the past 15 years there's absolutely no excuse. And if you really feel the need to surreptitiously rub one out at work, there's always your personal phone.

              Sure, I occasionally use my corporate laptop to send the odd personal e-mail but that's allowed in our IT policy, and every time I do it I quietly ask myself would it be devastating to my career or personal life if the contents of that e-mail were made public. If the answer is yes, I don't send it. This isn't rocket surgery.

              • by houghi ( 78078 )

                I am still all for whitelisting. together with PCs that have complete Internet access on a separate network. That way enforcing strict rules is easy as people have access to their personal mailbox if they need it.

                At one company we had 100% unfiltered access and a very liberal management team who did not care, as long as you did your job. Looking at porn was no different than reading a paper newspaper. Do whatever you want as long as work is not impacted.

                One persons history of sites went a bit viral as it wa

                • Looking at porn was no different than reading a paper newspaper. Do whatever you want as long as work is not impacted.

                  Pretty sure the HR department was either clueless or were really out to destroy the company. Now if it were a company that made/sold porn, no problem... but any other company on Earth has an HR (and/or legal) department that lives in absolute fear of shit like this.

                  Seriously - the first female employee to stumble across it would make enough off the lawsuit to retire, so long as she was never seen to participate.

                  • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

                    Seriously - the first female employee to stumble across it would make enough off the lawsuit to retire, so long as she was never seen to participate.

                    Had this chick years ago, right after all the Sexual Harassment BS came out in the 1990s. Her name was Bambi. No really - it was on her license. Worked for IBM at one point. We were all scared because she was really hot. None of us wanted to become an example.

                    Not so. Next thing I knew she had Adam & Eve catalog on her desk and some other stuff I'm probably still too young to look at. She said - have at it. Feel free to look and order. She was also very good on the swing I understand. I remember she sa

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                I used to get confused with this behavior. Seen it plenty myself. Why risk your career just to rub one off at work?

                I've realized though that these guys are not stupid. They're just frustrated.

                They have zero privacy at home between kids and a wife that won't leave them alone but won't have sex with them more than once every few months. They also tend to have social standards (conservative, religious) that looks down on masturbation and healthy recreational sex.

                I also used to wonder why every successful long

          • by creimer ( 824291 )

            Unless the flash drive belonged to the company, no one should have to resign because of porn.

            Most corporations have a zero-tolerance policy regarding porn. Doesn't matter if it's regular porn or child porn. If you got porn and its discovered, you're fired. If a corporation discovers pornography and doesn't take immediate remedial action, the corporation owns the porn and becomes criminally liable for possessing it.

        • Just be professional about it. Tell him that there seems to be a mix of personal and company data, and to please separate the two and transfer any business relevant data to the server where it belongs. Personal data can to stored to an external drive or we can wipe it along with the rest of the internal drive.

          Let them sort it out. Only they know what's what among all that data. There's no need to be involved in the sorting process.

          • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

            Just be professional about it. Tell him that there seems to be a mix of personal and company data, and to please separate the two and transfer any business relevant data to the server where it belongs. Personal data can to stored to an external drive or we can wipe it along with the rest of the internal drive.

            Let them sort it out. Only they know what's what among all that data. There's no need to be involved in the sorting process.

            The sorting process might be quite arduous though, with lots of 10 minute breaks in it and all...

          • people are just stupid. i always tell people likely to use company laptops for private stuff to set up a separate user account for this. that way, you'll never expose your wife's tits on a projector in front of a whole room like my boss managed to do. fortunately, it wasn't porn, just breastfeeding.

        • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

          Migrations often bring a lot of this out of the woodwork. You can tell users to clean up their machines before migration till you're blue in the face but you'll still get the uncomfortable moment when the 80Gb of "essential company data" they need transferred from their old laptop has filenames like "Busty Betty bonks like an animal"... Though as IT staff we're not immune to this either - I've seen someone asked to hand in their resignation by the end of the day because someone else borrowed their flash drive to transfer customer data and it turned out to be full of pr0n... which Windows helpfully popped up thumbnails of right in front of said customer...

          This is why my porn is all encrypted. ;)

          Mostly our problem is telling people MP3s shouldn't be copied onto the network.

          I got a 1 terabyte hard drive from a (very snotty in general, a pile of self-important turds if I ever saw one) customer once that wanted their VM copied onto it so they could host it elsewhere. We were happy to see them go. Instead of buying a hard drive for couple hundred, the dude used his personal drive full of pirated movies. Of course, we copied all of them and tucked his VM on

          • Mostly our problem is telling people MP3s shouldn't be copied onto the network.

