[svlug] sparcstation 5: first steps

Dagmar d'Surreal dagmar at dsurreal.org
Mon Jun 4 15:57:02 PDT 2001


On Sat, 2 Jun 2001, Rick Moen wrote:

> begin  Dagmar d'Surreal quotation:
> 
> > Well, this where the magic phrase "proper policies and procedures"
> > comes into play.
> 
> On a good day, those will suffice -- and you won't have people changing
> their BIOS passwords before turning the machine back in, resigning, and
> then becoming impossible to reach.  And you won't have people changing
> their passwords and neglecting to tell their supervisors.  On a good day.

Unable to reach?  It seems you think I'm talking about politely asking the
user to surrender the BIOS password.  By no means am I talking about
anything other than LEGAL action.  A company that can afford to pass out
notebooks to it's employees can almost certainly afford to press criminal
and/or civil charges against a former employee who engages in misdeeds
such as this.  
 
> Me, I'd rather not have the feature there to go wrong in the first
> place.  I saw how badly people at $PRIOR_FIRM could shoot me in the foot
> just with their regular BIOS passwords and lilo passwording, when they 
> went home for the day before I got around to working on their company 
> workstations.

Yeah, but in my eyes it's a matter of if the material on the notebook is
so terrifyingly valuable to require hardware like that, then it should
a) be used properly, or b) the user shouldn't be allowed to leave the
building with it, or c) you take out heavy heavy insurance against it's
loss.  But then, I'm a notable hard-nosed bastard about not letting
[l]users bully me around on policy.  Jewelers typically don't go running
around on the streets with a few hundred thousand dollars worth of
diamonds in their pocket without _good_ reason.  There's no reason why
accountants and such should be any different.

> > Heh.  Your car looks like you might be able to afford something worth
> > stealing then.
> 
> Dude, you should see it.  The old '83 Honda Accord I used then is still 
> around, marooned like a beached whale in my driveway in Menlo Park.
> That old rustbucket shot blue flames out of the shot-to-hell muffler for
> its final few months, before the engine died completely.  Back around
> 1987, he unibody got crumpled several inches short by the woman who
> rear-ended me at 40 MPH at Fell & Stanyan, and pushed my car into the
> one ahead.  (I stopped at the light; she didn't.)  It got dented on all
> sides, and trip stripped off it, by drunken clubgoers.  The hood somehow
> got sandblasted at some point.  
> 
> It basically looks like hell.  Nobody so far has been willing to drive
> to suburbs and tow it away for parts, so there it sits.  Don Marti says
> the "getaway car" (http://crackmonkey.org/travel.html) needs to be the
> Free Software Museum's central exhibit, since I drove pretty much
> everyone around in it.  

LOL!  :)

> > In any case, valuables should be kept in the *trunk* or left at home
> > if you have a car where one can pull down the back seat easily to get
> > into the trunk.
> 
> Ja.  But the getaway car's a hatchback.
> 
> > Notebook theieves who do target them on a regular basis (and we're
> > talking about places like hotels and conference rooms, too, not just
> > cars and/or airports) will eventually recognize models that they won't
> > be able to resell, and so they're less likely to bother stealing them
> > if they recognize them.
> 
> Not if they use the most-common trick of just snagging anything that
> looks suspciously like a laptop computer's shoulder bag.  For example, a
> lot of laptops get stolen this way by pairs of thieves making the snatch
> right at airport X-ray security machines.  You put the bag through, and
> one thief is on the far side to grab your bad, while the other creates a
> diversion to delay you on the outer side.  Thief #1 ducks into the
> restroom, puts your bag inside a larger bag, and walks back out to the
> public area.  Only later does he look at what he's snagged.
> 
> 'Sides, thieves usually aren't too bright, or they'd be in a different
> line of business.  Here's another anecdote for you:
> 
> Around 1986, I was working at an office in Emeryville, commuting from
> the Sunset District, S.F.  Often, I'd do so using my ratty old 10-speed 
> bicycle I'd constructed in high school from a Peugeot frame I'd bought
> for $6 and a pair of ruined wheels I bought for $1 the pair.  (I rebuilt
> them with new spokes.)  I crossed the Bay either on BART or the CalTrans 
> bike-shuttle van ($1/ride).  And, lacking a good bicycle parking
> facility, I stowed the bicycle under the furthest, innermost stairwell
> inside my office building on the ground floor, pulled apart and locked
> to itself with a Kryptonite U-lock.
> 
> One evening, it was gone.  I hiked the very long distance down the
> Emeryville marina to Emeryville P.D. headquarters, shaking my head in
> wonderment all the way, about what the thief could possibly have been
> thinking.  My report was taken by a grizzled old sargeant with a strong
> Boston accent.  Me:  "I really don't understand.  This guy had to walk
> past 100 metres of open office doors, and then right down Powell Street
> Emeryville, visible to the whole town, carrying obviously stolen
> property -- for _what_?   A junk bicycle, which would take a ridiculous
> amount of work with saws, or Volvo jacks, or freon-freezing, to get the 
> lock off.  Why?"  The Boston cop:  "We're not talkin' about a brain
> surgeon, here."  Me:  "Oh."
> 
> -- 
> Cheers,     "Learning Java has been a slow and tortuous process for me.  Every 
> Rick Moen   few minutes, I start screaming 'No, you fools!" and have to go
> rick at linuxmafia.com       read something from _Structure and Interpretation of
>             Computer Programs' to de-stress."   -- The Cube, www.forum3000.org 
> 
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