Revenge of the techies

Stealing office supplies has never been so menacing. A new survey evidences all too well where the power can fall in enterprise IT relationships: into the hands of spiteful employees.

Batten down the passwords!
A new survey evidences all too well where the power can fall in enterprise IT relationships: into the not always well-intentioned hands of disgruntled employees.

Or in this case, into the hands of disgruntled exiting employees. The survey, put out by Cyber-Ark Software, a Newton, Mass. based provider of enterprise account security solutions, found that 88 percent of IT administrators, if laid off tomorrow, said they would take valuable and sensitive company information with them. They'd especially target CEO passwords, customer databases, research and development plans, financial reports, merger and acquisition plans and even the company's list of privileged passwords.

Only 12 percent said they'd take the high road on their way out, leaving the "office supplies," so to speak, intact.

I'd suspect at this point that most of you are of two minds: The vast majority of you are embarrassed that your profession is ever lumped in with this group, who are the kinds of unsavory characters that have business leaders questioning whether they need in-house IT departments at all, given what trouble they can be.

But the other portion--and hopefully, this is very few of you--might kinda understand where this type of spiteful behavior fits in. How do I know you're out there? When I approached this topic for the first time last month on the heels of the virtual commandeering of the San Francisco municipal computer network by an unhappy former network engineer, in the Techie Hall of Shame, I received more than one comment and email which said, and I quote, that "a real coder wouldn't have been caught." The suggestion is that the failure of those in the Techie Hall of Shame was not, say, abusing their power but not doing it well enough that nobody caught them.

And although comments like these were a minute part of the responses, the fact that they were out there at all suggests that this type of entitlement and potentially rampant abuse of IT power, is alive and well out there.

How about you? Do studies like this simply get on your nerves or does it worry you that you're being associated with criminally-minded techies?


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