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FairPort Accused of Faking Network Readiness Test 144

Posted by kdawson
from the sufficiently-rigged-demo-is-indistinguishable-from-magic dept.
wytcld writes "When Verizon spun off its Northern New England lines to FairPoint, FairPoint leased Verizon's computer network to manage them. This was costly, so FairPoint readied its own network. To prove its own network was ready for the switchover a demonstration was prepared for an outside auditor, Liberty. Now a whistleblower claims: '...when Liberty was watching what they thought was "flow thru" within a system and from one system to another, they were really only seeing a small program that was created to assimilate what they wanted the systems to do. They were not actually in the systems at the time nor were they in the test systems. They were in a newly created small program that used screen shots from the real system to deceive the audience into believing that they were watching a real demonstration.' How easy is it to find auditors who can be fooled by such a simple trick? Whether or not the test was faked, the network has proved so unready that FairPoint is close to bankruptcy, and may have its licenses to operate revoked in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont."
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FairPort Accused of Faking Network Readiness Test

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  • Help! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:35PM (#29189383) Homepage Journal
    Help! New Hampshire Internet Refugee here -

    The reports slamming Fairpoint have not been exaggerated, I work in the tech industry in NH, and I have seen countless problems with many of my clients who have fairpoint. I personally have had endless frustration-

    A new 7.1 mbps service that took them 3 months and 1000 calls later to actually hook up! The techs there seem to have little idea of what's going on, and each promises a phone call back that never happens. They've mastered stalling techniques such as "Well I put it in the system, but we'll have to wait 24-72 hours for it to 'go through'"

    "go through!?" Let me tell you guys something, this is the tech's way of not dealing with you. When my problem finally got fixed (I had finally gotten through to a top tier tech), he was on the phone with me and went, oh I see the problem, and it was fixed instantly. There is no magical factory of oompa loompas out back processing these cpu instructions- it's a fucking computer network run by .. computers.

    Techs decide what they can and cannot do in order to get off the phone with you as soon as possible, conveinently never having access to that part of the system that can FIX anything.

    There's nothing good going on behind the scenes at fairpoint, and their staff are a bunch of jokers. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get on the phone with their billing department and figure out why my auto-pay billing keeps billing but never charges the card! I've got over $300 in late fees.. and I don't know why!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "they were really only seeing a small program that was created to assimilate what they wanted the systems to do."

      I think they meant "to SIMULATE what they wanted the systems to do"...

      Isn't compulsory education wonderful?

      • Re:Help! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:05PM (#29189843)

        No, he meant "assimilate". You see, by the end of the audit, the consultants had become part of the Collective, and were willing to sign whatever the Borg Queen told them to.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Pick your poison.

        A: They meant simulate, and /. has shitty editors.
        B: They created a terrible new buzzword, "assimulate" (assume + simulate), and /. still has shitty editors who didn't catch the typo.

      • by theaveng (1243528)

        If you find yourself stranded in New England without an ISP, you could always go back to using phone lines.

        Netscape ISP is only $7/month. Slow but usable.

        • by walt-sjc (145127)

          Or you can go business cable that is delivering 4x the bandwidth for the same price, and THEIR $30 IP address is 5 addresses instead of 1. No IT firm in the area is deploying DSL anymore for their small business clients due to Fairpoint.

          The really sad part of this is that what is going on is EXACTLY what anyone with a clue said was going to happen. The decision makers in the PUC should all be fore for total incompetence.

          • by walt-sjc (145127)

            Ack - that should be FIRED for total incompetence...

            Sighs that there is no "edit" option on posts unlike most modern forum software.

        • by natehoy (1608657)

          Note: Said phone lines are run by Fairpoint. So even if you want dialup, you're stuck with Fairpoint....

    • by siloko (1133863)

      There's nothing good going on behind the scenes at fairpoint

      Nothing good?? Obviously at least one of them has been reading Enders Game . . .

