Disk-wiping network issue



  • My university sent an interesting email to all staff this morning:

    "Late on Friday afternoon we were made aware of a network issue which may have caused some Windows 7 PC’s to have their hard drives wiped. If you are reading this email your PC has not been affected, although you may have colleagues who are unable to access their PC. Staff using the Windows XP operating system is not impacted."

    I count 4 WTF's:

    1. In an institution with an anally-retentive security policy and Draconian firewall rules, an intrusion got through that could wipe disks with no apparent involvement from the user.
    2. Members of staff need to be told that "if your computer works then your disk wasn't wiped".
    3. The IT guys seem to have forgotten that many staff check emails from home or on mobile devices, so the email could easily be read by staff whose workstations were in fact affected.

    And finally, WTF #4 is a tie: either it's the fact that the majority of the institution's workstations still run a 10-year-old OS, or the fact that said 10-year-old OS survived the intrusion better than the latest version.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     Most likely, the "issue" was "We incorrectly configured some tool that we've only deployed on Windows 7 machines to uninstall unauthorized and unlicensed software. We forgot to tell it the OS is licensed."



  • @Elusive Pete said:

    a network issue which may have caused some Windows 7 PC’s to have their hard drives wiped
    LOLWUT? What sort of 'network issue' could possibly wipe a hard drive? Smells like something that needs to be on Snopes with a red circle at the top, or they're covering for a cack-handed sysadmin/PFY.



  • @PJH said:

    LOLWUT? What sort of 'network issue' could possibly wipe a hard drive? Smells like something that needs to be on Snopes with a red circle at the top, or they're covering for a cack-handed sysadmin/PFY.
    PXE boot with image that checks the installed OS on the drive, and does a nuke-and-pave if it's Windows 7? Or a broken script delivered through group policy?



  • @PJH said:

    What sort of 'network issue' could possibly wipe a hard drive? Smells like something that needs to be on Snopes with a red circle at the top, or they're covering for a cack-handed sysadmin/PFY.

    My first guess would actually be that somebody got suckered-in by a phishing email (we've been getting targeted by a lot of them lately). Afaik, each member of staff has a single username/password combination for everything, including internal network access, VPN, and the public web-facing email system. Consolidating the logins was a very welcome change from when we had 3 or 4 combinations each, but obviously it should only have been done for non-privileged accounts.

    On the other hand, it's entirely possible it was an IT monkey making a hell of a mess. It seems to be an annual ritual.



  • @Elusive Pete said:

    If you are reading this email your PC has not been affected

     [ . . . ]

    1.  [ . . . ]
    2. Members of staff need to be told that "if your computer works then your disk wasn't wiped".
    3. The IT guys seem to have forgotten that many staff check emails from home or on mobile devices, so the email could easily be read by staff whose workstations were in fact affected.
    And also, what if the PC they're reading the email on is switched off?



  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Weng said:

     Most likely, the "issue" was "We incorrectly configured some tool that we've only deployed on Windows 7 machines to uninstall unauthorized and unlicensed software. We forgot to get the OS licensed."

    FTFY



  • @Elusive Pete said:

    My university sent an interesting email to all staff this morning:

    "Late on Friday afternoon we were made aware of a network issue which may have caused some Windows 7 PC’s to have their hard drives wiped. If you are reading this email your PC has not been affected, although you may have colleagues who are unable to access their PC. Staff using the Windows XP operating system is not impacted."

    I count 4 WTF's:

    1. In an institution with an anally-retentive security policy and Draconian firewall rules, an intrusion got through that could wipe disks with no apparent involvement from the user.
    2. Members of staff need to be told that "if your computer works then your disk wasn't wiped".
    3. The IT guys seem to have forgotten that many staff check emails from home or on mobile devices, so the email could easily be read by staff whose workstations were in fact affected.

    And finally, WTF #4 is a tie: either it's the fact that the majority of the institution's workstations still run a 10-year-old OS, or the fact that said 10-year-old OS survived the intrusion better than the latest version.

    Sorry, going to have to call you on that. WTF #1 is 'may have [...] their hard disk drives wiped' - don't they know/can't they tell? - closely followed by WTF #2: the sheer level of illiteracy displayed in that email. 'Staff... is not impacted'? 'Staff are not affected, perhaps.' Oh, and 'we were made aware of an issue'? An idiot can tell that's a prevarication of some kind, so why not just come clean and admit what the cockup was?

    From time to time I've done a fair bit of work as a support manager and that kind of thing, and one of the things that drives me batshit crazy is the insistence of support monkeys on sending out poorly written, uninformative, frankly downright dishonest emails/notifications to users. It makes us look like complete idiots, and although, I have to admit, quite a lot of support workers are precisely that, we do try to project an image. I hope all my support drones know that if they pulled a stunt like that they'd get a formal reprimand at least.



