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Sabotage

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:39 am
by 4DThinker
A story to tell:

We have a Nebula and a Meteor in our college shop.
Both worked fine during the summer school classes that ended a few weeks ago.
When I started both machines up this fall semester the Nebula's install of LinuxCNC would not start.
Turns out someone mischievous had switched off the game controller. We don't use the game controller, but keep it plugged in. I didn't even realize it had an on-off switch. Thanks to Len at Probotix pointing out what the error message meant I found the switch and got the software running again.

Yesterday was the first day that we started using the Nebula.
First student using it could not get the Z axis to cut his pockets as deep as they were programmed to cut.
After checking his file for errors (none found) I noticed a fresh backup of the *.ini file in the software folder.

Deleted the current .ini file and renamed the backup file. Reran linuxCNC and all was well. Someone had edited the .ini file to screw up the Z axis travel value. A sneaky hack. No idea why anyone would bother. Just one of the things we put up with in an open University shop. Not the first time a machine has been obviously sabotaged.

We are in a temporary space this year while our campus building is getting gutted and remodelled. When the new shop opens up next fall we'll have security cameras overlooking the shop spaces. Does anyone wonder why?

4D

Re: Sabotage

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:14 am
by politicaldog
Can you password protect the computer when its going to sit idle for a period of time?

Re: Sabotage

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:29 am
by kjoiner
Wow, that's pretty rotten that someone would tamper with the computer like that. It disrupts the other students that are trying to get work done and disrupts the faculty when trying to find the root cause.

It reminds me of when I was in school in CNC class using a Dyna lathe. Someone had crashed the machine and didn't bother telling anyone. The calibration was thrown off. I chucked up a part and ran a program that had run successfully several times before. I watched in horror as the carriage slammed the cutter into my piece of aluminum stock and wrenched it in the chuck. Luckily, the chuck jaws had shear pins that took the hit. Later, that person came in and "oh by the way, the machine may messed up". Really?

Kyle

Re: Sabotage

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:27 pm
by 4DThinker
If I knew enough about linux I'm sure we could set a password. Trouble is that as soon as one student knows it then they all do. I let the students who are taking my CNC class and know how to run them come in during non-class times to use the CNCs. For some projects there isn't enough in-class time for all the students to get their cuts done. Faculty or shop technicians have to be in the shop when any students are, but I doubt anyone but me would realize a student at the CNCs was doing something mischievous. I'm only in the building when my classes are in session.

We have a room with laser cutters that is lock protected, and only those having taken a tutorial on safe use of them get a key card. Trouble is that one with a key card let an untrained student friend use the laser. That student started a fire, and thanks to video from the security camera we can see she had no idea how to deal with it. That laser burned until someone ran to get a faculty member who grabbed the extinguisher right next to it and put the fire out. Laser out of service during the most used time at the end of the semester.

4D

Re: Sabotage

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:24 pm
by politicaldog
Don't know if its even possible but if each student was assigned their own unique password a log could at least identify the person that last logged on.

Re: Sabotage

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:06 pm
by 4DThinker
Update on this topic... This Fall our Probotix CNCs will be in their own room. The door on that room will have a security lock on it allowing only authorized users access. A log is kept of all IDs accessing that lock. Not sure yet if a security camera will overlook the room, but one could be installed easily.

I no longer will have oversight of these CNCs. My Dean has decided that they are a college resource (not a department resource) and given them to our college shop superviser and his students employees to oversee and manage. Keeping them running is no longer my responsibility.

4D

Re: Sabotage

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:16 pm
by 4DThinker
Old thread, but we are now in our new fabrication lab. The 3 small CNCs are in a dedicated sound-insulated room next to the workbench area. No lock for the door. Three security cameras overlook the open area, but I can't be sure any of them are looking at the door/windows of the CNc lab.

We've had one instance this semester where someone, likely a painter/electrician/IT tech was in that room and while moving our nebula aside accidently unplugged a wire running to a Y axis limit switch. They plugged it back in.... to the wrong terminal on the switch.

This error wasn't expected or noticed but the right Y motor was suddenly giving us fits. After a couple weeks of down time while we searched for the problem (bad controller? bad parallel cable? bad USB cable? bad stepper, etc..), replaced the X and Z limit switches, replaced the whole PC, and so on, I finally thought to check the Y limit switches and found the problem.

The is a new space in a newly remodelled building. Crews are in and out every day trying to finish off a punch list of details to complete. Hopefully a day will come when the space is truly ours and no unexpected workers will be moving things around.

4D