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Whenever someone tells me I have to wait for things to go through, I ask to be transferred to the department of things going through. When the lie is discovered there and then, things change--"Oh, it's the XYZ department holding things up". Transfer me there. Eventually, you get somebody who can deal with the issue.

    • Let me tell you guys something, this is the tech's way of not dealing with you.

      I take it that you've never done tech support. I have. Most of the time, the "phone firewall" doesn't have direct access to the files that need changing to clear up issues like yours. The most they can generally do is put in a request to have somebody in the NOC make the needed changes. Depending on how busy people are, how hard working they are and the phase of the moon, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few da

      • I do tech support and I have access to the tools to fix most problems. In some cases though a caller is so rude and/or ignorant that you just have to give them the "phone firewall".
        • I do tech support and I have access to the tools to fix most problems.

          Unless you work for a small company, you are either very lucky or very senior. When I started work doing support for a small ISP, techs got access to as many tools as they could handle. By the time I left, almost eight years ago, the company was much bigger, much more regimented and techs were given as few tools as possible. Mind you, this wasn't the result of the managers growing pointy hair; it was simply because we needed so many

    • Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get on the phone with their billing department and figure out why my auto-pay billing keeps billing but never charges the card! I've got over $300 in late fees.. and I don't know why!

      you're a fool to use your billers autopayment system. sure it's all great when you get charged the correct amount.. then there's that one random $100 mistake that gets charged to your account. don't worry though, they'll refund it after 30 days. albeit at a profit for them of at least PRIME%

      you should always use your bank's billpay site where you can specify the amount. don't let their mistakes cost you money

      aEN

      • by theaveng (1243528)

        When companies steal from me, like making unauthorized $100 charges on my credit card, and I can't get them to remove the fraudulent charge, I simply steal the money back:

        - "Hello? VISA customer service. May I help you?"
        - "I ordered a new phone from Verizon, but I never received it." (I say while holding the phone in my hand)
        - "So you want to chargeback the $150?"
        - "Yes please"

        And then I enjoy my shiny new precious...er, phone. Or else sell it on ebay for fun and profit.

    • Re:Help! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:48PM (#29190549)
      As a Maine resident, I hear about Fairpoint quite a bit. Never in a good light.

      To put it in perspective, Fairpoint brings us such blunders as 911 outages [wmtw.com] and Horrible Customer Service [mainetoday.com] which has prompted Investigations [boston.com] by local governments.

      In short Fairpoint is horrendous!
    • by Reece400 (584378)
      That sounds exactly like Bell Canada, except that they seems to make loads of money doing it! They routinely promise to call me back and never do (they've never once called me back). Even when they say they've made changes they often haven't and even when they have they're often horribly wrong. Want a supervisor? They'll transfer you to a supervisor of a complety different department!
    • As another NH resident I've watch with a sick sort of fascination the train wreck that is Fairpoint. I recall when Verizon held those lines, and though their service was on the whole satisfactory I knew that advanced services (most notably Fios to compete with the local cable monopoly) was never going to arrive. Then came Fairpoint, and I read the writing on that wall from a mile away. Why would Verizon sell a profitable service region to Fairpoint? The answer is that they wouldn't, and whatever phone s
  • Very Easy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:40PM (#29189459) Homepage

    How easy is it to find auditors who can be fooled by such a simple trick?

    Very easy. While auditors tend to do a good job of detecting whether a report is realistic, their main objective is to get you to sign off saying, "This is what we do." Then, if you do not do that, you are personally liable.

