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Ten Things Your IT Department Won't Tell You
The Wall Street Journal ^ | July 30, 2007 | VAUHINI VARA

Posted on 07/31/2007 7:47:38 AM PDT by redfish53

Ten Things Your IT Department Won't Tell You By VAUHINI VARA July 30, 2007; Page R1

Admit it: For many of us, our work computer is a home away from home.

It seems only fair, since our home computer is typically an office away from the office. So in between typing up reports and poring over spreadsheets, we use our office PCs to keep up with our lives. We do birthday shopping, check out funny clips on YouTube and catch up with friends by email or instant message.

And often it's just easier to accomplish certain tasks using consumer technology than using the sometimes clunky office technology our company gives us -- compare Gmail with a corporate email account.

Security expert Mark Lobel of PricewaterhouseCoopers describes the most common things employees do on the internet to jeopardize company security. There's only one problem with what we're doing: Our employers sometimes don't like it. Partly, they want us to work while we're at work. And partly, they're afraid that what we're doing compromises the company's computer network -- putting the company at risk in a host of ways. So they've asked their information-technology departments to block us from bringing our home to work.

End of story? Not so fast. To find out whether it's possible to get around the IT departments, we asked Web experts for some advice. Specifically, we asked them to find the top 10 secrets our IT departments don't want us to know. How to surf to blocked sites without leaving any traces, for instance, or carry on instant-message chats without having to download software....

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: 10things; computer; computers; internet; it; office; web; work; workplace
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Kinda Cool
1 posted on 07/31/2007 7:47:44 AM PDT by redfish53
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To: rdb3; chance33_98; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; PenguinWry; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; ..

2 posted on 07/31/2007 7:52:35 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: redfish53

Cool. Some new ports and websites for me to block from the end users. Course, us IT guys can go wherever we want.


3 posted on 07/31/2007 7:53:56 AM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: Incorrigible

lol...yeah...don’t get mad with power tho or they will move you to storage B


4 posted on 07/31/2007 7:55:21 AM PDT by redfish53
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To: Incorrigible

Yup. I wonder how many people know that their IT department often employs devices that inspect every single incoming and outgoing packet. :)


5 posted on 07/31/2007 7:55:48 AM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: Incorrigible
I used to do work as the IT administrator for a company in London and found as long as you keep a good set of firewall rules no one will compromise your security.

I can't believe that in this top ten no one mentioned renaming file extensions and compression as ways of getting the files you want in work.......come on, these old tricks still work today!!

6 posted on 07/31/2007 7:58:36 AM PDT by snowman_returns (The Stone Roses - best band the world ever saw!!)
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To: redfish53

None of these work. We can see.

And lots of these (Since they are all backed up by “free web-based services”) will load your machine with spam and spyware. Nothing is free.

And then when you come b!tching to us about it, don’t expect sympathy. We know what behavior garners specific spam.

If you’re shopping for a house, you’ll get lots of mortgage mail. if you’re going to gaming sites, you’ll get lots of pharma / porn spams. You’ll get those pesky little PDF attachment emails from going to more “nefarious sites”.

We know. And it’s not a matter of spying on anyone (Too many people to spy on) it’s a matter of understanding how it all works.


7 posted on 07/31/2007 7:58:46 AM PDT by Celerity
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To: redfish53
LOL... Anyway, I was looking out my window and there are two squirrels and they were married....
8 posted on 07/31/2007 8:01:38 AM PDT by JenBrower (...government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: redfish53

Sometimes we IT managers just make up answers to your questions just to get you to go away. Not all the time, just to people who have it coming to them.


9 posted on 07/31/2007 8:04:57 AM PDT by SeanOGuano
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To: redfish53
I'm in IT.

I can say that some, but not all of these will work.

I can also say that, generally, the reason why there are rules for using your PC, is because they're necessary. For instance, if you install non-standard software (that you've been told NOT to do) and it breaks your system, I come fix it when I get around to it.

Most of these "work-arounds" dealt with access to your PC/files remotely. Have fun explaining to your manager how you uploaded your company's financials to StreamLoad (to bypass security so you could work from home) and they were stolen and published on the web. (true story) Or how you visited one of "those" websites at home, your laptop introduced a virus at work, and now no one (all 6000-odd corporate PCs) can access the internet because the virus took down the company proxy server (also a true story).

