Tell of a good deed - security / computer wise

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by Mrkvonic, Jan 24, 2008.

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  1. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    Have you ever put your skills to any good use? Many of us are geeks, but do we make our geekiness useful? How about you tell of something you have done that due to your computer skills, earned through your hobby / interest in security and/or computers, has made someone's life easier.

    One of my own: A friend, a PhD got his thesis magically vanished into a folder on his laptop. Since the machine was preconfigured, he did not have the full control of the folder and could not retrieve the files. They reported as corrupted inside Windows. He was desperate ...

    Until I booted off Ultimate Boot CD, tweaked the security permissions by force and recovered his files. Sounds simple and quite easy, but he was banging the head against the wall until I fixed the thing. The worst thing, he has called the laptop manufacturer for support several times and they just vaguely munched him about.

    I saved him a hundred hours of hard, critical work. One of my finer hours ...

    What about you?

    Mrk
     
  2. ethernal

    ethernal Registered Member

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    i save the world on a daily basis due to my line of work :D

    but i suppose the best one was similar, a client of mine had a daughter who wrote her thesis (or whatever that thingy is called you have to write to get a PhD), and her computer borked big time due to viruses et all.
    looked through my fingers and fixed it anyway even if it was a personal computer, due to the pressing situation.

    rescued all her data, including the thesis. :)

    another was actually also personal, another client had his private computer that the hard drive went bust on, the controller really freaked out.

    took about 56 hours to lift the data out, sector by sector, with error correction o_O
     
  3. sukarof

    sukarof Registered Member

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    I have done basicly the same. A friend had a friend who has his business on his laptop and one day he couldnt boot into windows (of course he didnt have any backup and a outdated Norton FW and AV :/ )
    It was nothing advanced or anything special. But he thought I was Mitnick or something :D very happy when I fixed it :)

    I basicly did a reinstall of windows so he could recover his office files. First I tried to "sell" some of the magic software that I use, like FDISR and Shadowprotect for example, but I soon learnt that I was throwing diamonds to pigs when he looked at me with big eyes trying to understand the beauty of them ;)
    So I set up a limited account to him since I couldnt see any need for him to run as admin the way he used his computer. Told him a few basics how to use it. And I preached the importance of a backup to a external media of his important files.
    A couple of times I have recovered photos from unbootable disks for friends. Nothing special there either since there are excellent recovery software out there that does the job, I just run them...
     
  4. steve161

    steve161 Registered Member

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    While a noob on this forum, I am looked up to in my circle of friends as "super terrific computer guy". Yes, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. I am always getting calls from people with malware woes. Using my great skill, I download and run SAS, tell them to consider upgrading to the paid version, repeat verbatim the good advice I've learned from this forum, maybe download a few extra programs such as sandboxie or spywareblaster, and ride into the sunset.
     
  5. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,
    Other interesting cases include complete hard drive corruptions, which I fixed using SpinRite, partition table corruptions which I fixed using TestDisk, quite a few bad bootloaders fixed using Super Grub Disk, another PhD with an unbootable Windows fixed by running nothing more than chkdsk! several infections dealt both conventionally and using bootable CDs, both Windows and Linux, a bit of extraterrestrial registry hacking removing stubborn programs that will not uninstall or have no uninstallers ...
    Mrk
     
  6. Chato

    Chato Registered Member

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    Enschede, The Netherlands
    Once I worked almost four days on a computerproblem for "just a cup of coffee"

    I was called by a woman (a friend from a friend from a friend....) with the known symptom: The computer restarts itself.
    My first thought was: disable this, get the BSOD and use a search engine to search for the stop-error. Find a solution and fix it.
    Sounds easy. So I told the woman that I can fix this in maybe an hour. I told her "give me just a cup of coffee when I'm there and I will fix it for you"
    Normally I make some logfiles from the computer and see within fifteen minutes what can cause the problem.

    But this time, everything was different.
    She didn't told me on the phone that she is blind and uses a lot of special hardware and software for blind ppl. Hardware and software I never heard about. The logfiles contains a lot of unknown programs, drivers, dll's etc. I had to search for it with a search engine how works the Braille program and braille-'keyboard', what are the strange and rare dll's used by the several speak-to-text-converters, speech-recognition software etc etc etc.
    Also the computer settings where very different from the average computer user; She cannot use the mouse so there are also other programs for making/using hotkeys, etc.

    After several attempts to fix the problem I decided to reinstall the OS.
    Making backups, formating the drive, reinstall the OS. Normally you can do that within two or three hours. But this time I had to re-install all the unknown software and configure it.

    Everything I mentioned above I did for the "just a cup of coffee and I will fix it for you" as I had promised.

    But now I'm thinking about this, I didn't do all this for just the coffee, I did this for the hug she gave me after the job was done. She was so thankful!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
  7. ethernal

    ethernal Registered Member

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    heh, talking about the blind :cool:

    when working as tier 4 techie for a multi-national corp i amongst other things both helped the norwegian economic crime division of the national police to recover deleted data off cell phones and most importantly, crack our cell phone instruction manuals in pdf format, so that they could be read with a voice synthesizer :shifty:

    damn pdfs.. if they are write protected, the voice synth can't read them out loud. :mad:
     
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