    They aren't detectives (though they often do some of that as well), they are guarantors of accountability. Your-ass-uncoverers for the CYA generation, if you will.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tim4444 (1122173)
      Normally getting an auditor is a good CYA technique. However, deliberately misleading the auditor is essentially fraudulent misrepresentation. Even so, the auditor should actually perform an audit - not just sit back and sign off on a prepared demo. That's like a CPA just checking your totals without actually looking at your books.
      • Re:Very Easy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:10PM (#29189955)

        I work for an accounting firm that has a team of IT auditors who, between all of them, can barely spell "TCP/IP", let alone implement a proper network security test. They run various programs and review various policies and at the end of their testing the client is given a piece of paper, by people these with pieces of paper, given to them by other people with pieces of paper, that say they are secure and can go about their business so they can say their asses are covered for one more year.

        I shudder to think how it will affect my company, and ultimately me and my family, when one of these companies gets hacked and loses thousands of patients' information and financial records because they thought they were secure, based on what some company that they paid thousands of dollars to, told them.

        • by Trails (629752)

          Didn't an equivalent thing happen in the financial auditors world when it turned out WorldCom and a bunch of others were houses of cards? I'm pretty sure a bunch of "reputable" auditors basically ended up dead in the water.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Your obviously not an IT Auditor...

          I am.. unfortunately.. but hey, it pays the bills.. Well, I am an auditor when I am not doing security pen testing and network defense.. but thats besides the point.

          Audits are generally point in time, you certify (I would not call the people who audited fairpoint auditors, more like observers) that the system (the one you actually put your hands on, and validated the configurations and controls.. yes I know FISMA is a joke...) is in compliance with whatever criteria was u

      • Normally getting an auditor is a good CYA technique. However, deliberately misleading the auditor is essentially fraudulent misrepresentation. Even so, the auditor should actually perform an audit - not just sit back and sign off on a prepared demo. That's like a CPA just checking your totals without actually looking at your books.

        I agree in principle, but there's truth in the saying that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

        In this case, if they created a clone pi

        • by squallbsr (826163)
          They should have noticed that everything was going too smoothly, no problems on a telecommunications network during a "test switchover" should have been a major red flag in-and-of-itself.
      • by theaveng (1243528)

        >>>deliberately misleading the auditor is essentially fraudulent misrepresentation.

        This happens in the housing industry all the time. The salesman invites an inspector to verify the house is "safe" and meets legal requirements, but since the inspector's income relies on the salesman (and vice-versa), they often collude with one another such that even a flawed house will pass inspection.

        I wouldn't be surprised if some collusion happened between Fairport and the auditor as well.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Auditors are fine as long as you do what they expect. Any deviation from what they know causes them great pain. For example, I work with credit cards so I have to live with PCI auditors. You tell them that you are encrypting credit cards with AES-512. They read somewhere that AES-256 is recommended. They tell you so. But you tell them that AES-512 is 256 better. They tell you it isn't AES-256. And then they blink. They stare. They blink again. After I switched to AES-256 they were happy. Then next year when

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Shakrai (717556)

        What are you going to do when you get an auditor that asks you why you aren't using the Ovaltine decoder ring because that's what they read was recommended?

        • You use the Ovaltine decoder ring. If you're lucky, you can persuade management to use another auditor next year.

    • by Caue (909322)
      mod parent + please. Someone knows that auditing is not investigating or trying to find flaws in one's accountability.
  • First, if you don't know what a word means, please don't use it. Even if you think you know, it's most likely that you will use it wrongly.

    Second, so what does this mean for users?

    • It means there isn't the data throughput for the system you might expect. So over selling becomes a bigger issue, as does reliability

      It could be even worse, depending on why the faked the audit.

      I mean, i supposed they could have faked the audit becasue they are so awesome that they wanted to keep it a secret...but that's not a likely scenario.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:58PM (#29189731)

      First, if you don't know what a word means, please don't use it. Even if you think you know, it's most likely that you will use it wrongly.

      But that's the penultimate use for the word "assimilate" that I've ever heard!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Verizon's IT systems were so old that FairPoint chose to not buy them along with the network. FairPoint hired a French consulting firm to write new systems (Java-based) that would run on HP Unix servers using HP (Hitachi) SAN-based storage systems. They bought Verizon's old data center in Manchester, NH and for a time, the two companies were co-located in the same building.