I'll also let you know that by-and-large...IT depts collect all of the goings-on, on all of the PCs on their network. Generally, though, we don't care. Personally, I don't care if you're checking your Fantasy Football stats at lunch, in fact, I'm likely doing the same. The only time it matters is when your manager comes up to me and says "redfish53 isn't getting their work done...what do his surfing habits look like?". That's when I pay attention. It doesn't happen frequently - the last time was pretty egregious, an employee was surfing sites like "GayMenForSex" at work - but by the time it gets to me, the supervisor's mind is made up and they're looking for excuses.

People forget that their work computers generally DON'T BELONG to THEM....they belong to, and are supported by, the company. So long as the company pays the piper, they get to call the tune.

10 posted on 07/31/2007 8:05:47 AM PDT by wbill
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To: JenBrower

I’ve got your red stapler. And I don’t eat guacamole.


11 posted on 07/31/2007 8:07:07 AM PDT by wbill
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To: redfish53
Great post, thanks!

With apologies in advance to all the IT freepers present, this tread requires that I rerun my favorite Dilbert:


12 posted on 07/31/2007 8:08:15 AM PDT by expat_panama
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To: wbill

LOL my old boss gave me a red stapler (a Swingline!) for Christmas once.

I just might take my travellers check to a competing resort...


13 posted on 07/31/2007 8:08:46 AM PDT by JenBrower (...government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: redfish53

A good IDS(intrusion detection system) can cut down allot of the tricks mentioned, or at least alert the proper IT staff of the rogue activity. A good IT department may also have “sniffers” running on the network. Such activity can also be easily found by a search of the sniffer logs, and such activity can be reported to the proper personnel. Having a firewall(s) that log ALL perimeter activity to a syslog server, where activity can be analyzed can also be used to detect rogue activity. The trick is having an IT department with enough staff to bother with such things, and I bet that’s a small percentage. At most companies, I’d wager that no one looks for such things until after the fact when there has been a problem or security breach.

Personally, I don’t care what our users do on the internet, as long as they aren’t screwing something up. If someone is a repeat offender, they have their access privileges removed.


14 posted on 07/31/2007 8:09:32 AM PDT by KoRn (Just Say NO ....To Liberal Republicans - FRED THOMPSON FOR PRESIDENT!)
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To: Celerity

I applaude my network guys, two cubes down. Every one of their work arounds was blocked, even the google language translation.


15 posted on 07/31/2007 8:10:44 AM PDT by Ingtar (The LDS problem that Romney is facing is not his religion, but his Lacking Decisive Stands.)
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To: expat_panama
LOL!! "As far as you know, I'll give you my pager number." has pretty much been a punch line at all of the places I've worked.

I live in a Dilbert world.

16 posted on 07/31/2007 8:15:26 AM PDT by wbill
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To: P-40
In my company, they warn you flat out that every keystroke you make can be, and probably is, recorded.

Since we are a market-oriented news service and they are extremely paranoid about possible insider trading or just plain spying by the competition, it’s easy enough to understand.

That doesn’t stop people from gossiping or telling jokes on the internal messaging service. I have always figured that if they fired everyone for that, the office would be a mighty lonely place.

17 posted on 07/31/2007 8:15:36 AM PDT by Ronin (Bushed out!!! Another tragic victim of BDS.)
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To: redfish53

I laugh at the IT guys when they start swapping cards out of problem computers and still can’t figure out what the hell is going on, especially when I can walk over to the tower, and inspect the hardware and point out that I don’t even work in their department and I can still save them the trouble with a quick 2 minute inspection...

Hardware also fails... yet everyone still blames software...


18 posted on 07/31/2007 8:17:16 AM PDT by MD_Willington_1976
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To: redfish53

Surf from a virtual machine. Or VPN from a virtual machine to the office and surf from the host.


19 posted on 07/31/2007 8:18:51 AM PDT by VeniVidiVici (No buy China!!)
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To: Incorrigible

One of our IT Security guys just printed this out, LOL!


20 posted on 07/31/2007 8:20:00 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: KoRn

Corporations are pikers compared to universities. We get hammered constantly from inside and outside the wire. You install a new PC with the cable connected and you will get infected. It’s guaranteed. If the firewall is down, you are doomed.

We have guys who do nothing but isolate infected machines and watch for bad traffic.


21 posted on 07/31/2007 8:20:19 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: Celerity

As a teacher, I sometimes need access to my home computer for files or to personal email where something I need is at, and it is annoying as heck when schools block virtually everything.

Thank goodness for LogMeIn.com!!!!!!!!!

I am afraid it will be blocked this year though, and I will be out of luck.


