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BOFH: When desk lamps attack

Defending admin rights

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Episode 4 "Yeah, I was just ringing because I can't install an application on my machine."

"Really?" I ask. "What application?"

"Oh that's not important, but what is important is that I don't seem to have Administrator access to my machine."

"Yes, that's right, no-one does. Well, that's not completely true, myself and my assistant do, and the support staff have 'Power User' access."

"But it's my machine!"

"No, it's the Company's machine - you're just using it."

"The company bought the machine for me!"

"For you to USE, yes. Like your desk."

"Ah, but I can install stuff on my desk!"

"Sorry?"

"I can install stuff on my desk - like a desk lamp!"

"You already have a desk lamp. A stainless steel one with the company crest. Anything else you might install could be dangerous!"

"You can't have a 'dangerous' desk lamp!"

"Yes you could. One that has the phase wire connected to the metal body instead of the earth wire would be dangerous."

"That's ridiculous, who'd make a lamp like that?!"

"My assistant, if you really annoyed him. And even then it'd be installed by a experienced systems administrator without your knowledge - like most good installations."

"You install stuff on our machines without telling us?"

"Yes, for security reasons."

"Oh you mean antivirus updates and service pack things?"

"Uh.... ok... yeah sure."

"What if I want to install something?"

"You mean like a piece of music playing software?"

"No, there's a jukebox player already installed, but yes."

"We don't permit that. I mean after all, it's a work machine. In fact I didn't realise that there was a jukebox application in the standard installation image. Must make a note of that."

"It's already installed, so there's nothing you can do about it!"

"Of course I can! I could even subcontract the job out to one of the more aggressive of the company's security team with a reputation for brutality and the personality of a serial killer, but that's not the way we do things around here."

"Oh," he sighs, danger averted.

"No, I'll just make a slight change to the group policy that will remove everyone's jukebox application, and when they ask, I'll tell them that it was you that brought it to my attention."

"I.. You wouldn't dare!"

>clickety<

"Already done!"

The next day the wheels fall off as there's a groundswell of support for the jukebox application from people like the Head of IT and the CEO who are among those inconvenienced by the removal.

Sigh.

I get the PFY to make the necessary reversals to the Group Policy then tell everyone to reboot, which causes the network to grind for a couple of hours.

Sigh.

Yet again the phone rings and I notice it's my troublemaker, so I take the call. Wouldn't you know it, he sounds a little pleased with himself...

"So ANYWAY," he smirks. "I'd like that administrative access to my machine now. Oh, and could you come and do it personally?"

"I think you're mistaking the battle for the war," I say. "We're still not permitting administrative access."

"I think you are!" he replies, pulling an ace from his sleeve. "I'd had a little meeting with the CEO and he agrees that I should be allowed to install the applications I need to do my job. Seeing as how you people seem to get confused by all those options."

Double sigh.

"Yeah... no I don't think so," I reply.

"But I insist," he chuckles. "Oh hang on, it's not me that's insisting, that's right, it's the C.E.O!"

I suppress the urge to ring the neanderthal in security and decide instead to deal with this in a much more adult manner - in keeping with my responsible image.

. . . the next day . . .

"I'm waiting..." my annoying user sighs down the phone at me

"What for, I've sorted everything out that you wanted."

"I haven't got admin rights to my machine!"

"Oh, ADMIN RIGHTS, of course!" I gasp. "I'm sorry, I must have got confused by all the options and installed a new desk lamp for you instead."

"I don't want a new desk lamp. Anyway, it's the same desk lamp!"

"Really? I thought your old desk lamp was a bit grubby. With a recently modified 'earthing' system. Sitting on the CEO's desk. Covered in your fingerprints - which, as you probably know, show up awfully well on stainless steel surfaces."

"What the hell's it doing th... I... ... You wouldn't!"

"Course not! Oh look >clickety< the lights have just gone out on the top floor. However will the CEO see what he's doing?"

"Ok, I don't need administrative rights!" he stutters, backpeddling like a madman.

"Wasting valuable CPR seconds here..."

>Clatter!<

"So did you really swap the lamps over?" the PFY asks.

"Nah, he left on a junket with his PA. But his office doorhandle's got some form of wiring problem that probably needs looki..."

A high-pitched scream punctuates the building

"Or maybe not," the PFY comments. ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2005, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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