* Posts by HWwiz

45 posts • joined 30 Jun 2015

What do sexy selfies, search warrants, tax files have in common? They've all been found on resold USB sticks


@Alex Read

I work in a banking DC and we use "Blancco", as do most DataCenters. And then after Blancco has finished and generated a Certificate of wipe, we then put them in the crushing machine.

Ive worked for 2 different banks, and they both use this same process.


Used USB sticks

Aside from the actual story. Who on earth buys 2nd hand usb sticks ?. For gods sake they only cost a few quid new.

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?



Almost as good as the Contractor DC engineer at Heathrow in a certain DC that hit the kill switch that nearly brought down British Airways a few yrs back.

Bet he has had a hard time getting a new job.

A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace


If it was the 80's

See if this was the 80's, we would have called in Airwolf with its C64 based missile guidance system and blown the drone out of the sky.

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone


We employ an external company to actually email our employees with HoneyTrap emails.

IF they click on links in that email, then they have to go on a security awareness course.

Want to hack a hole-in-the-wall cash machine for free dosh? It's as easy as Windows XP


Physical security.

I work in UK banking, and yes almost all cash machines in the UK that are major bank operated are still generally Windows XP embedded.

They have no internet connection, and they are not generally permanently pinned up. They all use ISDN2e to call up huge arrays of modems generally in Banking DC's.

They only real way to crack them is physically via a USB attack or such like. So you need to gain access to the unit within the locked cage itself.

Also lots of people mentioning NHS computers. Ive also done alot of NHS work in the past, and again "Generally" the machines that are still running XP are on nhs.net which is an internal mpls network which does not have any external access. Only the internal nhs.net Intranet.

Windows XP? Pfff! Parts of the Royal Navy are running Win ME


And even older.

There is also a part of the MoD in the UK that still has a Honeywell DPS 6 mainframe in service. And for very good reason.

It has no connections to the outside world, just internal 10base-T coax. And apparently there is no one left alive in the world that could even de-compile the databases.

They even had 2 spares in storage that were shipped over from the US.

Unsure why you can't log into Office 365? So is Microsoft


Crippled by Office 289

We were totally crippled by this today.

It has happened 1 to many times in the last year.

We are now in serious discussions to bring exchange back online and migrate back to in-house.

The off-brand 'military-grade' x86 processors, in the library, with the root-granting 'backdoor'


That old classic

Ahh so its the old classic "Its a documented feature"...

Which of course is always better than an undocumented feature.

Shock Land Rover Discovery: Sellers could meddle with connected cars if not unbound


Same for newer Mercedes

Same with newer Mercedes cars from approx 2014 onwards.

If the last owner does not login online and remove the car from their Mercedes Me account, then they can continue to remotely monitor the car. Lock / Unlock doors, etc.

Non-Mercedes dealers have no control over this. Where as main dealers can terminate the accounts during re-sale.

Cancelled in Crawley? At least your train has free Wi-Fi now, right?


Its just a 4G Router.

The trains, along with some buses & coaches all use ProRoute H820 routers.

Ive personally replaced a few in trains. They generally have one large OMNI 12dbi antenna, and the routers feed Aerohive wifi AP's.

They do struggle though when you have 150+ clients attached all reading faceache and mail online.

Sysadmin shut down server, it went ‘Clunk!’ but the app kept running


Re: DEC Engineer


Did you know there is a certain large bank in the UK that still has loads of DEC VAX machines running. I walk past them every night.

Even have 5 dead ones that are kept for parts.


Re: Halted machine on other side of the planet


Yes there is. You log into the iLo, ir iDrac of what ever you server has and simply power it back up. No matter where it is in the world. Thats why servers have remote access !!.

Cinema voucher-pusher tells customers: Cancel your credit cards, we've been 'attacked'


PCI Breech

So what were they doing retaining Card data anyway ?. You are NOT allowed to do this under PCI Compliance.

Lets hope they get a severe spanking.

Hyperoptic's overkill 10Gbps fibre trial 'more than a clever PR stunt'


Re: Wow

@ Anonymous Coward

Get a ProRoute 4G Router. Large MIMO external antenna. Total about £240.

GiffGaff unlimited data SIM, and Boom there you go. 75MB up and down. Signal depending.

Ive done over 20 of these now for people out in the sticks. If the Cell tower is local, use it !.

