If you needed another reason to keep your sysadmins happy: Out of 300 IT pros polled by security company Cyber Ark, 88% said they would steal sensitive data or futz with master login passwords if they happened to be fired. Granted, this is a study publicized by a company that offers services to protect networks against internal rogue operators, but the more data like this that comes out, the nicer our brave IT managers are likely to be treated. Or, the more ridiculous security barriers will be put in place to keep the good ones from easily doing their jobs-one or the other. So perhaps we should have our own informal comment survey-IT dudes: Would you go 21st century postal on your employers if you were let go? [Ars Technica, Image: shearforce]
This isn't a good reason to start treating IT managers better. No one, in any position, should be fired without cause, but even if they are, that is no moral or legal excuse to harm someone else. And make no mistake, it would be other people one would harm, not some faceless entity representing "the man." A layoff do to "corporate restructuring" or a firing due to poor performance or other justified reason is acceptable for the other 99% of the workforce. IT workers do not form any special class, nor should they have any special privileges merely because they work in a specialty incomprehensible to outsides, nor because their actions don't appear to harm anyone. This is no different than an accountant who siphons corporate money into a private slush fund and then takes it with them when they are forced to leave.
What this sounds like is an excellent cause to start teaching mandatory ethics courses in CS programs at all universities. Such widespread malevolence (and make no mistake, that's exactly what it is) screams that there is a massive cultural disconnect, and I'm going to venture out on a limb and say that the side committing crimes is in the wrong. The fact that Gizmodo, on more than one occasion, has reflexively sided with the crime-committing culprit only shows just how pervasive this is. The fact that they've had to go back on more than one occasion to "revise" their position demonstrates that such actions are never justified.