  • @MascarponeRun said:

    Sorry, going to have to call you on that. WTF #1 is 'may have [...] their hard disk drives wiped' - don't they know/can't they tell? -

    It's hard to say, without knowing what was actually done, but I guess after the fact, how would you know the difference between a machine that was off during the incident vs is off now because its drive was wiped? Even if they logged the actions (assuming one of their servers was responsible for whatever happened) maybe the logs were wiped, too. This could account for some of the vagueness about what actually happened, and makes the WTFs more awesome.



  • @Elusive Pete said:

    My university sent an interesting email to all staff this morning:

    "Late on Friday afternoon we were made aware of a network issue which may have caused some Windows 7 PC’s to have their hard drives wiped. If you are reading this email your PC has not been affected, although you may have colleagues who are unable to access their PC. Staff using the Windows XP operating system is not impacted."

     

    WTF #5: A unversity employee who doesn't know 'staff' (in the sense used) is a plural noun.

    And it should have been in Latin.



  • @ender said:

    @PJH said:
    LOLWUT? What sort of 'network issue' could possibly wipe a hard drive? Smells like something that needs to be on Snopes with a red circle at the top, or they're covering for a cack-handed sysadmin/PFY.
    PXE boot with image that checks the installed OS on the drive, and does a nuke-and-pave if it's Windows 7? Or a broken script delivered through group policy?

    ... yes, you have decoded the meaning of "covering for a cack-handed sysadmin", congratulations.

    And I agree for what it's worth. This isn't the result of malware, this is someone fucking up.



  • @MascarponeRun said:

    Sorry, going to have to call you on that. WTF #1 is 'may have [...] their hard disk drives wiped' - don't they know/can't they tell? - closely followed by WTF #2: the sheer level of illiteracy displayed in that email. 'Staff... is not impacted'? 'Staff are not affected, perhaps.'

    I wouldn't normally be a pedantic dickweed here (actually, I probably would), but I object as I always use "faculty" and "staff" as singular nouns when sending out this kind of e-mail. They may sometimes be considered plural nouns, but dictionaries differ on whether this is correct. (Merriam-Webster says no, World English Dictionary says yes, etc.) "Faculty is" vs. "Faculty members are"; "Staff is" vs. "Staff members are". However, I would agree that the original e-mail should have said "Staff members using" as the staff is not using Windows XP; certain staff members are.

     



  •  @Elusive Pete said:

    I count 4 WTF's:

    1. In an institution with an anally-retentive security policy and Draconian firewall rules, an intrusion got through that could wipe disks with no apparent involvement from the user.
    2. Members of staff need to be told that "if your computer works then your disk wasn't wiped".
    3. The IT guys seem to have forgotten that many staff check emails from home or on mobile devices, so the email could easily be read by staff whose workstations were in fact affected.

     

    I don't think #2 is actually a WTF (except for #3) - it does rule out the possibility of "we already restored your disk from backup but you may have lost some recent changes that hadn't been backed up yet".

     

     



  • The most important question remains unanswered - were Mac/Linux users affected?



  • @Power Troll said:

    The most important question remains unanswered - were Mac/Linux users affected?

    Only those running Windows 7.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @Power Troll said:
    The most important question remains unanswered - were Mac/Linux users affected?

    Only those running Windows 7.
    Think I'd be alright then - I only run XP.



  • @heterodox said:

    @MascarponeRun said:

    Sorry, going to have to call you on that. WTF #1 is 'may have [...] their hard disk drives wiped' - don't they know/can't they tell? - closely followed by WTF #2: the sheer level of illiteracy displayed in that email. 'Staff... is not impacted'? 'Staff are not affected, perhaps.'

    I wouldn't normally be a pedantic dickweed here (actually, I probably would), but I object as I always use "faculty" and "staff" as singular nouns when sending out this kind of e-mail. They may sometimes be considered plural nouns, but dictionaries differ on whether this is correct. (Merriam-Webster says no, World English Dictionary says yes, etc.) "Faculty is" vs. "Faculty members are"; "Staff is" vs. "Staff members are". However, I would agree that the original e-mail should have said "Staff members using" as the staff is not using Windows XP; certain staff members are.

    But is there an association between Windows versions an Staph?



  • Hrm ... I wonder if they didn't accidentally replace their PXE deployment image with an image of DBAN instead of the standard rollout version...



  • @PJH said:

    or they're covering for a crack-headed sysadmin/PFY

    That's what I read there at first. Might be a possiblity, too.



  • @heterodox said:

    @MascarponeRun said:

    Sorry, going to have to call you on that. WTF #1 is 'may have [...] their hard disk drives wiped' - don't they know/can't they tell? - closely followed by WTF #2: the sheer level of illiteracy displayed in that email. 'Staff... is not impacted'? 'Staff are not affected, perhaps.'

