SysAdmin Horror Stories

*Cue wolf howling in the background

We’ve all heard spooky tales of hardware stored in rooms where the temperature was up to 140 degrees, servers drowning because someone left the window open during a rainstorm, and IT tickets that made the hair on the back of an admin's neck stand up..

Tell us about the strangest request you’ve ever gotten, the dumbest question a user ever asked, or those days when Murphy's law seemed to only apply to you.

Write a short SysAdmin horror story in the comment box below to complete this activity for the July Mission and earn 150 points!

Anonymous
Parents
  • This reminds me of the horror stories in trying to help my brother use his PC.  To compound the problem, he lives out of state, and would frequently call me asking for computer related assistance. Some of those support calls where SO painful that a trip to the dentist for a root canal would have been a less painful alternative. To make matters worse, he seemed to always be picking up trojans, viruses and malware and then would call me up to ask for help in getting rid of the problems. These phonecalls would go on FOR HOURS.


    Here is how I fixed the problem for good. 

    Me: I want to to go to Google

    Him: How do I do that?

    Me: Open up your browser and type Google and press enter

    Him: Whats a browser? How do I do that?

    Me: its what you look at the internet with...

    Him: Oh..It just opened Word?  Is that what you wanted?

    ....and so the conversation goes for what seems like hours. Suddenly a rather wicked idea pops into my head. Somehow, I manage to get him to successfully download and install VNC - the remote screen control app that doesn't have to alert the viewer that his screen is being controlled/watched. I then have him go to a bunch of other security websites to heighten his awareness of the dangers of surfing stoopid, all the while lecturing and educating him...

    Me: The internet is a real dangerous place. You've got to be careful. VERY careful.  Hackers are out there that want your PC.  If your PC gets infected, it's possible for them to download applications that do all kinds of nasty things.  They can steal your passwords. They can gain access to your bank and credit cards.


    (About this time, I am using VNC to 'randomly' open and close windows, open web sites, etc)

    They can even take over your PC, turning it into a PC that THEY can control.  I've heard tell of people having the FBI show up at there door because their PC was taken over by a hacker and used to launch attacks against the white house or pentagon. Those poor folks had no way to know that they were hacked..

    ( I open and close more windows)

    Him: Hey! I'm not sure what is going on, but my PC is behaving kinda strange. It's trying to go to the internet on its own!

    Me: Uh-oh. That sounds bad!  Are you sure you just didn't type too fast? Lets run a virus scan just in case. If you cant do that - its really bad.

    (He tries to  - but I interfere with mouse movement.  I finally let him open it, and as soon as it opens, I close it)


    Him: I'm starting to freak here.  I don't know what's going on!  I cant do anything on my PC!!

    (I open a command prompt, and start running commands - IPCONFIG, netstat, tracert whitehouse.gov etc)

    Me: Wow - What did you do?!  This is sounding very serious.  Sounds like your PC might be under attack...maybe a hacker is trying to get into it.  You might need to shut it off it it looks like they are trying to get to your bank or worse....

    ​I start typing "Access: Pentagon Classification TS5.   PASSWORD REQUIRED:  FAILURE 1 NOTED:  Alert sequence Delta Alpha Charlie initiated : IP TRACKING LEVEL 1 PRIORITY INITIATED : WARNING - PASSWORD FAILURE 2; ALERT TEAM NOTIFIED: FINAL PASSWORD FAILURE: Security Breach detected.  Tracking completed. IP ADDRESS confirmed. Response Team dispatched. Address Confirmed:  Illegal security breach confirmed. Trace complete. Team dispatched - 2123 Main street: Perpetrator confirmation - John Smith.  ( I obviously used his correct name and address)


    I continued talking as I typed the above... he started interrupting me...

    Him:  Oh man, Oh Man - This is really really bad... They're hacking into the Pentagon. What should I do What should I do???!!!!!

    Me: (purposing going too slow for his comfort).  W e l l,   y o u' ve  r u n    t h e   a n t i v i r u s......

    Him :  HELP!  They know who I am - What should I do!!!!!!!?????