      This lead to a certain amount of tension between Verizon employees who weren't part of the move to FairPoint and still worked in the
  • Ever heard about Darwin? Sad for the company though...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:41PM (#29189475)

    "they were really only seeing a small program that was created to assimilate what they wanted the systems to do"

    that statement makes little sense to me as it stands and i'm wondering if the person misspoke and meant to say "simulate". or am i missing something (perhaps someone would care to explain)?

    • by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:21PM (#29190131)
      Useful definitions:

      assimilate: To consume and incorporate (nutrients) into the body after digestion.

      simulate: ... 2. To make a pretense of; feign: simulate interest.

      kdawson: illiterate who pretends to be an editor.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        to be fair it was a direct quote. there are plenty of things to complain about on slashdot, this is not one of them.

        • by 1u3hr (530656)
          to be fair it was a direct quote....

          As an editor myself, one of the editor's jobs is to fix errors made by writers BEFORE PUBLISHING THEM.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, assimilate may also be used in the sense of "to make similar" or "to cause to resemble"

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assimilate
      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/assimilate

      Nothing too sea hear. Move along.

    • ...is another shining example of the quality work produced by the American education system.

  • Obligatory (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by rehtonAesoohC (954490)
    Moar liek FailPort amirite?!?!
  • by Spiked_Three (626260) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:47PM (#29189569)
    sigh, embarrassed to admit, but was forced by employer to do the same thing at the FAA once. Talk about a scary thought.
    • Dude, if you're going to blow the whistle, then for fuck's sake BLOW THE WHISTLE IN A WAY THAT WILL MEANINGFULLY HELP THE SITUATION.

      If this is at all true, go to the media. Now.

    • sigh, embarrassed to admit, but was forced by employer to do the same thing at the FAA once. Talk about a scary thought.

      I've had to quit two jobs due to similar 'requests'. I started my own company to get off that treadmill.

  • by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:50PM (#29189611)
    For several years, Enron fooled investors, market watchers, government, and even its employees, with shady accounting practices that were "audited." As it turned out, the auditing firm, Arthur Anderson, was part of the fraud.

    It wouldn't surprise me that the same thing happens in IT auditing.
    • by jschen (1249578)
      For what it's worth, Arthur Andersen's conviction was overturned by a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court. Practially, it probably won't matter for Andersen since the company's reputation likely is irreparable. But it has gone out of its way to clear its name.
    • by Caue (909322)
      systems auditing is VERY different from accountability auditing. An auditor is not, and I repeat: NOT, a detective. It's not their job to find out what you are doing wrong. Auditing is more about hearing you and then communicating to the parties interested. You can't invite all your investors to look upon every single aspect of your company, that's why there is an auditor. from the latin : TO HEAR. wheter is shady accounting or not, it's up to the AV officers to determine, through inspection of the books an
  • by ranson (824789) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:54PM (#29189667) Homepage Journal
    Check the article title.
  • by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:00PM (#29189757)
    Next week we'll learn that Fairpoint is being approved for a government bailout Stimulus Package.
    • by jpyeck (1368075)
      Wouldn't that be the "Assimilus" Package in this case?
    • by p1esk (1622615)
      That's the plan. It's called Broadband Stimulus Package, and Fairpoint has (or at least had) very good chances of getting a piece of it.
  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:01PM (#29189775)

    ...that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo."

    • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:43PM (#29190457)
      True Story:
      Canadian governent contractor was demoing the system. Part of the system to be used once the data was entered into the system was the report generation. This was demoed with some sample data The customer signed off and the contractor was payed.
      Then about 6 months later they were trying to get the reports to be printed out but not matter what they did the reports all came out the same the dates were 6 months off. Thats right all the reports were hard coded and did not even touch the database.
  • FailPoint is Fail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Publikwerks (885730) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:06PM (#29189867)
    I used to have to work with both FairPoint and Verizon with my IT duties( I had to manage mutiple t-1). It was very nice working with Verizon. I would connect to the Verizon PCC in Boston, and they didn't mess around. Even when I would call at 3 am, they had people on it. Usually tookem them less than an hour to fix ANYTHING. FailPoint, I would leave a message with FairPoint's voicemail. They usually would get someone on it withion 24 hours. Usually.
  • by nate_in_ME (1281156) <me@YEATSnatesmith.me minus poet> on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:11PM (#29189959)

    I got burned bad by this myself. In the interest of not having to retype a LOT, here's the complaint I sent to Maine's PUC, which got forwarded to someone high up at Fairpoint:

    We initially contacted Fairpoint to establish DSL service near the end of January, 2009. We were informed that because of the computer system changeover, that someone would be contacting me in early February to complete our order and give us our install date, which was predicted to be roughly mid-February. After not hearing from a Fairpoint representative by mid-February, I called to follow up, and after several phone calls where I was basically told "we're still transitioning, and can't get to your order," our original order was found, and we were given an install date of March 3. On March 2, having not yet received the equipment for our DSL service, I called again, and after being on hold for roughly 5-10 min while the customer service rep was "checking on our order," I was told that we were still scheduled to have service turned on for March 3, and our equipment would most likely be recieved that same day.

    After not receiving anything on March 3, I called Fairpoint again that afternoon. At that point, I was told that the computer was showing that the order was never completed because it was showing that service was not available. At this point, the rep offered to have a technician come out and check our area to see if this was actually the case. I was told that we would be called with the results of this check, and to expect a 7-10 day wait before hearing back. We were never called back with the results of this check.
    In mid-March, I called to follow up on the supposed check that was done. They were not able to find our previous order anywhere in the computer system. After repeatedly being put on hold so they could try and find the previous order, eventually a new order was placed. At this point, we decided to sign up for both telephone and DSL service, as we were offered a bundle package at that time. This order was given the order number mentioned above, with the phone service date of April 2, and DSL service as of April 6.

    As we had to go and purchase a phone, we were not able to test the telephone service until April 3. When the service was tested, it was not yet working. I placed another call to Fairpoint, where I was told that there was still an account from a previous tenant at our address in the system when our order was placed, and this placed a hold on our order. Note that we had lived at the service address since late January of '09, and in none of my previous calls had I been told about any existing account at this address. This hold was supposedly cleared, and they said that the phone should be working within a few days, and the DSL a few days after that.

    A week later, we still had no service of any sort. I placed yet another call to Fairpoint, and was told this time that there were multiple orders in our name for our address, including one for another telephone number, but all of our information. I was also told that there was showing a problem with the third-party verification that Fairpoint uses, and this is now why our order was on hold. This issue was supposedly cleared, and again I was told to give the phone a few days, and to watch for the DSL equipment to arrive.

    On April 17, we still had no service. I called Fairpoint yet again, and was again told that the previous account that was at our address was the source of the problem. After being put on hold for at least 10 minutes while the rep called to another department to try and get things worked out, I was told that everything was taken care of, and I should have a working phone by Monday or Tuesday of this week, and the DSL service would take a few days longer.

    As of today, the "Tuesday of Next week" mentioned above, we still have no service. Multiple calls to the "Installation Service" telephone number since 8am today of 866-980-0642 that the last Fairpoint rep I spoke to provided me with only get me a recor

    • That sounds like the average experience with fairpoint. nobody has ever had a good deal with them.
      • Unfortunately, I didn't have much of a choice at the time, as I needed internet and couldn't get Time Warner to come in because I had to catch up an old bill with them first. However, I should finally be able to pay off TW in the next few weeks, and will be looking to switch at that point. It will be the lesser of two evils I think...
    • I'm impressed with your patience and fortitude; Personally, if any other option existed, I would have told them to go to hell when they never called me back in early february. Even if their network was smoke and mirrors, I'm amazed that people actually gave them money.
    • Hell, dude, I probably would have walked away after the first estimate of over two weeks just to get a callback and start the process. And I definitely would have moved on after they missed that first date. You were ordering DSL service, not some high-end business product that's going to require digging trenches to lay new cable. That's crazy.