            Actually, I saw that at a former employer myself - damned Netapp had to have at least a full shelf of disk devoted to just music. Mind you, it was mostly folks who didn't have a clue about it - they just plugged their ipods/iphones into their workstation, and iTunes happily backed it all up... to their Documents folder, which was mounted from the office-dedicated SAN.

            Tried to bring it up with the PHBs multiple times, but they usually dumped my mention of it down the nearest memory hole.

            I got one small conso

        • by MrDoh! ( 71235 )
          if only it was "bonks LIKE an animal"... A manager brought his son's computer in to have a 'quick look at when I've got a spare moment' /raises eye to my manager "just get it done, no need to upset anyone" "ok then..." "like... now? drop what you're doing and just sort it" "ok..."

          The Manager and my manager follow me into the workspace and hover over my shoulder as I plug it in, power it on, do the usual updates/driver checks/system info/clear temp folders/scan disk/defrag, the sort of stuff you do befor

          • Interesting that you think "interracial gay stuff" is like "animal stuff". I guess you think interracial gay sex isn't "normal"?
        • Migrations often bring a lot of this out of the woodwork.

          You aint wrong there.

          This story immediately brought back memories of a migration for a large oilfield company back around ~2K. We were doing background data transfers from user's existing machines to the new ones while they were still using their existing machines. One of the techs gets a call from the guy he's working on at the time and the guy wants to make sure he gets his 976 (anyone remember those?) pron dialers (plural) reinstalled! Another guy is getting frustrated because his data copy is never en

        • by creimer ( 824291 )

          You can tell users to clean up their machines before migration till you're blue in the face but you'll still get the uncomfortable moment when the 80Gb of "essential company data" they need transferred from their old laptop has filenames like "Busty Betty bonks like an animal".

          A coworker on a PC refresh project reported discovering child pornography to our manager. Manager called the chief of security. Coworker and manager gave a separate video taped statement with the chief legal counsel. Security checked out the old computer and new computer after hours, determined that it was child porn, and confiscated the computers. For three days the employee screamed and hollered for his old computer back, chasing IT workers in the hallway and harassing management in the back offices. And

    • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:23AM (#51477989)

      Do you think management are the only ones who are dumbasses? People are dumbasses. All of them, including me.

      I have known of company secrets because the IT people where dumbasses. If I type a command I should NOT get a list of all the passwords the people use. In plain text. When I do not work in IT.
      I have seen extreme high level secrets due to failing IT people. At one time I had access to ALL areas including those that I should not have had access to. Reaction from IT when I told them? "If you have access, somebody thinks you must have it, so you got it." How is that for being a dumbass.

      So please get of your high horse, you are nothing special. I have had stupid managers who were capable of nothing and responding to EVERY question with "Please ask houghi" and protected by N+2. ObviouslyN+1 was fired when N+2 had to leave.
      I have had managers who were great at what they were doing, yet did not had my knowledge, because that is why they had me. I have had people working for me. Some smart, some stupid. As a whole, some people are smart and some people are stupid.

      I have know about afairs on several levels and all I was interested in was if it would affect the job. If not, I had as much interest in it as in whomever is on the frontpage of the tabloid. Unless they were friends, I would treat them as proffesional as always and who they have sex with is none of my business, regardless of their function.

      I even had one manager who felt he needed to explain that the rumours of his afair with another manager were not true. I told him I do not care if it true or not. And to this day I do not know if there was some truth in it or not and I do not care.

      I often am the person people feek the need to tell secrets to. They think it is because I can keep a secret. The real reason is that I do not care. I do not even exclude myself of being stupid and a dumbass. I have done some stupid things. Some where I was lucky not to get fired for.

      So please when you say managers are dumb, please do not exlude the rest of the people.

      • by gmack ( 197796 )

        I'll take any of that over the time I found a pic of my overweight manager naked and sitting on some woman's face.

  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @06:27AM (#51477483)

    I've seen it, even if it only flicked up on screen in a fleeting glimpse while I was typing another URL.

    I'm not sure if this was before "Privacy Mode" became common or not.

    I fix this problem by only using NNTP for my porn needs... support staff don't usually download tools using your newsreader....