    I wouldn't normally be a pedantic dickweed here (actually, I probably would), but I object as I always use "faculty" and "staff" as singular nouns when sending out this kind of e-mail. They may sometimes be considered plural nouns, but dictionaries differ on whether this is correct. (Merriam-Webster says no, World English Dictionary says yes, etc.) "Faculty is" vs. "Faculty members are"; "Staff is" vs. "Staff members are". However, I would agree that the original e-mail should have said "Staff members using" as the staff is not using Windows XP; certain staff members are.

     

     

    sigh I'd say plural.

     



  • @cheapie said:

    @heterodox said:

    I wouldn't normally be a pedantic dickweed here (actually, I probably would), but I object as I always use "faculty" and "staff" as singular nouns when sending out this kind of e-mail. They may sometimes be considered plural nouns, but dictionaries differ on whether this is correct. (Merriam-Webster says no, World English Dictionary says yes, etc.) "Faculty is" vs. "Faculty members are"; "Staff is" vs. "Staff members are". However, I would agree that the original e-mail should have said "Staff members using" as the staff is not using Windows XP; certain staff members are.

     

    sigh I'd say plural.

     

    That's as may be, but you're wrong. (You're not 100% wrong, but you're still wrong in taking any unequivocal position.) And you resurrected a year-old thread in order to be wrong.



  • Bitlocker deployed accidentally via GPO?

    Would explain why it did not affect XP...



  • @heterodox said:

    And you resurrected a year-old thread in order to be wrong.

     

     

    I didn't notice that... I assumed that anything in the sidebar was recent, I guess.

     



  • @heterodox said:

    That's as may be, but you're wrong. (You're not 100% wrong, but you're still wrong in taking any unequivocal position.) And you resurrected a year-old thread in order to be wrong.
     

    To go really Schroedinger here: I think Cheapie was both wrong and right, actually. AFAIK "the team are" is standard British English, whereas Americans would sooner say "the team is".

    Let discussion on how American English is really a f*cked up dialect, and/or more close to the actual English being spoken in England in the 1600s commence.

    (PS "that's as may be"? Come on now...)

     



  • @Monomelodies said:

    To go really Schroedinger here: I think Cheapie was both wrong and right, actually.

    That's why I said he/she wasn't 100% wrong.

    @Monomelodies said:

    (PS "that's as may be"? Come on now...)

    What's the problem?

     



  • @heterodox said:

    That's why I said he/she wasn't 100% wrong.

    There is a (maybe rather subtle) difference between saying "you're not 100% wrong" and saying "you're right in half of the cases".

    @heterodox said:

    @Monomelodies said:
    (PS "that's as may be"? Come on now...)

    What's the problem?

     

    It's in your grammar. (Which I usually let slip, but if we're being pedantic about singular/plural, you should at least get your own grammar right.)

     



  • @Monomelodies said:

    It's in your grammar. (Which I usually let slip, but if we're being pedantic about singular/plural, you should at least get your own grammar right.)

    I don't see the problem except for an implied "it" ("That is as [it] may be"). I don't know if it's American English, but it's an idiom I've picked up from a number of books.

    In any case, if it's grammatically incorrect, mea culpa; I'll chalk it up to it being a 2 a.m. reply.

     



  • @heterodox said:

    @Monomelodies said:

    It's in your grammar. (Which I usually let slip, but if we're being pedantic about singular/plural, you should at least get your own grammar right.)

    I don't see the problem except for an implied "it" ("That is as [it] may be"). I don't know if it's American English, but it's an idiom I've picked up from a number of books.

    In any case, if it's grammatically incorrect, mea culpa; I'll chalk it up to it being a 2 a.m. reply.

     

    I think what you mean is "that may be [as it is]", but that's not what you're saying :)

     



  • @Monomelodies said:

    (PS "that's as may be"? Come on now...)


    Idioms don't always conform to arbitrary rules of grammar. This particular one has considerable literary attestation, including by Robert Louis Stephenson, Rudyard Kipling, and Anthony Trollope.



  • @Monomelodies said:

    @heterodox said:
    That's as may be, but you're wrong. (You're not 100% wrong, but you're still wrong in taking any unequivocal position.) And you resurrected a year-old thread in order to be wrong.
     
    To go really Schroedinger here: I think Cheapie was both wrong and right, actually. AFAIK "the team are" is standard British English, whereas Americans would sooner say "the team is".
    Let discussion on how American English is really a f*cked up dialect, and/or more close to the actual English being spoken in England in the 1600s commence.
    (PS "that's as may be"? Come on now...)

    Hmm.  If I were a member of said team, I would probably say the team is, if I were not a member of said team I would probably say the team are.  But as to the grammatical correctness of my choice I am unsure.



  • @Monomelodies said:

    Let discussion on how American English is really a f*cked up dialect, and/or more close to the actual English being spoken in England in the 1600s commence.
     

    You're on a 'murhikan board.

    Trying to discuss those issues is like being the only astronomer at a Flat Earth Society meeting.


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