BOFH: I get locked out, but I get in again

You're never going to keep me out

BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 5 So the PFY is on a protracted holiday in a part of the world with more favorable (to him) climes, so I'm left holding the fort – and not only do I have to do my own work, but I have to cover his responsibilities as well.

So I'm swapping the M and N keys on all the Beancounter keyboards in the early morning when I notice that the Head Beancounter's top drawer is locked. A quick check reveals that his second in command also has a locked top drawer. This is rather unusual as several years ago the PFY and I snapped keys off in their locks to prevent this happening. It's unlikely they had the keys removed as we had the foresight to smear the keys in epoxy resin before inserting them...


I nip back up to my office to get my selection of thin pieces of spring steel and unlock the desks concerned.

At first glance there's not a lot to interest me. In the Head Beancounter's drawer I can see the evidence of a recent lock installation, a notebook with various passwords in it (which I obviously take note of), and an assortment of low value cash. His assistant's desk is similarly uninteresting. To spice up their lives I swap the two drawers around and relock them.


The next morning almost dawns as I pop back into Beancounter Central to see what has transpired. I pause in the doorway to scan the semi-darkness for the telltale signs of infrared from hastily installed cameras, but there's nothing. 

The two locked desks are so interesting that I almost forget to swap the '.' and ',' keys on everyone's keyboards. The drawers themselves show the telltale signs of an idiot's attempts to open them, AND have had the locks replaced. Instead of the entry level pressed steel wafer lock we have more upmarket pin tumbler locks. Interesting. I pop back down to Mission Control, return and open the desks (still nothing interesting), swap the drawers, and then slip a slightly thicker piece of spring steel into the lock. Finally, I give it a hearty whack in order to deform the last pin in the lock and make it unopenable.


The next pre-pre-dawn I pop back up again. One camera, pointing at the doorway and one laptop, "casually" left open on a desk, pointing at the Head Beancounter's office. I pop the ceiling tile in the corridor, lift the one next to it and knock the webcam into the bin. I slip into the office, gently turn the laptop to face the bin and throw office items into the bin until I'm sure the webcam is trashed. I then gently close the laptop screen.

I swap all the wireless mouse batteries for the flat ones that I brought with me.

The desks have newer locks of a far higher quality than the two previous versions. Still nothing of interest though. SWAP LOCK. WHACK!


The next predawn I start my venture with a borescope over the ceiling from the adjoining offices. Three cameras, two laptops and an additional PIR sensor. Knowing I was going to need the extra time I came prepared... From the ceiling space I direct the window cleaning pole towards the nearest camera, pulling the string attached to the spray paint can taped to the end. Two cameras down.

The third camera is pointing at the chief's office so I'll be able to deal with that one from inside the office - only someone's changed the door key - which would matter if the door wasn't so poorly installed that the anti shim pin wasn't engaged. I let myself in, spray the final camera and then turn one laptop to face the other before dropping an ancient cast iron tape dispenser onto it from a great height off camera. I drop the tape dispenser a second time, then gently close both ruined laptops. I crawl behind desks past the new PIR in order to swap the keyboard/mouse dongles of all the Beancounter machines, then inspect the drawers.

NOW we're talking!

The new locks are beyond my lockpicking skills. They are top-of-the-line stuff. I'm sure I could get there - eventually - but who has the time? With a block of wood and a hammer I remove the top of the desks (still nothing interesting), SWAP, WHACK.


"It's some sort of campaign!" the Head Beancounter cries.

"And you don't know anything about this?" the HR chief asks the Boss and me suspiciously.

"I mean I could try to look back through the building security camera logs if it would help?" I suggest.

I look around at the rest of the people in the HR chief's office and realize that everyone in the room knows who the culprit is, and yet...

"Security has reviewed the tapes," the HR chief says. "Some have been moved to point at walls, some have been obscured, and some have been tampered with. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"

In the end, not much more is said and the meeting is over, which is great as I need to get back to work. Doing the PFY's work as well as my own has really put the pressure on. That said, he'll be back in a week so things will be back to normal soon enough.

I almost wish I hadn't just seen the HR chief lock his top drawer...

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