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True Domino Blooper #15: Can you keep a secret?

This Domino developer was trying to solve an off-line startup problem, but ended up causing quite a security scare at his company.

This Domino developer was trying to solve an off-line startup problem, but ended up causing quite a security scare at his company. Read more to find out how our hero stumbled on to secret files in the most unusual location.

Sometimes the most innocuous, even altruistic, decision can trip you up.

I was developing and supporting Lotus Notes applications at a company with strong Domino engineering. The lead administrator was bothered by the company's custom Notes start page. Because it loads a screen from the server when you are in the "office" location, and users did not have the "Prompt for location at startup" setting set, they got a blank gray screen and an error message when they started off-line.

As a favor, I worked on an upgrade program for this, writing code to update each user's bookmark.nsf, while preserving individual settings. To test this, I needed a sample user desktop to work on. All the IT folks I knew (me included) had strange configurations. So after much thought, it dawned on me: the secretaries! I figured that since they aren't technologists, they're desktops are pretty vanilla. I loaded a secretary's bookmark.nsf as my own.


What I didn't realize was that the secretary had access to the same confidential databases as her manager. Now I had links to those confidential databases. At some point, I triggered a run through those links (probably when I edited the bookmark outline design element in Designer).

Now I did say the company had strong engineering, and that includes alerts on access errors. All of the IT managers, administrators, site managers and information security managers got a bunch of ACCESS DENIED e-mails, and within a day I got my own corporate access denied message.


Do you have your own blooper? Send it in and claim your fame.

 Every story in our bloopers series comes to us directly from a administrator, developer or consultant. For obvious reasons, some contributors -- including this tale's author -- choose to remain anonymous.


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