Sysadmin crashed computer recording data from active space probe


Re: Hmmm ...

RE Tim99 Token Ring.

I remember getting a job to pull TokenRing into a new office space, with about 15 or so desks.

I was in my early 20's at the time and nearly gave myself a Hernia pulling that damn cable.

Like you say, you could moor up a shipping tanker with it.


Re: Hmmm ...

Ahh 10base2.

I remember working on a contract with a Digital DEC engineer in the early 90's, who showed me an amazing trick with 10base2.

He inserted a sewing needle into a 10base2 cable, pressed right into the cable.

Then using an old 286 laptop in the next room he connected some RF device in a rather home made looking black box to the parallel port. Apparently it was some kit they were using on this UK Government contract at the time in 1991.

He was able to listen into the network traffic on the 10base2 network, wirelessly !.

The first wireless network ?

What will £450k buy you? A new CEO at Softcat


Ditched them.

We got rid of Softcat a few months back after using them for 6 or so years.

Absolutely fed up with their late and slow deliveries. Not even competitively priced either.

RE the person above who said good stock levels. They dont hold any stock at all. Not even so much as a pencil sharpener.

They are a reseller, and just get items drop shipped to you from the main wholesaler. Generally WestCoast in Theale Berks.

Now with BT for Business. Formally DABS. They have the largest stockholding in the UK. Cheaper too.

Microsoft Office 365 Exchange issues for users across Europe



This has been a total PITA for us today. Hardly any mailflow at all for 1,400 staff.

We all told the IT director 4yrs ago it would be a bad idea to get rid of our Exchange cluster. Which we owned with perpetual licenses...

But oh no, got to go with this new fangled Cloud hosting, because its what all the big boys are doing..


Outlook.com looking more like an outage outbreak for Europe



And 365 as well. We have had hardly any email flow at all today for 1300 users.

MS Fixed it at about 11.30, but by 3pm it was broken again.

Bring back in-house Exchange !!!.

User demanded PC be moved to move to a sunny desk – because it needed Windows


Re: Oh dear

On our Service Desk we have been seeing a massive rise in ID 10T errors in the last few yrs.

I will bring it to the Service Desk Managers attention re: Breeding issues. Not sure we have a fix for that though.

Theres no Service Pack for Stupidity...

Can North Korean nukes hit US mainland? Maybe. But EMP blast threat is 'highly credible'



Possibly why the USA's largest bank has 5 data centres in the UK. One of them is the largest DC in the UK.

Paranoid ?.

BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'


Smells funny.

Just does not sound right.

I work in a Bank DC in the UK, and we have 5 mirrored DC's throughout the country.

Ours has 3 different incoming power supplies from different Counties.

Plus out the back, we have 8 massive V12 Diesel Generators that would power a small town.

Now i would imagine that BA would at least have something on the same scale, if not bigger.

So why the outage ?......

We do Power tests every month. An incoming power feed is killed, to check redundancy.

We also shut off 1 of the 2 power rails going into each cab, again to test redundancy.

Perhaps BA are running their backbone on some beefed up PC in someones bedroom ?.

PC repair chap lets tech support scammer log on to his PC. His Linux PC


Re: For the phone scammers ...

I always used to put on a really old mans voice and say we didnt have a computer. Dont know how to use those modern fangled things !.

Now we dont get any fake MS calls anymore, so guess we were taken off the list. Yay !.

Bit like the Conservatory companies that used to endlessly phone up. I started saying i was in a 5th floor flat, what do i want with a Conservatory ?. Now we dont get them calling anymore either. Good times...


Re: The beauty of virtual machines

Sounds like the old Microsoft SteadyState.

User profile is set back to a set standard on every login.

RBS is to lay off 92 UK techies and outsource jobs to India – reports


Yup, all gone to ComputaCenter's call center in India.

Thankfully, us DC engineers stay for now.....

Microsoft Azure capacity woes hit UK customers. Yes, you read that right


Re: data sovereignty is a PR issue?

Actually if you are a UK PLC, current data retention laws state that your data and in particular Financial data must reside in the UK.

So UK PLC's cannot use the MS Cloud in the US or Canada.

I recently helped clear out the BoA DC in Canada Sq London. There was talk that MS were going to take that one over.

Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!


I did some work in a GP based in Slough UK about 3yrs ago. In the corner of the confidential records room was a BBC B. Still in active use.