    • by fazig ( 2909523 )
      I suppose that not only IP pros, but most people who had to fix some internet/browser related issue for someone else, have found out one or more thing about that person, that could be considered as embarrassing. Especially when it comes to personal machines, that are only used by a single person, the use of some kind of "privacy mode" seems to be overwhelmed by the convenience of using bookmarks and similar things.

      I've seen a couple of things that I consider to be weird, but I do not judge people based on
      • I've seen a couple of things that I consider to be weird, but I do not judge people based on that, since it's none of my business.

        This is why I've helped configure all the browsers my friends and family use to be very privacy-oriented, I absolutely don't want to see their bookmarked porn collection when I have to fix their computers every now and then. :-)

        When I did helpdesking years back I remember the awkwardness our team had to go through all the time. I wish people didn't use their work computers for porn because sometimes it puts the IT department into an uncomfortable position where they may stumble upon suspicious material a

    • Interesting point you almost made there - *we* should be using a separate browsing mode to avoid this when using another's computer. Browser vendors could make a clean-profile CLI launch easier, to support user privacy. Real users need support on occasion.

      • Eh, minor quibble, but part of the problem is that when you're troubleshooting, you sometimes need to be using the user's exact configuration. Someone calls up with a browser problem, if you load a clean profile, you might find that there's no problem because the problem is in the profile.

  • Has seen them naked. How is this news for nerds or anyone else for that matter?
    Or are you just trying to say 'you know, we could have let it slip that you're into...'

    Everyone already knows cops have the best dope & it has the best porn.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Has seen them naked. How is this news for nerds or anyone else for that matter?

      If you hadn't written half your comment this would have made more sense. It is also a bit strange to capitalize the middle of the sentence like that.

      Regardless the doctor parallel is interesting. That the doctor knows a lot of intimate and embarrassing stuff about their patients isn't a new problem and the laws surrounding this is a lot more mature. Just recently a nurse got fined for looking at the journal of a (celebrity) patient she had nothing to do with.
      Now, the situation for IT administrators is a bit

      • I think it depends on the job and the intention - the nurse didn't accidentally open explorer and see the documents, she had to search for them and it stopped being the kind of case you're talking of, and became an invasion of privacy (and/or professional ethics) at that point.

        If you take your laptop to the store for fixing, you are asking them to look at your laptop, it'd be like that nurse being assigned to look after the celeb.

        I take your point though, even though the IT guys are looking at your stuff, y

        • (not sure if that's the case if they tell the cops of your kiddie porn stash however)

          Definitely not the case. It's mandatory reporting, after all. At least in most states [childwelfare.gov].

    • You're ridiculous. A doctor may or may not see you naked (If your dentist wants to see you naked, be suspicious) because that is part of their job. Unless you work at Kink.com, a hard drive full of porn has nothing to do with your companies business and company property shouldn't be used to store your wank material. In some countries you are opening the company up to lawsuits or even criminal complaints.

      Good IT would at minimum delete the material and warn the person against using their work PC for stori

      • Its RARE for an IT person to selectively delete a user's personal files like you suggest. Its something we just dont generally do. Its not our job to judge this crap. Quite frankly, in IT you learn the dark heart of humanity very quickly.
        • Yeah, it's not our job to judge this crap. That's why you report it to HR, like your company guideline's probably state. Then they decide what happens next. If, however, you were in the mood to do someone a favor and not get them into serious trouble, delete the shit and tell them to keep it at home don't just ignore that it's there.
      • (If your dentist wants to see you naked, be suspicious)

        The last dentist I went to was really hot. (More importantly, she was really good. I have a long and varied and sordid list of dental work, and I've never had that few problems with that particular procedure.)

  • Which is cool, because my last steady IT gig was at gay.com and I'm not. Gay, that is. I'm cool as a cucumber.

  • Who are these people who would keep something like that?

    Because I sure as hell don't wanna work with 'em.

    Seen it? Oh, gods yes. I'd need more hands to count how much, over 24 years, of my friends and coworkers' dirty laundry I've seen. Hell, at one point, I had to tell a NOC manager "there are naked pictures of my whole team somewhere on the Internet, so she's a cam girl, chill" (this was 1998).

    The person that conversation was about ended up being probably the best hire the company ever had.

    You're a goddamn

    • In 1998 that attitude may have been fine, but today it's not. If you discover porn on a work PC and leave it, then you've just made yourself a part of any sexual harassment complaint that person may find themselves a part of, because upper management WILL burn your ass to save their own. And if that person has a folder of child porn? Hope you've got a secondary career to fall back on.

