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Revenge of the Nerds

Let me share a hypothetical, fictional scenario with you. Let's say there's a company with a very strict Internet access policy: no porno, no job sites, no http://www.josephphillips.com, no chat, and on and on this list of rules go. The trouble is, however, this fictional company has no way of enforcing its policy.

Until now. Now the company has implemented a proxy server that effectively filters out all the unwanted sites: shuts down chat, games, MP3 downloads, and just about anything else they'd like to eliminate—an excellent plan.

But remember, its written Internet policy had not been effectively enforced since Atari was cool. The employees at this company have been using Internet access as their own personal pipe to anything and everything that's available on the Web.

Now these folks are blocked from doing any mischievous Web activities. The admin, however, has a new hobby with this proxy software: watching where people attempt to go on the Web. "Hmm..." this dork thinks, "there are lots of people trying to access porn, job sites, even MP3 sites. I better report this info to all of their bosses." So he does and "it" hits the fan.

You see, what this admin failed to tell management was that these users couldn't actually access the restricted sites—they just attempted to access them. My argument is why is he gunning for these people? They can't get there from here.

Put it this way: If I try to get into a house and the front door is locked, I may try a different door. If that door's locked, I may try a window...and on and on I'll try until I realize I can't get in. The same goes for the people at this company. While I don't agree with the users browsing the Web on company time, human resources should have intervened here, not the network administrator.

What this admin has done is create an "us-against-them" mentality between the employees, management, and the technology department. These employees are embarrassed, written up, and threatened with dismissal. Of course, the admin gets loads of complaints, ill will, and maybe even worse. So what does this fictional admin do? Ah, yes, revenge.

Imagine how easy it'd be for this admin to make it look like anyone is visiting any website in the world. A little password hacking, a little creative IP addressing, and it's "wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am"—you're fired. Don't me tell it hasn't happened.

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