22 posted on 07/31/2007 8:21:08 AM PDT by rwfromkansas ("Dick Cheney should have gone hunting with Hillary." -- Yakov Smirnoff)
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To: wbill
I come fix it when I get around to it.

Right; and you'll get your paycheck when one of us lower class people in accounting "get around to it"

The idea is that the company is a team, we're on the same side, and the company's goal is to serve the customer.   The company sales rep can surf all he wants, wherever he wants, so long as more orders are coming in.  All that matters is that the company gets rich serving the customer via the sales rep. 

The IT is worth his paycheck only if he can serve the sales rep.

23 posted on 07/31/2007 8:22:16 AM PDT by expat_panama
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To: All

ping


24 posted on 07/31/2007 8:24:29 AM PDT by PinkDolphin (It's the work of true education to train the youth to be thinkers, not mere reflectors of other men)
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To: JenBrower

Why don’t you go ahead and ahh take care of that cockroach problem? mmmKaaayy


25 posted on 07/31/2007 8:24:41 AM PDT by RedRightReturn (Global Warming is the new Eugenics...and Al Gore is the new Margaret Sanger)
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To: wbill

Of course, there is logmein.com, which lets you access and control your computer remotely for free....no online storage at all.

However, I substitute taught last year and a few schools had already blocked it. I have been hired to teach this year and hope the district I am in allows it.

I need access to files on my home computer and web email sometimes, and it is really annoying when it is blocked.


26 posted on 07/31/2007 8:25:07 AM PDT by rwfromkansas ("Dick Cheney should have gone hunting with Hillary." -- Yakov Smirnoff)
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To: redfish53

bump for later... I’m at work =(


27 posted on 07/31/2007 8:28:57 AM PDT by SpinnerWebb (Islam... if ya can't join 'em, beat 'em.)
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To: AppyPappy

When I was in college last year, they decided to stop mandated installations of AVG at the beginning of the school year, and all hell broke loose. It took months to get rid of all the viruses.


28 posted on 07/31/2007 8:29:12 AM PDT by rwfromkansas ("Dick Cheney should have gone hunting with Hillary." -- Yakov Smirnoff)
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To: snowman_returns
As a security consultant, I can tell you that a good firewall is no longer enough. The bad guys are constantly finding creative ways to get in. Automated anti-virus, proxy servers, network admission control, IDS, and a SOC are often required to keep a high visibility target (banks, etc) from being compromised.
29 posted on 07/31/2007 8:29:19 AM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: expat_panama
our posts crossed paths---

I used to live in a cubicle for the federal gov't where for years I butted heads with IT sections that could do whatever they wanted in an organization not subject to the laws of economics.   My heart goes out to you.

The good news is there's hope.  Now I'm self employed.  OK, I'm all alone when the system crashes, I'm having to remember my own passwords, I'm stuck with picking out and paying for all my own equipment,

and loving it!

30 posted on 07/31/2007 8:30:22 AM PDT by expat_panama
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To: redfish53
Oh, the humanity! "they want us to work while we're at work."
31 posted on 07/31/2007 8:32:28 AM PDT by Minutemen ("It's a Religion of Peace")
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To: wbill
Post 30 meant for you. 

Never have gotten good at running these damn computer things...

32 posted on 07/31/2007 8:33:02 AM PDT by expat_panama
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To: Incorrigible
Some new ports and websites for me to block from the end users.

Can you block outgoing port 443? Probably not. That's what I use to run an SSH tunnel with proxy forwarding from work to my home network, where it is NATted to port 22 on my Unix box. Then I adjust Firefox so that not just http and https are proxied, but DNS lookups too. Been doing this for a couple of years with no problems at all. I can go to any web site I want in perfect encrypted secrecy.

-ccm

33 posted on 07/31/2007 8:34:31 AM PDT by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
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To: Incorrigible

Stinky cheese might somehow appear in your air conditioning vent.


34 posted on 07/31/2007 8:35:10 AM PDT by listenhillary (¿Qué parter DE "illegal" ousted no entente?)
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To: VeniVidiVici
Or VPN from a virtual machine to the office and surf from the host.

I surf the web through a VPN connected to a friend's network, but for the anonymity though.
35 posted on 07/31/2007 8:36:52 AM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: JenBrower

I often think that pieces of flair in an office enviroment would allow the engineers to express themselves


36 posted on 07/31/2007 8:37:00 AM PDT by redfish53
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To: expat_panama
Right; and you'll get your paycheck when one of us lower class people in accounting "get around to it"

Nice. So, people that deliberately circumvent the rules and break their PCs deserve the same high level of service as those who - through no fault of their own - have a issue that's keeping them from working?