      • by Dins ( 2538550 )

        And if that person has a folder of child porn? Hope you've got a secondary career to fall back on.

        Why? Wouldn't you be safe if you reported it to the authorities and your company? It's an honest question, as I would have thought that would have covered you, legally at least. I guess unless your company got weird about it, and you were shortly thereafter downsized.

        • My comment was that if you're ignoring the existence of porn and they do turn up something like child porn, then yeah expect to get into trouble too. If you've reported it to HR though you should be clear.
      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        To me there is a slight difference in porn that is legal and childporn that is not legal.

        If I overhear on a company phone someone booking a weekend trip for him and his wife is also slightely different then hearing them ordering a hitman to kill his wife.

        Nice dragging childporn into it. It is basically: If nothing illegal is done, let it go. If something illegal is done, take the appropriate action, depending on what that illegal action is.

        This has NOTHING to do with IT, computers or Internet. The folder co

        • To me there is a slight difference in porn that is legal and childporn that is not legal.

          If I overhear on a company phone someone booking a weekend trip for him and his wife is also slightely different then hearing them ordering a hitman to kill his wife.

          Nice dragging childporn into it. It is basically: If nothing illegal is done, let it go. If something illegal is done, take the appropriate action, depending on what that illegal action is.

          This has NOTHING to do with IT, computers or Internet. The folder could be a printout in his briefcase that falls out in the elevator. Hustler? No problem. 7 year old lolita's? Problem.

          To me what you could report is personal usage on a company PC, but that should be regardless of the amount of nipples. If you see a folder of his wedding, you must do the same.

          Hey, are you a lawyer? Do you work for HR? Because your opinion of what is or isn't permissible at work is meaningless next to theirs. Ask HR how they feel about you ignoring porn on work PC's and see how they feel about it. Ask legal the ramifications to you personally for ignoring porn on a work PC and whether or not you could be dragged into the lawsuit because you ignored it. Yeah, even if it's a Hustler that fell out of someone's briefcase. Any company that doesn't already have a clear HR policy

      • by dagard ( 14743 )

        Hey, cowboy?

        When did I say it was on a work PC? You do realize what a camgirl is, right?

        And way to escalate with the child porn reference. Your problem there is that, yeah, I probably wrote the code submitting your images to the NCMEC if they match certain things that are available.

        How about you get an actual argument?

        • To quote you

          You're a goddamn sysadmin. Go in, fix, leave. You don't read their email. You don't copy off dick pics or whatever. You go to the bar and drink the memory out of your head, like a professional.

          Which is you telling other IT professionals to just ignore porn on the work PCs. Sure if it's not a work PC that's fine, whatever. This whole thread however is talking about work PCs.

          The reason I brought up child porn is because if someone has a bunch of visible porn, and you let that go and someone else reports it, investigates and they find something SUCH AS child porn also on there, then it's your ass on the line too because you let it go.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      You go to the bar and drink the memory out of your head, like a professional.

      That poor goat! [Sob]

  • And yet they keep lowering our wages, treating us with increased paranoia, demand that we keep logs of everything forever (for law enforcement reasons) and nothing (privacy), support the latest iWidget on the corporate Lan...

  • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @07:32AM (#51477651)
    As such, if I come across anything illegal, I report it. If it's unsuitable for a work environment or a risk, I have a quiet word, Anything else, I ignore it, none of my business.
  • At an old job back in the 1990s when we had the first company-wide email system with Internet connectivity we used an old version of Groupwise. The SMTP gateway was a standalone DOS system and it used to choke from time to time, requiring extracting the queued message it couldn't process. I used to pull these out and if possible, decode the message and attachments for the intended user.

    One of these messages was to a "rising star" in the company and featured some personal chatter between the employee and

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Depending on the country and/or upbringing, being open about his feelings towards men might not be possible.

      If anything, I feel sorry for him not being able to be who he was, but had to lie to his company, his wife, his kids and perhaps even himself.

  • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @08:42AM (#51477829)

    It's become a harsh world for the thee monkeys. I'm referring to the monkeys Mizaru "see no evil", Kikazaru "speak no evil" and Iwazaru "speak no evil" [wikipedia.org]. In the days of written letters there were seldom times when one was professionally compelled to witness the private thoughts of others. Now we have mailboxes and photos and browsing histories scattered on disks. Every popular program that manages information wants to slap it all up in your face as soon as possible.

