In IT, you can't tell incompetence from fraud

In IT, you can't tell incompetence from fraud.

In IT, you often can't tell incompetence from fraud. For example, I was clicking through on google hits to see if anyone else had identified the CPU in Apple's playphone as a PowerPC (out of Samsung, by IBM) and hit this on a major financial site:

 

Server Error in '/' Application.

Runtime Error

Description: An application error occurred on the server. The current custom error settings for this application prevent the details of the application error from being viewed remotely (for security reasons). It could, however, be viewed by browsers running on the local server machine.

Details: To enable the details of this specific error message to be viewable on remote machines, please create a tag within a "web.config" configuration file located in the root directory of the current web application. This tag should then have its "mode" attribute set to "Off".

<!-- Web.Config Configuration File -->

<configuration>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode="Off"/>
</system.web>
</configuration>

Notes: The current error page you are seeing can be replaced by a custom error page by modifying the "defaultRedirect" attribute of the application's <customErrors> configuration tag to point to a custom error page URL.

<!-- Web.Config Configuration File -->

<configuration>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode="RemoteOnly" defaultRedirect="mycustompage.htm"/>
</system.web>
</configuration>

Here's the netcraft 411 on the site:

 

The Motley Fool 123 N. Pitt Street Alexandria VA US 22314 64.94.26.1 F5 Big-IP Microsoft-IIS/6.0 31-Dec-2006

Ok, that Windows server's been "up" for over two weeks so maybe it was overdue to fail, but whatever the cause, the reality is that somebody in management over at the Motley Fool made the decision to buy and use this technology - presumably because some technical advisor said the decision made sense.

So the question is this: did the technical genius behind this decision misrepresent system reliability? or did the suit not ask the question? In other words, is this a consequence of fraud or a consequence of incompetence? and how can we tell?

 

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