Between outside threats, management initiatives, and just normal wear-and-tear, I have enough real problems to fix without users screwing up their PCs on purpose.

You are mostly right about the sales team...everywhere I've worked, they get what they want. BUT - I've rarely met a salesperson that didn't go by the rules. It only takes "Weatherbug" or some other little gizmo Bluescreening their laptop in front of a customer -once- before they stick to the rules. Especially for the companies I've worked in that sell computers or software for a living.

Unless your IT guy is a sadist (and they do exist out there....people with a *little* power are dangerous) all of the standards are put in place for a reason.

37 posted on 07/31/2007 8:38:05 AM PDT by wbill
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To: ShadowAce

Thanks for the ping. B4L8r


38 posted on 07/31/2007 8:38:28 AM PDT by Kevmo (We should withdraw from Iraq — via Tehran. And Duncan Hunter is just the man to get that job done.)
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To: redfish53
Security expert Mark Lobel of PricewaterhouseCoopers

Must be a newbie. I don't remember him there when I was there. Well, maybe not based in the same office, that could be it ...

39 posted on 07/31/2007 8:39:42 AM PDT by Tanniker Smith (I didn't know she was a Liberal when I married her.)
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To: Ingtar

Yes and the network guys probably exclude their machines from the block(s).


40 posted on 07/31/2007 8:41:12 AM PDT by relictele
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To: expat_panama
LOL....didn't realize that you worked for the G. You likely have plenty of reasons to complain about IT, then! LOL!!!

I applied for a job with the local city gov't IT dept when I was looking a couple of years back. Had multiple interviews, things looked good. Then nothing. Finally, after I'd taken a new position with a different company and been working there for almost a year, I got a note in the mail from the city thanking me for my interest, and that I wouldn't be a good fit for their department.

Private sector is a whole different ballgame. Self-Employed is even better.

41 posted on 07/31/2007 8:44:11 AM PDT by wbill
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To: wbill
Or how you visited one of "those" websites at home, your laptop introduced a virus at work, and now no one (all 6000-odd corporate PCs) can access the internet because the virus took down the company proxy server (also a true story).

We had an employee who visited an AUTO PARTS SITE that was hacked and infected. It downloaded a backdoor trojan, which allowed installer downloads. In minutes, his machine was swamped with popups, toolbars, fake spyware scanners like Spylocked, and then everything propagated on the network shares. Some of these defeated firewall settings and shut down AV's.

Some of the CNC machine tools were Windows Based (Are they NUTS??).

The machines were running expensive, intricate titanium parts when they went down.

We lost $50,000.

The people who write and distribute many of these are known. Nothing happens to them.

42 posted on 07/31/2007 8:45:12 AM PDT by Gorzaloon (Food imported from China = Cesspool + Flavr-Straw™)
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To: redfish53
Partly, they want us to work while we're at work.

I'd have more sympathy for that position if they respected compartmentalization in both directions. (i.e. no work during off hours)

43 posted on 07/31/2007 8:48:39 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: redfish53

And take away your stapler.


44 posted on 07/31/2007 8:49:12 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: SeanOGuano
Sometimes we IT managers just make up answers to your questions just to get you to go away.

I've also seen this tactic work well when the IT guy has no clue what the real answer is.

45 posted on 07/31/2007 8:49:15 AM PDT by Half Vast Conspiracy (Can I cast the second stone?)
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To: redfish53

BTTT


46 posted on 07/31/2007 8:49:27 AM PDT by chilepepper (The map is not the territory -- Alfred Korzybski)
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To: redfish53
TechFellas
47 posted on 07/31/2007 8:49:46 AM PDT by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Still Championship U)
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To: Gorzaloon
I got infected through a Hotel Site not too long ago. It was the front-end for the in-room internet service. Fortunately, I caught it before I attached to the VPN, or hauled my laptop back to the office.

I imagine that there were a lot of unhappy travellers that day. I tried calling the tech support # on the hotel's website and couldn't get through.

48 posted on 07/31/2007 8:51:16 AM PDT by wbill
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To: JenBrower
I just might take my travellers check to a competing resort...

"I asked for a Margarita with no salt, No Salt!......"

49 posted on 07/31/2007 8:54:11 AM PDT by cardinal4
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To: redfish53

bttt


50 posted on 07/31/2007 8:59:07 AM PDT by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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