Self Spreadsheet Saboteur risks 10 years porridge

I used to put a little support contact details messagebox  in some of my more complex spreadsheets in the hope I may get a lucrative support gig.

This guy went a bit further.

He time bombed his VBA and locked the projects. Now its in court and it could be 10 years in prison and/or 250kUSD fine. Oops!

I wouldn’t accept a contractor keeping passwords, a proper external supplier maintaining their IP ok, but a contractor working on company files? no. And I personally wouldn’t lock my VBA either, if the client wants to do that fine, until they lose the password and I have to hack it…

 

 

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5 Responses to “Self Spreadsheet Saboteur risks 10 years porridge”

  1. Paul Christie Says:

    I had one client who criticised me for not protecting a spreadsheet i’d written for them. They got the hump when I told them that since it was their data it was their responsibility.

  2. Joe Serdakowski Says:

    I write a gazillion Macro-enabled workbooks for a dozen different companies for 30+ years. I password protect them all with the password “aaa”, which is an open secret. Protecting a worksheet controls what cells can be edited, which is a good thing. My logic is that I am programming to keep honest people from making stupid mistakes. Seems to work well for me.

  3. Biggus Dickus Says:

    What a moron … I have seen this once and the guy was so incompetent that it blew up when the lack of a timed password made the macro (back in 1-2-3 days) try to delete all the files.

    The client called me in and it was the easiest opportunity for me to look like a hero as it was so easy to figure out.

    I called the guy and tore a strip off of him but the company (a major world agri-business) chose to just write the incident off to experience.

    I do agree with the point made here that a password in Excel is not REAL security but rather just a good way to prevent users from tromping on or getting into something they don’t need to be in. This protects the client and you.

    But make sure the password is obvious to the right people.

    I talked to an MS Excel Team manager who said Microsoft doesn’t want to encourage to use Protection because it is not really security and someone cracking it (?) might create a legal issue for MS. Seriously !! Get an f’ing life.

    I can see them decide to remove it because of this “risk” bs .. It’d be typical.

  4. Simon Says:

    That Seimens sabateur (who is not a young buck like I assumed, but in fact a mature gentleman) pleaded guilty, eventually. And because he had (mis) invoiced 30k or more the whole escapade is a proper felony not just a wrist slapping misdemeanor.

    And I dislike pretty much all Excel protection most of the time, as I think its contrary to the most effective use of Excel as part of the corporate toolset. IMO of course, you’re welcome to yours.

  5. FinancialRadDeveloper Says:

    Up until the most recent MS Office version, there is a “loading in Hex viewer and edit a block after a certain char” hack. It is out there buried in the internet somewhere.

    I know this for sure as I found a desk “strat” using this very trick to hack another departments VBA libraries written in locked .xlam files. He was double surprised as I used to work on that team a few contracts ago and also kne of the exact hack.

    I guess this is a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy as if someone is Excel VBE literate to know this, or be able to implement it.. .they wouldn’t be fooled by this contractors nonsense!

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