How Geek Squad Steals Your Porn

According to an insider, these are the tools, programs, and procedures one Geek Squad precinct exploits to snarf up your porn:

Generally, the process looks like this…for most customers, we use a commercial program called Nero BackItUp (available with Nero Ultra Suite) – we mount the HDD as a slave on our TechPC, and we just select the directories we need to backup, and the process automates itself. Unless somebody goes in and looks, or an occasional oddball case (I found child porn on a computer by the fact that CDFS limits the length of the name of a file, and if you put enough keywords in front of it, Nero wants to know how to deal with it) we don’t see any the files. This is true for I’d say….60% of all backups we do.

What causes problems are two things: When a customer doesn’t know what to backup, or if the HDD has bad sectors/is overly fragmented.

When a customer doesn’t know what to backup, and doesn’t state to backup everything, usually we go directory by directory and figure out if there’s anything worth backing up. This is how agents can start peeking in your files.

When a drive has bad sectors/is overly fragmented – due to the nature of Nero, if one file won’t backup, the backup will just crash out. We then use a free program called ROBOCOPY, which is basically XCopy with better switch commands. We copy the entire HDD wholesale (minus Windows, Program Files, and things like temp files and the hibernate file) to our HDD. ROBOCOPY provides error checking, retries files, and skips damaged files to avoid crashing itself. We then backup off the clone of the user’s HDD on our HDD.

This would be fine and peachy – if we deleted it afterward. Most of the time, at least in my precinct, we don’t. I can often find backups stored on the desktop of the techpc, or in the network accessible shared “backups” directory, or if I just use TreeSize on the PC. Sometimes we keep it for legal reasons – we may have had some major damage to an HDD, and only gotten a small portion of the data files, and we have been sued before over that. But most of the time, we have no reason to keep a clone of a user’s HDD on our computer, but seemingly keep them through apathy or just plain negligence. This allows a corrupt agent to search at his/her leisure. The policy is to delete them immediately, but nobody monitors it. The store managers wouldn’t know enough to look, and the GS managers don’t care, and even if they did, it wouldn’t take long to hide something. Every month, we’re supposed to reimage the Techpc, but reinstalling everything takes hours – and doesn’t make us any money, so nobody does.

The customers don’t help us either. Customers often post nude pictures of themselves on their desktop, or have poorly named folders on the desktop, or even pure video files on their desktop. Every agent in my precinct has a 4GB or higher flash memory stick. I have two complete work related CD images, a dozen more programs, 50 or so music files, all of my writing, and all of my schoolwork, and still have 1.8 GB free on my 4GB stick, and I have two additional 2GB sticks, that if I really wanted to steal personal info, I could just format. I’ve had customers ask me, when performing virus scans to move their Limewire directory “/Documents and Settings//Shared” out so the remover that nukes Limewire doesn’t delete it. That’s just asking for it.

The customers and managers expect us to run our procedures off the memory sticks – we don’t like using Compact Discs unless we have to boot from them because they cost the store money. The way the MRI works, once it gets going, it installs itself into a temp directory, so the memory stick isn’t doing anything. You can easily steal files while running a scan. I have a password stripper for Windows, a password stripper for RAR/ZIP files, and a program that removes the obscuring from password fields on my thumbdrives – they aren’t part of the toolset, but I was told in certain situations to do “what needs to get it done”, so I could easily start stealing passwords – I could just swipe your registry and steal your passwords when I get home, thanks to IE storing passwords.

The other big problem with file stealing is the scanners. The virus scanners especially list every directory name and every file while they’re scanning – and it gets really obvious. So there’s plenty of visibility for your files, and plenty of opportunity. Geek Squad doesn’t condone it, but my manager, who’d be the only one that could notice an agent stealing data, only works 36-40 hours per week. Above and beyond that, we’re on our own, self-monitored and self-enforced.

-Anonymous

Best Buy is America’s leading electronics retailer. There’s a Geek Squad in just about every Best Buy. According to insider emails, comments, and conversations, the theft of customer’s personal files is systemic. Unless you protect it, your data is not safe. Don’t leave your house with your doors unlocked, and don’t leave your computer with a repair tech unless 1) you don’t care what they see 2) you’ve taken necessary precautions to secure your files, like encryption or keeping sensitive info on an external drive.

PREVIOUSLY:
VIDEO: Consumerist Catches Geek Squad Stealing Porn From Customer’s Computer
Geek Squad Hatched Plot To Harvest Porn From Pornstar Jasmine Grey’s HardDrive, Days Before She Died In Car Crash
Why Geeks Steal Porn From Your Computer

(Photo: bookish in north park (away for a while))