Blackberry Smackdown

One of my favorite TV shows is Video Justice. I like it not only because the footage of crimes caught happening is usually amazing, but because the bad guys don't get away with doing their dirt. Similar shows, like Cops, and Dateline's To Catch A Predator enjoy high ratings probably because many people share my intrigue with seeing justice happen right before our eyes -justice that is so rare on the evening news.

Computer justice can be as satisfying as video justice.

An email from Mimi hit my inbox. The subject read: Urgent. A moment later my phone buzzed in my pocket. The caller ID showed Mimi's name. An urgent email chased by a phone call from the sender is never good. When I answered, Mimi shouted her email message over the phone to me.

"Someone stole Kurt's Blackberry and he's freaked out that they are going to copy all his info. His email has lots of company stuff in it -Geoff he's freeeeaked out!"

A couple of years ago, Kurt had made a significant company investment in a product called BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) and asked me to configure it for him. Companies that use a Microsoft Exchange server can use BES to keep their Blackberry users' email and calendars synchronized "live" with no need to sync with the usual USB cables plugged into their respective computers. BES also allows detailed control and management of its connected Blackberry devices.

I told Mimi to breathe and that I'd call her back. I then logged onto Kurt's server remotely from my office. Inside the BES manager program there was a button under Kurt's name that said: Erase data and disable handheld. I swept my mouse pointer back and forth over the button a few times realizing that I was about to commit an act that IT guys rarely get to perform -willful destruction of proprietary data at the client's request!

Mimi's voice saying, "freaked out" echoed in my head and my finger came down on the mouse. The button blinked and after two more ominous warnings, the deed was done and a confirmation message centered itself on the screen. I had destroyed all the data on my clients Blackberry and then disabled it in a few clicks of a mouse.

Although I had no recorded footage of Kurt's thief during my Blackberry smackdown, I wondered what the thief was doing when I reached through cyberspace and ruined his or her Blackberry booty. Was she browsing Kurt's contacts only to see them vanish to a blank screen? Was he showing off the new Blackberry to a friend? Or perhaps gabbing on a long distance phone call that went silent?

I used to think the best mouse click was the one on a button that says Remove Now after successfully cornering a virus. Today that changed. Now my favorite mouse click was stopping a thieving Blackberry nabber. Chalk that one up as a technology triumph.

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