Apparently it did have to have a modernised PSU fitted a few years earlier, but otherwise it was ticking over 100%.


Thats nothing. Weve got one that 27yrs old.

The largest bank in America, within its largest DC has a

Digital Equipment Company VAX 11/780. I believe we put it in around 1990. So that makes it 27yrs old.

We also have 1 full spare unit in the lab, just for bits. But actually we have not needed to touch it in the last 8yrs.


And another.

Also know of a Digital VAX PDP11 running in a DC for a large bank in the UK.

Still in production.

Think they were from the mid-70's ?.


Ha, beat this.

I know of a Honeywell DPS6 server that was installed in 1985 if I remember correctly.

Which is still in "Production" use today.

We even purchased 2 junk units from the mericans to use as spare parts.

Unfortunately the DB running on it is so bespoke, no one can convert it to a modern back end system.

So, that's 31 years.

User rats out IT team for playing games at work, gets them all fired


Oh the memories.

Back in my contracting days i may or may not have worked at the NATs center during its construction at Swanwick.

Many memories on night shift overtime, plugging a PS2 into the massive 200" screens and us playing Crash Bandicoot. Freaking awesome !.

The nights works had been completed but we always had many hours to waste on the shift.

A webcam is not so much a leering eye as the barrel of a gun


What webcam.....

Go into the Bios,

Webcam, Disable.

Save, exit.

Job done, no more worries.

Support chap's Sonic Screwdriver fixes PC as user fumes in disbelief


I work in a UK Bank DC which also has a emergency failover office. Should there be a major event.

The DC provides all the heating for the office holding over 400 staff. Does all the hot water too.

But generally all that free heat is just for me and about 10 other shift workers. Yay !.

Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits' DHCP


WRT also.

Ive had the same issue with 3 Win10 machines running off my TP-Link box running DD-WRT for the last 2 weeks.

However there was a Win10 update rollup yesterday and they seem fine now.

A USB stick as a file server? We've done it!


Re: More of this, please.

My Huawai 4G "MyFi" device has an SD card slot. So you can use it as a portable NAS using a max 64GB micro SD card.

So theres your internet and storage for "camping", all into 1 product.

Dell PowerEdge R730: Reg rack monkeys crack smiles over kindness of engineers


I replace about 5 to 6 Dell 900GB drives every night.

But we do have 7,500 R720's !.

They are a pain in the rear, as dell don't ship the Carrier anymore, just the bare drive. So you have to swap the drive into the old carrier. Dropping the screws through the vented floor in the process... Ughhhh

Eighteen year old server trumped by functional 486 fleet!


Re: Power

At home we have a SmartUPS 1500 unit with no internal battery. Instead, re-wired to a cable that goes outside to a small plastic box that has a Car battery.

We use the UPS to cover the TV, virginmedia kit, and all the internet comms + hifi. Oh, and a standing lamp with an energy bulb.

We have lots of power cuts, so having a UPS was a must. Running on a car battery the TV will run for almost 3hrs. And a car battery is ALOT cheaper than a APC RBC7 battery.


Re: Power

Ive never swapped a UPS battery with the UPS off.

All APC units can be done live with no issues at all. That's the way they are supposed to be done, by design. Even on little 750va units. Up to the big 10,000va units.


Quote of the week.


Agreed. Even Compaq ProLiant's from 2000 came out with 9.1GB SCSI disks.


Sounds like a IOLAN.

They were very popular in Car dealerships / workshops in the late 80's and into the 90's.


Re: Windows NT uptime was 15 years, three months, 13 days

At Nation***** bank, we had a Compaq server running NT4 Server with an uptime just over 6 years. Until the 6400 SCSI card did a crap on itself and died. So it is possible.


VAX lives on.

As I mentioned last week.

A certain very large high street bank, has a Digital Equipment VAX unit from 1976, still in continuous operation in its "Production" network.

We even have 3 others in the parts room to strip for parts. But to be honest it never fails. Just keeps on working. Doesn't half kick out some heat though, like standing in front of a hair dryer.

Also got about 10 Compaq ML370 G1's running NT4 Server in the Production network. They would be from around 2001. Those old 9GB SCSI disks just keep on spinning..

BBC veterans require skilled hands to massage their innards


The Electron.

I wonder how many of the home version are left running ?.

The Acorn Electron.

I had one, so I had a Beeb at home. They were actually pretty good, and less than half the size.

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