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Craziest/mischevious thing done with Mainframes

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New User

Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:48 pm
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Accidentally printed the output of a payroll program to a production printer, since it was a monday, actual cheques were loaded for production run. Rest, as they say, is history...had to face wrath from everyone for my stupidity.
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Ed Goodman

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Joined: 08 Jun 2011
Posts: 556
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:41 pm
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Wrote a horse racing simulator in RPF for ROSCOE. Little guys would run across the screen, random winner.
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Global Moderator

Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1788
Location: Bloomington, IL

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:00 pm
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I reached the limit of my tolerance for sotfware engineers who ignore the errors in their bind jobs only to whine at me that their tests won't run properly. I spent some little while adding code to our testing tool so that a failed bind would send a message to the luser saying so, and then fail, not with a harmless little condition code, but with the abend of the Beast -- U0666 -- bringing things to a screeching halt.

I'll still have sotfware engineers whining at me, but now I can have some cruel fun telling them, "Your program is possessed by Satan; open a service ticket to the exorcist workgroup" icon_evil.gif
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New User

Joined: 20 Nov 2013
Posts: 91
Location: India

PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:39 pm
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While training fresh grads, I used to do this in REXX. I created a REXX code LIKEME which takes NAME as arg. When I run 'TSO LIKEME myname' it would display - "Mainframe like you as you are too good". For any other name it would display "Mainframe do not like you".
People used to wonder why mainframe did not like their names.
This also helped to generate their interest on Rexx language.
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Active Member

Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 917
Location: The Universe

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:50 am
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Late in my residence at a job I was doing something or other with HASP. This was before you could specify the volume serials of the SPOOL volumes. I had mounted my test SPOOL volume on the free drive in a 2314 bank; the plan was to remove the address "plug" for the production SPOOL volume and move it to my drive. In those days 2314 devices were sold in units of 8 drives, 7 were live; the 8th position was available for drive setup. Each drive had a movable device address "plug" that defined the hardware address for the drive. No "plug," the drive was offline and not accessible. One IPL - my testing was not going well and I had several IPLs - I forgot to switch the "plug" and I nuked the production SPOOL.

Relatively early in a new job I did a HASP mod that damaged some low storage. The problem was not caught in testing and the mod went into production.

Several months later some non IBM hardware was added that caused channel checks; the ERP (Error Recovery Procedure) crashed the system. The IBM CEs figured out the crash was caused by the low storage issue; they did a console setup to freeze the system when the storage was actually damaged, which led to my goof. I got razzed for that for years.

Many years later a senior operator accidentally forced a JES2 cold start rather than a warm start. Nothing intentionally malicious, just a very dumb goof. For some time he was called Shivers. Just before I quit that job Shivers was put in charge of the system programmers. Maybe management figured he could do less damage there!

Speaking of managers. We had a manager who was supposed to come in one Sunday to run interference with operations; for several months we had been having difficulties with operations not turning over the system for standalone tests. The guy didn't show one Sunday. This was in the 70s, before cell phones. We tried calling his home. Not there. Evidently he was at his girl friend's home. I heard later he got divorced.
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Gary McDowell

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Joined: 15 Oct 2012
Posts: 139
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:59 pm
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When I first started COBOL coding I always had my 'GO TO" abend paragraph named "HELL".

I remember a guy who was learning CICS and for fun he wrote error-messages like "wrong key pressed you idiot". Well...He forgot to change some messages before program went to Production (eeeks).
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Superior Member

Joined: 14 Mar 2007
Posts: 10833
Location: italy

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:13 pm
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when the CICS sources were still available,
and the CICS installation consisted in assembling everything

in one of the DFHSIT modules, at the WTOR telling ...
YAK YAK YAK, reply GO or cancel
the wrong answer path had as a comment "GIVE THE DUMMY ANOTHER TRY"
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New User

Joined: 15 Jun 2020
Posts: 27
Location: usa

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:22 am
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At a manufacturing plant, a friend had programmed a parts shortage control system using CLIST, ISPF panels and SAS. Dozens of workers on the shop floor could update the status of parts as they moved through the system. He included a facility for sending messages to other workers processing parts using TSO SEND, as a convenience for the users of the system as some of the work stations were some distance apart, and sending messages saved time and leg work. However, on a lark, he decided to capture each message before sending and store them in a cleverly concealed SOAP (think soap opera) file. This turned out to be interesting reading for the morbidly curious because there being both men and women in the shop, and communiques were thought to be private, eyebrow-raising results ensued. OMG to be sure.

This file was a potentially terrible time bomb of personal intrigue and he eventually deleted it for fear of its contents being revealed and destroying people's personal lives.

I was also a user of this system, and I inherited it when he moved into the applications group. But he would still login and we would use it to send each other messages. He was an incurable prankster and would hack the code to detect my login and send me custom messages that looked like I'd sent to myself. Of course, I would reciprocate this kind of sabotage. It became a competition to detect each other's cleverly concealed hacks and remove them.

I would often stop by his cubicle to chat and one day he had stepped away from his cubicle before I arrived but had neglected to logoff his terminal. I quickly sat down and opened an edit session of his message file and typed, "Guess who, buzzard breath?", hit save and PF3'd back to where he had left his session, and walked away. Upon his next login, he received the message with no sender UID. This is of course, impossible and it puzzled him to no end. He knew it was me but couldn't figure out how I'd "hacked TSO SEND" or even hacked RACF. It really bothered him.

I got a free lunch out of this for telling him how I'd "hacked the system". The look on his face when he realized he'd been had? Priceless.

Afterward, I successfully hacked a part shortage message system to invoke an interactive SAS session which filled his 3270 screen with a GDDM graphic (after a couple seconds of BLUE LIGHTNING), written in pink and filling the screen, "YOU WIMP". He shared a cubicle with a female programmer who happened to witness the event, making it even more effective.

His retaliation was to come in early one morning, remove the key caps from my 3179 terminal and put them in a plastic back and attach them to drop-ceiling framework some 12 feet above my cubicle. How he did that without a ladder remains a mystery.

That wasn't enough, however. Another day he removed my key caps and re-installed them one key to the right. It took me 10 minutes to realize my terminal wasn't on the fritz. That was a good one.

He did another absolutely amazing "social engineering hack" on two guys sharing a cubicle across the isle from him which I'll save for another post (if anyone is interested). Its victims were left in a spectacular state of confusion. They never figured out what had happened to them or how it happened. Epic.
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