Saturday, 19 January 2008

Who's Been Typing On My Computer...?

I had to go to the opticians today: I'm trying out some new lenses as my astigmatism has worsened slightly. I was due for a discount, and the chap setting up the direct debit needed to get a password from Head Office in order to get the computer system to recognise this.

Head Office is far, far away...

My chap had the relevant screen up, with a little dialogue box saying "Password?" and he rang Head Office on his mobile. I expected them to give him the password.

No. Passwords are meant to be secret. They are not for distributing to the riff-raff on the shop floor...

Instead, the young man quoted his IP address. And then the cursor began to move and a little line of asterisks appeared in the box...

Spooky stuff...!

2 comments:

Mark said...

We have that at work too; typically it is used by IT to see what is going awry on your computer, but the use you describe is most clever.

gemoftheocean said...

Back in the mid-80s when I was working in CAD/CAM on a new task, the project was using the old Apollo computer system. For their time they were gee-whiz proprietary Unix small network workstations. One of the delightful "features" of this system were that if you were on the same network you could "grab" a colleague's screen and "melt" a given window. When I was first learning the system a colleague had stopped by to chat for a few moments. When I turned to my screen I found this "feature" employed against me. I'd been in the department long enough to look around the room for a 3rd colleage.... I laughed and said "how did you do that?" And of course, once something like that happens, you can't wait to do it to someone else. Sort of an "initiation rite." Alas...bought up eventually by Hewlett-Packard.

10-1 your optomitrist's password was "password." Or the same with the number 1 appended. No end of people think they're clever by using that, or their spouses's first name.

Karen

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