Seriously, you must click this to embiggen. You’ve just gotta see what I did.
Okay, well this is actually even more epic than it looks.
We have a policy that keeps people from leaving their computers unlocked for various obvious reasons (and some not so obvious). Offenders can sometimes get dealt with in fun ways, usually teaching them a lesson. I’ve seen it all: Facebook posts about deep disturbing love for a random girly subject, letters to the rest of the command about the Army ‘not being fun’, everything on the desk turned upside down… But this one is visually intense, and I’m proud of it.
Here’s how I theoretically may have done it, and made it more epic than it looks. Allegedly.
First off, I created a few thousand folders and stacked groups of them on top of each other. Only spent 5 minutes, so it’s sloppy.
Next I started dumping copies of all of these folders into ‘My Documents’, the person’s IE/Firefox links, and that quick links folder at the top of a normal Windows 7 install. The effects of this alone were hilarious, but it gets much better.
After that, I took a screenshot of the desktop madness. Then I navigated to the folder where the desktop background image is located. By default, a user can’t change their background image away from the ‘UNCLASSIFIED’ screen (or whatever classification you’re working with, etc. In this case, it’s the NIPR backround.)
Using administrator rights was an option, but I didn’t use them. I saved a copy of the original image for later (when people would inevitably scream “Not cool… Holy shit!”) Then I changed the name of the screenshot to match the name of the original desktop background, and overwrote the old one with the new.
Keep in mind, they still had real copies of thousands of useless folders on their desktop. It took this person (who works in IT with me) quite a while to delete the real copies – mostly due to unfortunate choices like Auto-arrange Icons compounding his problem. I felt a little bad so I offered him the advice of “do a search for folders with the word ‘copy’ in it, arrange results by date, delete anything from today.”
It worked… for the real folders.
But the desktop image persisted. Nobody in the shop had ever really cared to attempt to change the desktop via such alternative methods, so it was not obvious. My fellow Soldier / co-worker must have thought the folders crashed his windows permanently, like they were ‘burned into his account’ through a GPU glitch. Or something. LOL I don’t know.
After a while I simply offered to change his background back to normal. He looked at me and said many NSFL (Not safe for life) things, realizing the true pain of being fooled by something so simple in hindsight.
We all laughed like a bastard later though. Good stuff. And we all learned a lesson about leaving your government computer unlocked. InfoSec – Information Security!
FYI: With escalated rights, you could theoretically do all of this remotely, while the user is still logged in and actively using their computer. Theoretically.