You unlock this door with a password that contains a mixture of letters and numbers, of uppercase and lowercase letters, of at least one special character.
Beyond it is another dimension, not only of hardware and software but of data and despair.
You’ve just crossed over into The IT Zone.
Without further ado, we bring you the stuff of IT nightmares, presented unedited for your enjoyment.
Content warning: We asked IT professionals to tell us their scary stories. Some of the material below is genuinely hair-raising. If you’re not prepared, please turn away now.
1. The Cold Call
“Working for an MSP, had a call to a morgue. Internet was out and the router was in the 'store room.' Had to have someone to accompany me so I didn't f*ck around with about 15 dead bodies. They were all face up on slabs. The guide had to leave due to more incoming bodies. I just froze for about 15 mins.” — sadsealions
“I had a ticket come in stating that a users UPS was screeching. I grabbed a battery from inventory and headed to their office to replace the battery as I've done probably a hundred times.
I knelt down to silence the UPS and save my eardrums. Placing my finger on the power button, I pressed it to turn it off, but instead of turning off, my finger kept going. My finger sank in nearly to the second knuckle before I realized what was happening and stopped myself.
“I immediately pulled my finger out and stared in horror at the hole I had left where the power button once was.
“Apparently the UPS wasn't screeching because the battery was dead. It was screeching because the user had plugged in a powerful heater and the entire unit was melting.” — Evernight2021
3. The Voice in the Machine
“used to work at Geeksquad at a time when fake ransomware pop-ups were just becoming a thing (before they implemented crypto-locking files).
“One machine had been checked in and the notes said 'CLIENT STATES COMPUTER IS POSSESSED - HEARING STRANGE VOICES COMING FROM THE SPEAKERS.'
“I booted up the computer and it seemed to be infected with one of those fake ransomware pop-ups, except this one had an echo-y female voice in a foreign language telling you to call the fake help support line displayed on the screen.
“After fixing it up I called the client and got the full story:
“The clients used the computer, didn't realize they got infected, shut off the screen (but not the computer) for the night, and went to bed. At some point during the night, the virus, being set to run on a timer, ran itself again, full echo-y female voice and all on full blast. The clients sprang out of bed, understandably freaked out at the unknown voice coming from their computer, immediately ripped the power cord from the wall and brought it in first thing in the morning.
“Couldn't help but write in the resolution notes: 'Gave computer some Holy Water to drive away the evil spirits, along with cleaning up a number of virus infections.'” — Matt
4. A Server Cesspool
“...finding the AS/400 was down because sewer line broke and it was under 'water'…" — dmznet
5. What’s in the Case?
“User reported computer 'running hot.' It was extremely dirty and had food caked on it. I cracked it open to blow out the fans, only to be confronted with actual living larvae crawling around inside. I almost threw up. The user barely flinched, oddly enough. I took it outside into the parking lot (in a bag) and viciously sprayed it out. Cleaned it up and it worked fine afterwards.” — S_SubZero
6. The Big Reboot
“Seen 12000 servers rebooted at once by mistake in a big bank. Took them three days to be back to full operational status.” — ofnuts
7. The Hunt
“Worked at a company that did bought a location in the middle of nowhere. Showed up, skulls everywhere. Multiple piles of them, as well as on window landings and other places. Very festive, if one is into skulls. Folks had been hunting on the property for decades and the skulls added up. Didn't bother me, but did tend to weird out the junior techs.” — ExcitingTabletop
8. The Ultimate Betrayal
“I came on to a team.
“I loved them and trusted them and merrily lifted anyone's load.
“They silently made me the printer guy.” — pseudocultist
9. The After Hours
“There was an issue and as usual, I had to go into the data centre in the midnight with a few people (usually observers) to troubleshoot the issues. I have to login to the unix (AIX) system via a terminal which inside in the rack. People were talking and loud noises were also coming out of the various IBM (43P) servers (hundreds of them). And I was so focus running the various commands into the terminal and those guys left the place without informing me. I just didntrealise I was alone. While continuing punching in the commands, i began to see a shadow moving from left to the right behind the monitor like several times. I got annoyed and shouted at the person to stop being an idiot. Immediately i had goosebump as irealisei was the only one inside the data centre. i know what i saw but I just continue to finish up the things i need to do and leave the data centre.
“The next day, i scolded one of the guys for leaving me alone without informing me. he apologise and told me there was a girl in red was standing in the corridor (outside the data centre) just staring at him.” — wingcross
10. For Your Eyes Only
“On a government contracting deployment, had an idiot send out an email from a corporate email account with a bunch of classified information to several deployed team members.
“One of the idiot recipients then forwarded it to almost everyone else on the deployed team at his site, and then CC'd some folks at another site saying something like, ‘Hey, I think this is classified information. What do you guys think?’
“Then instead of walking over and punching the idiot forwarder in the face as they should have, a third idiot sent a frantic STFU reply-all and CC'd a Stateside manager so that the manager could witness that he was trying to do the right thing by telling everyone to shut up.
“So once all the screaming had stopped, the affected users' computers and phones were shut-down and locked up in a classified storage area.
“Don't know the particulars, but the DoD security folks weren't satisfied with company IT remotely reaching in and deleting all the messages from everyone's laptops and phones. So we had to ship almost everyone's laptops and phones back to the States and get replacements sent out.
“Once the affected computers made it back to the States, the IT shop, working with security, had to one by one go through each computer to copy over each user's locally saved files from their old laptops and put it all on Ironkeys to ship over to the sites so that guys could have their documents and daily work files.
“I was working logistics instead of Ops, so I thankfully wasn't on the email chain from hell. But for a few weeks, I had almost 20 dudes coming over to my computer everyday to do timesheets and critical emails.
“And the remedial security training that followed.....ugh.” — PeteyMcPetey
11. To Server Man
“Did the CEO go into the "SERVER ROOM", break the lock for the Thermostat and move the ambient temps of the cooling system from 21°C to 41°C for the sweet savings on expensive German electricity? And did he find out exactly 2 hours later, that not only did he cook 3 out of 8 servers, but he also had changed the order from a cooling system to a cooling+heating system when it was installed just a year ago?
“Because that happened to my POD on Friday. Was fun.” — TotallyInOverMyHead
12. A Nice Place to Visit
“Deployed Kaspersky on hundreds of servers worldwide for a major multinational.
“Lost all remote access to the servers, had to send someone on site on each servers to reboot them, including in the middle of nowhere in Africa.” — AtarukA
13. Never Alone
“Having to answer the phone. Christ, leave me alone, I got into IT so I didn't have to talk to people.” — Blondie9000
At the confluence of technology and users is a point devoid of logic and reason. Where the unexpected is the norm. Where the best laid plans lead to utter calamity. PDQ Deploy and Inventory are beacons in the darkness of the void, lighting the way to efficient inventory and patch management. No one should ever go it alone. Because, you see, anything can happen in The IT Zone.
Part writer, part sysadmin fangirl, Meredith gets her kicks diving into the depths of IT lore. When she's not spending quality time behind a computer screen, she's probably curled up under a blanket, silently contemplating the efficacy of napping.