    The 3monkeys problem doesn't relate to knowing or discovering passwords, unlocking access. You're perfectly free to flaunt your prowess as a fixer or safe-cracking locksmith. Good 3M compels you remain unaware of the contents of the safe after you have opened it.. After a successful IT job are you in a position to honestly say not a single photo (or thumbnail) was displayed, not a snippet of private text was displayed, even for a moment? If not,then (perhaps) there are ways to refine the technique.

    As a PC tech I started to imagine it as sort of a game, where you lose points if you see anything private. When forced to run programs to see if they were functional, I'd de-focus my eyes and could see that something was there, good enough. When cleaning viruses or upgrading I preferred to invite the customer in to run all the necessary programs to ensure their data was there.

    In the Internet age it went massive. Someone is always root on machines that store hundreds of thousands of mailboxes. I started a Freenet and have run two ISPs and I have never peeked into anyone else's email unless directed to with immediate consent. Even then rarely, and not without a bit of nausea. Why? Because It is just too damned easy... in the same sense that pulling a trigger is easy. So early on I have programmed myself that way. If you pick up a gun you won't hold it by the trigger. As an administrator, I won't pick up your account by its email.

    In the early days of mailboxes, Sendmail and queues when solving problems meant shuffling mail around sometimes rewriting portions of headers, it was a simple as using grep and using well-tested scripts to avoid seeing content. Many things were block and line-oriented ASCII. Not so easy today, when everyone loves to embed their favorite database solution.

    Imagine that you have been called in to de-virus and recover data on a PC. You have been offered handsome pay for your work, but as you work you realize there are two men standing behind you with telltale bulges in their suits. They are watching you and the screen in front of you very intently. You sense that there's something on that PC that could put you in a bad way, should they catch a glimpse of it. Could you complete the job without... incident?

    Developers of software that manages people's secrets should always consider the plight of the 3monkeys IT worker. This could mean a command-line utility, as prevalent as a standard uninstall procedure (ahem!), that is guaranteed to sift through and verify all functional areas of the program and its data store, and in the end give only total statistics of content --- enough to see that you have not reverted to an empty database. It would be good to provide this utility.

    Some day, someone's life may be at stake.

    • After a successful IT job are you in a position to honestly say not a single photo (or thumbnail) was displayed, not a snippet of private text was displayed, even for a moment? If not,then (perhaps) there are ways to refine the technique.

      That's easy to say if you're in a sysadmin role that requires clear, defined tasks. It's a lot more difficult if you're in a helpdesk support role, where you might get a problem thrown your way like, "My Microsoft Word file looks funny. Can you take a look?" How are you going to solve that without looking at their Word file?

    • At one of my former employers, I had access to some online financial accounts (paypal etc) with hundreds of thousands of dollars doing regular turnover. I really didn't have much need for the access except on a few isolated incidents of cross-referencing payments in logs with the provider.

      When the password came up for expiry, I actually asked my boss if I could *not* have the new password. My main rationale was that
      a) I didn't need it
      and
      b) If something ever went wrong (e.g. somebody hacked the account, or a

  • ... the priests of the computer age. "You wish for me to repair your life (computer), then you must confess your sins, so i may know how many nasty porn viruses you downloaded."
    • by Revarg ( 4035425 )
      "i shall now preform the sacred ritual. Oh great Malwarebytes, may you cleanse this man's laptop so that we might cleanse his heart."
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @09:06AM (#51477887) Homepage Journal
    A truly professional "IT Pro" will learn to forget the things he has seen about his/her colleagues.
    We've all had to do things like: check mail spools, check user directories, enable debug-level logging on various systems, etc. and seen embarrassing or personal things. The question is: are you a professional who learns to forget it and stick to the relevant data or are you a shithead who spreads rumours and makes us all look like privacy-invading assholes?
    • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

      A truly professional "IT Pro" will learn to forget the things he has seen about his/her colleagues.

      I bet you haven't been around long or seen much. Some things you simply can't un-see. You will remember it the rest of your days. Some stuff I saw over 30 years ago.

      Some passwords that female employees use and were cracked... you'll never forget that either. Especially when you see them.

      • Been at this since 1984. Obviously there are things I remember, I simply choose to "forget."
        • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

          Been at this since 1984. Obviously there are things I remember, I simply choose to "forget."

          Well you're better at that than I am. I've probably forgot some things... Maybe it was the shock of some of the things I've seen. Some of us are not very nice people.

