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AWOL Net Admin!!! Need Help ASAP

By evin.hill ·
Hi everyone,
I need some help, whether it to say I'm screwed or if there is a fix. I just was hired to replace the IT manager, but he did not show up to "show me the ropes". The CEO nor the COO have any logins/passwords to any of the servers. The old IT manager kept all the passwords to himself. I found a master PW list, but they do not work. If the passwords were changed by the old employee how can I or the company reset the administrator passwords? Or are we SOL? Thanks for any help!

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HAve your employer get them

by Oz_Media In reply to AWOL Net Admin!!! Need He ...

Your IT Mangager is 100% responsible fo rsharing that information with you, failure to do so can result in positive legal action. This is your employers concern, not yours.

I woudln't take to hacking your network if I were you, just tell the boss that the guy left wih all the secure login information that belongs to your company, it is illegal.

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by jkaras In reply to HAve your employer get th ...

Lets say that you and your employer get into it and you quit because you/he obviously crossed the line with each other. In a huff you give the passwords and the finger to "the man". Now he gets mad and decides to get even to show you who is in charge. He claims that you never gave any such passwords to get back at him and seeks legal action, your word against his, then what? Or what if this person is the fired individual wanting tricks to hack his old network? I am not trying to be a jerk or anything but this is a possibility of what could happen. Other than protecting yourself with documentation/redundancy other minor admin how would you protect your reputation? With out any witness to the exchange who is trusted as to the truth? Even if someone witnesses you handing a letter with the passwords, the witness doesnt see the actual contents or seen executed that they work and the manager claims that the information on it was wrong? This is just a hypothetical mind you. I am sure some things like this eventually happen to some people, but not on a frequent basis.

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I agree 100%

by UncleRob In reply to HAve your employer get th ...

It's not your job to hack into your network on your 1st day. Especially if you're the IT manager, plus if you're the manager I'm assuming you have a systems admin or two that can help you with this problem. Otherwise lose the IT manager handle and just call yourself a PC LAN Technician (I can almost hear the frantic shouting in your original post, "Oh No, what do I do?")

Speak to your boss & HR and have them contact the previous IT mgr, they can formally request this info which should have been left with mgmt before he left. Mgmt is usually pretty slack on this issue as I've seen this happen before not just where I work but in other places too. It shouldn't be a problem for the previous mgr to give this info. Once he provides it and you have access to the systems again, change all the required passwords (something we do where I work whenever a system admin leaves the company).

If they can't get this info from him willingly then they can pursue some form of legal action against him at which point you'll be forced to use some 3rd party vendor tool like Winternal's ERD tool suite or resort to some linux bootdisks which allow you to reset admin passwords and what not (I'm not advocating hacking just saying that there are resources available if the situation calls for it) - this isn't an impossible situation.

If the systems are still running and no one's complaining about system issues (ie. user's can't print, IM or email's down, can't access network shares on the file server, internet access is down, etc.) then don't fly off the handle, you seem to be running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Don't sweat it if you just stepped into this shop and don't have the info provided to you, it can hardly be viewed as your fault or you inability to fix a problem. Just act like a manager and manage the situation professionally.

Just my 0.02 cents cdn, feel free to agree/disagree.

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Oz, are you sure?

by ippirate In reply to HAve your employer get th ...

I've seen this type of situation go both ways before.

Although there is some grounds on an ethical front, if the employer was not intelligent enough to request/demand the information prior to the IT Manager leaving, it may not be so easy, especially if it is an "At Will" state. To my understanding and experience there would be three key questions.

One, is the state an "At Will" state, in other words, is employment subject to the wind or is employee notice/employer justification necessary?


Two, did the employer ever make a formal request of the information in question?


Three, did the employee submit a two-weeks notice and then fail to fulfill that two weeks?

Any of the three above could provide an avenue of litigation. The only other direction that I am aware of that might be of leverage would be state ethics or intellectual property laws. Depending on the state again though.

Just my two cents...

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of course

by Oz_Media In reply to Oz, are you sure?

The employer would have to contact the former admin and request the information. If it is refused or said to be forgotten, he is either witholding proprietary information and jeopardizing security, he may also be hit for negligence.

Corporate law is pretty friggin' dirty stuff, definitely makes most lawyers seem friendly.

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Thanks for the replys

by evin.hill In reply to Oz, are you sure?

Guys, thanks for the replys. I guess what happened was the information was not passed down the chain of command. The other IT manager who was out of town, was not informed that I would be starting on that Monday. The Director did know, but did not pass the info to the upper management outside of IT that the other IT Man. would be out. Everything got squared away, it just was a cause for concern if it had been a "disgruntled" employee who left without leaving the passwords. Is there a solution or a policy that should be implemented from either side? I know some IT people hate giving up the info to the upper management, but who should the policy come from? The Management or the IT Department?

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What OS are you running? This is a technical fix

by f-626541 In reply to AWOL Net Admin!!! Need He ...

If you are running Linux, then you can break into the system easily enough if you have physical access to the console. Just boot into single user mode, then change /etc/passwd and/or /etc/shadow so you have a root account, then finish booting. If you are running NIS you will have to change the NIS passwd map, but you can do that.

If you are running Windows, then you may have a problem. I seem to recall that you could create a new domain controller (BDC) with a known administrator password, then down the existing PDC and promote the BDC to PDC and gain control that way, but I forget the details.

But I agree with the first poster - this calls for legal action.

In general, I give the list of master passwords to the boss in an envelope sealed with wax and marked "not to be opened". I explain to the boss that he is not the sysadmin, I am. He is the boss. He doesn't do system administration, he hires system administrators and they do the system administration. They will need the contents of that envelope and it is his job to deliver the envelope, not to open it.

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We need a new forum

by Oz_Media In reply to What OS are you running? ...

Hacking 101

In this case the poster may be very legitimate, but we don't REALLY know for sure who is and who isn't.

I prefer to leave things like that for people to take care of without my help, if you know what I mean.

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Actually Hacking 101 would be nice

by jmgarvin In reply to We need a new forum

I'd like to talk about security from a different stand point.

How would you know that you aren't getting the baddies in there...I don't know. Maybe double check everybody that wants to join or at least have some disclaimer ;-)

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You cannot

by jbaker In reply to Actually Hacking 101 woul ...

tell what color hats everybody here wears. I think that we, as Systems and Network Administrators should at least be aware of what the vulnerabilities are, and how they are exploited. It would help us to secure our networks.

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