  • by woodchip (611770) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:11PM (#29189967)
    Everybody around here hates Fair Point. Thank God for reliable, fast, and consistent Comcast. Sadly, I don't think I am being sarcastic.
    • by kaszeta (322161)
      That's been my experience as well. Fairpoint has, sadly, shown me how good Comcast is.

      My latest FP problem? My service goes out completely every time it rains. They insist it must be my internal wiring, even if I'm hooking up directly to the NID, so the problem is on their side of the demarc. But since my NID is inside, I have to agree to pay $65 for them to come out, and then if and when they come out, if it's not raining, there's no problem, and they refuse to troubleshoot.

      Add to that the bizarr
  • All they did was trick themselves into consumer hate and bankruptcy.

    Dolts die and FairPort is a dolt.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    My favorite was the time we had a VP coming from HQ to see what he was spending all this money on - a very early voice over IP softphone system for call centers.

    We absolutely had nothing at that point except for design documentation (very much a 'waterfall' process type company.)

    So the guys walks in, and we point him to two workstations, one manned by a team member, and both with headsets already layed out. He walks over to the workstation, puts on the headset, and starts talking to our guy.

    "The voice

  • I read that as "Failpoint accused of faking..." Though, given the details, I guess that would have been a pretty accurate headline too.
  • 1. Fake Auditing Tests 2. Assimilate 3. ???? 4. Profit
    • by natehoy (1608657)

      3 = Get selves into serious trouble for Gubbmint Bailout.

      FairPoint wasn't ready. This was painfully obvious to everyone outside government circles. However, telephony is a vital infrastructure, especially in rural areas where cell just doesn't work, and FairPoint knows it. Verizon knew it, too, but they had other profitable divisions that prevented them from simply shutting down New England and cutting their losses.

      New England is too rural for the landlines to be truly profitable at anything resembling

  • by PingXao (153057) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:24PM (#29190181)

    Here's what it says,

    they were really only seeing a small program that was created to assimilate what they wanted the systems to do.

    So it seems that the whistleblower is Borg. The only thing missing is the part about resistance being futile. Which it seems to be when you're dealing with Verizon, so maybe that part's implied.

  • 1. According to the whistleblower article, the last names of the president and CEO of FairPoint is "Nixon" and "Johnson", where Nixon is the president of the company. Johnson was CEO before Hauser took over in June. Well there's your problem, the company's run by President Nixon!

    2. The new CEO, Hauser responded concerning the fraud allegations, "We take these allegations seriously and will do a thorough investigation". To paraphrase: "We know we're busted, and we intend to do a very thorough cover-up consid

  • It would be unbelieveably easy to fool an auditor in out S-Ox Audits. Heck, we could fool anyone brought in to audit the auditors if we liked. They dont have the time or technicalknowledge to understand the systems they are auditing. They ask for information which is pointless and easily faked ('can we have a screen shot of you AD domain security policies') and frankly they just dont care. These guys make the TSa look like experts. This is my primary issue with S-Ox as a regulation. It doesnt work. Its sec
    • by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @03:48PM (#29192397) Journal

      I think you're misunderstanding the whole point of Sarbanes-Oxley.

      A SOX auditor doesn't investigate the systems in detail. They are documentors, and usually are hired by the people who are being audited. This isn't like an IRS audit where it's a confrontational thing, it's more of a "discover and document", and it's supposed to be a partnership between the auditor and the company being audited.