  • While I agree that we should be Professional IT workers, but I believe there's even a more practical reason we say nothing about the 'interesting' things we see on Executives personal computers, or even the company owner's business computer: We've got more pressing matters. Or in layman terms: We ain't got time for that.

    There's always something more core to the business that should be done to spin our wheels with whatever personal or private information someone has on their computer. The exceptions might

  • Is this supposed to be surprising? Hell, I don't even work IT and I've had to deal with this before at work. People who don't know computers do stupid things with them. Or they do things they don't realize will still be on the computer next week when they're back at the office on the corporate network. Shocking!

    As for "potentially embarrassing" that means so little as to be useless. Nothing embarrasses me but I have coworkers that would be embarrassed if you heard them sneeze. There's such a spectrum

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @10:22AM (#51478351)
    I've been a Unix or Linux system admin most of my career and I've found out several embarrassing things about co-workers.
    1) The first was that two co-workers were using a system I managed with 50 or fewer users to send erotic email to each other. Both were married and not to each other. I'm not sure that there was any real activity going on. They may have simply used email to sort of flirt with each other. But if management had known what they were saying, both might have been fired.
    2) The job after that involved my small system admin group (3 people) in the 1990s getting a bounced email message that our manager sent. Back in those days, home internet services were so crappy (AOL and the like) that many IT professionals deliberately used work email for personal things. Turns out that our manager, who was married at the time, was into BDSM and he was looking for partners while on company business in Europe. Our group kept his email to ourselves and we found a way to fix his email problem so that we didn't get any more bounced messages without ever telling him what we saw. He was a good manager, so we didn't want to embarrass him. He did end up getting divorced not very long after that. We weren't surprised.
    3) Some years ago due to an email addressing mistake a confidential email between an HR person and someone else in the company ended up going to my group's email and we saw the exact salary of a developer in another department. This developer was, I think (not totally sure about it), in the US on an H1-B visa instead of a green card and was very badly underpaid compared to others doing the same job. This developer was a very well liked co-worker and I felt kind of bad to find out how little we actually paid them. I've believed for years that the worst thing you can ever find out is what kind of money your colleagues actually make. I've seen really gross discrepancies at every job I've ever had with idiots being paid too much and good workers being paid too little. Finding out exactly how bad this is in reality is just terrible.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I've believed for years that the worst thing you can ever find out is what kind of money your colleagues actually make. I've seen really gross discrepancies at every job I've ever had with idiots being paid too much and good workers being paid too little. Finding out exactly how bad this is in reality is just terrible.

      Actually, the reality is the complete opposite - the worst thing to do is keep everyone's salary a secret. By making it open, you actually allow for honest discussions to take place.

      Employers

  • Stating the obvious is news? Seriously, it's been the case from the very early days that sysadmins have access to confidential information. Used to be we had access to everything. Due to siloing, not so much anymore, but still way more than most people think. (a) People keep sensitive information of various levels of sensitivity on computers. (b) Other people are hired to manage, maintain and repair these computers (a) + (b) = ...you figure it out.

    It has been long the case that sysadmins have had acces

  • There is a difference between:

    * my coworker had sensitive personal info using its job laptop or pc,
    and some coworker saw it, or read it.

    versus

    * I got some sensitive personal info from a coworker,
    and Im telling everyone, he or she likes to go to those stupid childish anime cosplay,
    and Im telling everyone in the office, becaue Im a j*erk

    This is one of the cases where recruiters, wheter Human Resources or technical,
    may be in the "gray area".

    I have personal problems in jobs, because coworkers get personal info,

  • I have seen many funny things, and that even without trying hard, most of the things accidentally:
    - the manager that went all day long looking at tranny porn instead of working;
    - the secretary that had viruses with horse bestiality all over her folders;
    - the HR department that left a text file with ALL the salaries in a public folder;
    - the department that used the bank transaction system as a games console;
    - the consultant that used to spend the billable hours playing galaxians;
    - the ISP were 90% of t
  • ...I stumbled across some messages being exchanged between my manager and the president of the company. This was pre-email, some dumb Novell messaging tool from the late 80s.

    He (the president) was swooning over her and telling her how he was a "one-woman kind of man" (which is funny given he was married) while she was reflecting on the wonderful night they had "walking hand in hand through the snow".

    Eventually his wife found out, my manager was fired, he was divorced and had to sell the company to pay her o

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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