Ubuntu: Pranked by sysadmin


So, in my office we have the 'always lock your computer' policy, and if someone forgets, they are pranked. In most companies, this is probably something like sending out an email with the declaration of bringing doughnuts. Here, people play more technical pranks.

At the moment, my colleagues have somehow managed to play sounds at seemingly random moments (farts were really funny, I have to admit). It seems, that they are also able to remotely play them, without using ssh - I have checked if I have any shells open, and they do not have my password and are not using another root user. I have checked my bashrc and crontab - nothing is there. One symptom that might point to something, is that if I'm using the sound card, for example listening to spotify, the 'prank sounds' seem to get queued - after 'my' sounds stop, they get played all at once - which, because they are using some speech synthetizer sounds very creepy. 'festival' package is not installed on my PC.

My colleagues have also mentioned they were sending 'messages' - but I checked the email folder and looked for any network messages, and found nothing. I'm using Ubuntu 16.04.

Please help. I'm at the edge of insanity, and have no idea what they could have done.


Number one thing: establish an ironclad habit of locking your screen if you so much as turn your back on your computer.

Number two: consider looking for a different job; you work in a toxic workplace. However, those aren't really Ubuntu fixes. The one you're probably looking for is next.

Number three: most likely someone put something on your computer that I'd consider malware -- it looks for activity on the sound card and then queues the sound file you mentioned. Simple solution: reinstall your system. In an office that uses Ubuntu on all the computers, that should be as simple as borrowing the install flash drive or DVD, running the installer, and reconnecting to your user folder -- it'll take a half hour or so, and if the boss asks why, you can tell him the truth: one of your coworkers infected your machine with some kind of malware, and you're restoring normal function the most efficient way.


Ok, I found out what the dastardly devils from my room did. When I was away and my pc was unlocked, one of them shared a file over the network with the script. The script started a system service that listened on a particular port, and anything that came over that port was pasted into my bash. The soundcard clue was a bit wrong, as they could have done anything they wanted with my pc, just playing fart sounds was the funniest.

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