Martin McKeay over at the Network Security Blog was giving a free pass to the CSI conference for the best IT Horror Story. While I did not participate (the wife would not be happy with me taking off to yet another conference this year) I did want to share the bonehead move of my career.
No one died, no data was lost, and no one got fired so it wasn’t all that bad but embarrassing nonetheless. It was during my early days of consulting and I still remember it vividly. There was a folder on the file server that we needed to remove all user permission from. It was late in the day, around 6 pm and I processed the permissions removal. As the screen started scrolling by with the changes I was wondering why it was taking so long. Upon further inspection I had a sinking feeling in my stomach as I realized it was removing the permissions from folders I did not want changed! I quickly tried to stop it, but instead I changed the KVM port. I’m still not sure how that happened since changing that KVM was similar to entering the NES Contra code for 30 lives.
When I finally got back to the server it was at the folders beginning with W and I knew it was too late. I began the slow walk down to the office of my onsite contact, the VP of IT. As I got to his doorway he just leaned back in his chair and asked, “What did you do?” He knew already, in the time it took me to reach his office people had already called with the WTF question. I explained what happened and started apologizing profusely, I couldn’t believe I screwed up such a simple task. He gave a chuckle, looked at his clock, and said “Better get started, you have a lot of permissions to reset.”
With that I went back to my desk and spent the next 8 hours resetting permissions. Everything was well again and we all had a nice laugh the next day. I have never made the same mistake again and don’t think I ever will. Resetting permissions is not fun!
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Tags: dumb mistakes, horror stories, permissions