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Think twice before laying off the IT guy

March 10, 2009

Do you know why it might actually be safer to retrench staff from HR, finance, or marketing than to lay off the IT guy?

Because none of them know enough about the company’s security weaknesses to gain access to the the corporation’s most intimate secrets.

Companies have learnt the hard way that one of the biggest threats they face in this recession is disgruntled technology workers. Some examples, culled from ABC News and others:

– David Everett, a laid off helpdesk employee at Wand Corporation, uploaded a virus to 1,000 of his former employer’s network servers, causing retail computers to crash. It cost his former company $50,000 to repair the damage.

– Rene Rebollo, a former senior financial analyst in the US’s largest mortgage lender stole 2 million borrowers’ identities by copying them onto a thumbrive and selling them to identity thieves.

– In July 2008, Terry Childs, a network administrator for the city of San Francisco held the city hostage for five days while he sat in jail. He had created a secret password that gave him exclusive access to most of the city’s systems which pretty much locked out the other administrators, purportedly after having an argument with his boss.

Its not too late for old-school directors to learn the meaning of trojans, trapdoors and easter eggs and most importantly, to handle rightsizing fairly and compassionately. Favoritism can become an issue when it comes to lay-offs, as what I am starting to hear.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2009 9:29 am

    But those IT guys are acting out of anger…and quite stupid also since they’re ruining their future. =_= maybe if they do it in the East, it won’t be that bad.

    Some do it out of anger, some want to sell company secrets for a profit, and some are willing to spill secrets to a competitor just to get a job. We’ll probably be seeing more of these during a recession.

  2. March 10, 2009 11:37 am

    Hahaha…I wished I can forward this to my management. Finance ppl also can put the company in a mess.

    Oh yeah, amazing what a misplaced decimal point can do. :mrgreen:

  3. LC Teh permalink
    March 11, 2009 5:58 pm

    Hahaha… talking about a misplaced decimal point. We went all the way to the city to solve a gauge measurement issue with a customer yesterday. All we did was move a decimal point one step to the left. The drawing showed a tolerance of 10 ohms. They used a tolerance of 1.0!!! To save them further embarrassment we closed the issue in double quick time and cabut.

    Well, at least it wasn’t fatal. There was a plane crash where they pumped airplane fuel in kg but the pilots’ guages were calibrated in lbs. They ran out of fuel mid air and crashed.

  4. LC Teh permalink
    March 13, 2009 5:14 pm

    aah… the Americans… the whole world went metric, but they refused to budge and inch.

    The French were tech weirdos too. I saw an old car whose wheels were designed with 3 lug nuts when the world had adopted 4 or 5.

  5. LC Teh permalink
    March 16, 2009 8:34 am

    Aah… that one. And someone in our national car co ‘innocently’ adopted that design back in the last decade. That model went to the scrapyard soon enough, though I still see a few on the road.

    The French being French, I dunno if they would’ve changed their design even if we asked them to. Did you hear the famous joke about how to make the French speak English. You speak to them in Hokkien. 🙂

  6. LC Teh permalink
    March 17, 2009 11:12 am

    Hahahaha… I’d love to try that some day. One of my dream destinations is the Louvre…

    The euro has fallen so now’s a good time to get European tours on the cheap. I’d aim for provincial France myself. Wine country.

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