    Me - Well, I'd suggest turning it off, putting it in the box, and returning it to the store!!!

    About that time I couldn't hold back the laughter any more.  I finally told him what I had done.  He didn't think it nearly so funny.

    BUT - I have not received a support call from him since!!!!!

Comment
  • This reminds me of the horror stories in trying to help my brother use his PC.  To compound the problem, he lives out of state, and would frequently call me asking for computer related assistance. Some of those support calls where SO painful that a trip to the dentist for a root canal would have been a less painful alternative. To make matters worse, he seemed to always be picking up trojans, viruses and malware and then would call me up to ask for help in getting rid of the problems. These phonecalls would go on FOR HOURS.


    Here is how I fixed the problem for good. 

    Me: I want to to go to Google

    Him: How do I do that?

    Me: Open up your browser and type Google and press enter

    Him: Whats a browser? How do I do that?

    Me: its what you look at the internet with...

    Him: Oh..It just opened Word?  Is that what you wanted?

    ....and so the conversation goes for what seems like hours. Suddenly a rather wicked idea pops into my head. Somehow, I manage to get him to successfully download and install VNC - the remote screen control app that doesn't have to alert the viewer that his screen is being controlled/watched. I then have him go to a bunch of other security websites to heighten his awareness of the dangers of surfing stoopid, all the while lecturing and educating him...

    Me: The internet is a real dangerous place. You've got to be careful. VERY careful.  Hackers are out there that want your PC.  If your PC gets infected, it's possible for them to download applications that do all kinds of nasty things.  They can steal your passwords. They can gain access to your bank and credit cards.


    (About this time, I am using VNC to 'randomly' open and close windows, open web sites, etc)

    They can even take over your PC, turning it into a PC that THEY can control.  I've heard tell of people having the FBI show up at there door because their PC was taken over by a hacker and used to launch attacks against the white house or pentagon. Those poor folks had no way to know that they were hacked..

    ( I open and close more windows)

    Him: Hey! I'm not sure what is going on, but my PC is behaving kinda strange. It's trying to go to the internet on its own!

    Me: Uh-oh. That sounds bad!  Are you sure you just didn't type too fast? Lets run a virus scan just in case. If you cant do that - its really bad.

    (He tries to  - but I interfere with mouse movement.  I finally let him open it, and as soon as it opens, I close it)


    Him: I'm starting to freak here.  I don't know what's going on!  I cant do anything on my PC!!

    (I open a command prompt, and start running commands - IPCONFIG, netstat, tracert whitehouse.gov etc)

    Me: Wow - What did you do?!  This is sounding very serious.  Sounds like your PC might be under attack...maybe a hacker is trying to get into it.  You might need to shut it off it it looks like they are trying to get to your bank or worse....

    ​I start typing "Access: Pentagon Classification TS5.   PASSWORD REQUIRED:  FAILURE 1 NOTED:  Alert sequence Delta Alpha Charlie initiated : IP TRACKING LEVEL 1 PRIORITY INITIATED : WARNING - PASSWORD FAILURE 2; ALERT TEAM NOTIFIED: FINAL PASSWORD FAILURE: Security Breach detected.  Tracking completed. IP ADDRESS confirmed. Response Team dispatched. Address Confirmed:  Illegal security breach confirmed. Trace complete. Team dispatched - 2123 Main street: Perpetrator confirmation - John Smith.  ( I obviously used his correct name and address)


    I continued talking as I typed the above... he started interrupting me...

    Him:  Oh man, Oh Man - This is really really bad... They're hacking into the Pentagon. What should I do What should I do???!!!!!

    Me: (purposing going too slow for his comfort).  W e l l,   y o u' ve  r u n    t h e   a n t i v i r u s......

    Him :  HELP!  They know who I am - What should I do!!!!!!!?????

    Me - Well, I'd suggest turning it off, putting it in the box, and returning it to the store!!!

    About that time I couldn't hold back the laughter any more.  I finally told him what I had done.  He didn't think it nearly so funny.

    BUT - I have not received a support call from him since!!!!!

Children
No Data