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24 February, 2008

Wide open

In principle, it's a great idea for a website to draw on a master stylesheet and store repeatedly-used images in a common directory, but it's a bit of a bugger when one needs to design a new section from a geographical location lacking editing access to those central directories.
Hence, whilst I'd usually work at home out-of-hours (when I must, not by choice!), I've had to spend a significant chunk of the weekend at my office PC.  It's remarkably productive to work without the interruptions of colleagues, e-mail and the phone, and with the incentive of being able to go home as soon as I finish.

I have a electronic pass card for my usual office building (a literal carte blanche, as it's plain, unmarked white), but such technology hasn't quite reached my temporary accommodation, so I normally need to borrow a key from Security.

However, the officer on duty today told me of a deceptively simple way to enter the building at any time, without a key. That's really handy, and I'm grateful for the advice, but I could have been anyone. I didn't recognise the security officer, he didn't know me (I suppose there's a tiny chance that other officers had described me, but why would they?), and we hadn't reached a point in the conversation at which I'd offer some ID.

I only have free access to three floors of corridors, communal spaces and my own office, of course, but it'd still be possible for me to return at a quiet moment and, if I was so inclined, take a microwave or shared printer from an unlocked post room or break into individual offices at my leisure. It's not just a matter of computers and other valuables, either – 'in season', offices could contain exam papers.

I'm not sure what to do; it'd be irresponsible and possibly a disciplinary issue for me to just ignore such a gaping security risk, but I can't think of a way to report it without incriminating someone who was only trying to help. I'm certainly not going to do that.


It's a bit difficult to give advice when I don't know the exact nature of the security problem (although I understand why this must be the case) but couldn't you just tell the 'authorities' that it just occurred to you that there might be a gap in the security and that you tried it out and confirmed it? Or did the guard give you some sort of code?

Posted by AKALucifer at February 25, 2008 06:08 PM
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