BOFH and the Auditor

Expenses fraud? What expenses fraud?

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Security for virtualized datacentres

Episode 21 BOFH 2003: Episode 21

Don't you just always get them, people who're sure that the only reason you were put on the planet was to make their life a living Hell.

I mean obviously, if you'd annoyed me there might be a bit of friendly unholy retribution, but it's not like I go out looking to be annoyed.

As opposed to THIS person.

"Yes, well, as I said in my email, I need to get Domain Administrator access to manage the machines of my team," the user burbles.

"Yes, and if you read my reply, I said that I wasn't going to give it to you."

"I don't think you understand the importance of this project to the company and how it..."

>natter natter natter< "

I mentally switch off until I realise that the drone has ended.

"Hello?" the user asks.

"Hello?" I echo.

"You're still there?"

"I'm still where?"

"There. You're still on the line?"

"Sorry, I can't make out what you're saying."

"Can you hear me now?"

"Can I what?"

"Hear me."

"Not for me thanks, I'm trying to cut down."

"Look, there must be something wrong with the line, I'll call back!"

... Ten seconds later ...

"Can you hear me now?" he asks.

"Can I hear you now?"


"No. Why don't you try calling back on the other line?"

"OK, what's the number?"

I give him the mailroom number and ring off. And roger me senseless with a roll of thinwire if he's not banging on the door outside Mission Control five minutes later!

"It's about domain admin privilege!" he continues.


"Domain Administrator privileges to administer my machines!"

"Sorry, there must be a crossed line, I can't hear what you're saying!"

"Oh," he sneers sarcastically, penny dropping, "is that your way of saying I can't have Domain Admin privileges?"

"Oh no. My way of saying you can't have Domain Admin privileges is to say 'You can't have Domain Admin privileges' - you know, like I did in your email!"

"Oh be serious!"

"Serious is my m--"

"Middle name. Yes, I can guess..."

"What? What sort of mother would give their kid a middle name like that? No, I'm afraid mine's far more commonplace."

"Oh, yes, and what's that?"

"User hater."

"That's not commonplace."

"It is around here," I counter.

"What's going on here?" the Boss - well, the Boss's PA, if you want to get technical, see last week's episode - asks, smelling trouble and trying to head it off at the pass as a way of proving he should have his job back.

"Oh, just another person who wants Domain Admin privilege."

"But we don't give that out do we?"

"You might not ordinarily, but this is a particularly important project and my failure to implement it will not go down at all well in the boardroom," the user responds.

"Oh!" the Boss backtracks, damn him and his rubber spine! "What project is that then?"

"My group and I are on the verge of cracking expenses fraud in the company!"

"Expenses fraud!" I echo, pressing the button for the PFY's BATPAGER. "How interesting. You should have said!"

"Yes! Over the past five weeks we've been creating a huuuuge spreadsheet of all the expenses claims over the past few years from the paper copies and we're just about ready to run a comprehensive analysis of them looking for cases which meet certain criteria, with each member of the team concentrating on a particular area - meals, travel, equipment, petty cash, etc."

"Sounds fascinating! What criteria are you looking for exactly?"

"Oh, all sorts! Double dipping from separate expenses, duplicate claims from members of staff, staff who've authorised their own expenses, large one-off payments to companies which no longer exist, false claims for extended work hours and overtime that doesn't match building access logs - you name it, we're looking for it!"

"It certainly sounds like you've got every known dodge," I admit, with complete and depressing honesty. "So how much do you expect to save the company?"

"Save? Who knows - actually the focus is more on preventing future claims and bringing perpetrators to court!"

"And a good thing too!" I agree sagely. "Anyway, speaking of expenses claims and the like," I add, scribbling on a purchase order furiously and handing it over to the Boss, "could you autograph that for me?"

"A long-handled spade and three bags of quicklime," the auditor burbles "What on earth is that for?"

"It's technical," the PFY responds, bowling up and catching the end of the conversation. "Part of our back-up plan!"

"Well it's just the sort of odd order that would normally be ringing alarm bells in my head!" the auditor chuckles.

"As it should," I respond, again all too honestly "Anyway, about this Domain Admin privilege, why don't we line you up with that right now and you can get to work. Tell me, how are you going to use it - just to set my mind at rest from a security perspective?"

"Well, I have this utility I've used before which uses something called SMS to distribute things between machines, so I thought I'd copy the database from my machine to my team's and they can get cracking."

"After you take a back-up copy of your data," I suggest.

"Yes, yes, I'll do that the moment I get back! I have put a copy in the department file share, but you can't be too careful, can you?"

"No indeed!" >clickety tap tap< "Well, that's your Domain account created, AdminAudit, up and running when you get back to your office!"

"Excellent! Thanks!" he burbles, striding off with the Boss in tow (in case there's a chance of reflected glory) to make company history.

"And" >clickety< "that's your datafile deleted from the server and" >clickety< "the server and its indexes deleted from the back-up system" >clickety, tap, tap, clickety< "as well as" >click, tap, tap, click< "all non-OS files on your desktop machine - and" >clickety, click, click, click< "your team's desktop machines - (in case you're a lying bastard)" >clickety< "deleted, and, just to be sure " >clickety, drag, click, click, tap< "a run a quick disk zeroer over the lot of them."

"Well," the PFY sighs appreciatively, "it's good to see a true professional at work."

"Professional? Yes, I suppose I am, and it's time like these that... WAIT, do you smell that?"


"Fire, Accounts Payable archives - five minutes from now!"

"Meet you at the pub in ten?" the PFY asks.

"You're on. And don't forget an expenses form - Meal and overtime!"

"Gotcha!" ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2003, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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