      The auditing company doesn't know your practices, but they have a list of acceptable (or "best" if you prefer) practices. They come in and ask you how you do things, and if your practices are not acceptable, they are supposed to give you a list of them so you can work on them for the next round of auditing.

      Lying to a SOX auditor serves no useful purpose, because the auditor is not there to penalize you for bad practices, they are there to help you avoid them. At the end, they gather information about how the company works from company employees WHO THEN SIGN THEIR NAMES to the audit, along with a list of gaps the company has promised to work on for the next audit.

      If/when the company practices are found to deviate from what the company officers claimed, those officers can then be held personally liable for those inconsistencies. So if you lie to a SOX auditor, you can lose your house if your name is on the report and someone can prove that you lied later on.

      EXAMPLE:

      You hire a SOX auditor who looks into your company's practices on passwords. The auditor asks "Do you require complex passwords that must be changed at least quarterly?" And you don't. You can answer:
      YES: At which point the auditor checks off the little ticky box and you sign your name to that document. Auditor leaves happy.
      NO: At which point the auditor tells you that you need them, and the two of you set a date for a re-evaluation of that point, and you sign your name to that document.

      A month later, your company is hacked due to a weak or fixed password.

      If you answered "YES", then it will be quickly discovered that you lied in your SOX audit, and you will be held personally and possibly criminally liable for your answer. In other words, your house and fancy car go away, and you and Bubba get to know each other really well. And Bubba loves corporate criminals because they don't fight as much.

      If you answered "NO", then it will be quickly discovered that you documented this weakness and were working toward fixing it. Depending on the amount of press, you might still get scapegoated and thrown out on the street, but you have a document on file saying you told the truth about the problem, so unless you go in for a conjugal visit you and Bubba will never meet.

  • This is the first time Fairpoint has shown any competence in anything since they took over!!!!!!
    • by natehoy (1608657)

      They showed an incredible amount of competence in pulling the wool over the collective eyes in Augusta, Concord, and Montpelier.

  • In this region Fairpoint is often the only choice for highspeed internet. If there is another option, it's Comcast who was forging rst packets, and blocking connections willy nilly. I was unable to use a VPN to my office, because Comcast deemed it bad traffic. Beyond that, if you try to use your 800 Billion free hours of AOL or other dialup, often times the phone lines are original copper from the early 1900s and won't even support 56k dialup.
  • Surprise? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @02:27PM (#29191077) Journal

    I remember when FairPoint was trying to take over, the local NPR station in Maine was coming out with an almost-daily feature on specific points of the FairPoint readiness plan. Some of them would have gotten me caught under the new Maine distracted driving law because they were so ridiculous I (as a non-FairPoint customer) was laughing so hard I almost drove off the interstate.

    My favorite was the costs assumption. FairPoint, in their infinite wisdumb, decided that the cost of gasoline would remain fixed at $2 or less for a period of no less than seven years. Gas was about $2 at the time the report was written and was documented as such, and $3 when the report was evaluated by the various state legislatures. A few legislators even mentioned that point specifically after the NPR story on it broke. Then, suddenly, it was a non-issue even though the report never changed.

    But there were LOTS of things like this. Assumptions that labor costs wouldn't change, assumptions that their customer base would increase by some incredible percentage while support costs would remain fixed or drop, assumptions on the cost of running new cable and upgrading Internet infrastructure that were apparently based on most of the work being done by elves while the workers slept and service being provided by the magical Internet Faeries instead of actual bandwidth from Level3.

    FairPoint made up numbers for the auditors, that much is true. But most of their fabrications were obvious enough to be on the daily news. Obviously, the legislatures of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont don't listen to NPR. Or FairPoint and Verizon executives could afford enough bribe money or had the incriminating photos. You choose.

    We got what we (or FairPoint) paid for.

    STILL glad I'm a Vonage customer.

  • FairPoint is a turd. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by revxul (463513)

    Over the source of this summer, two Vermont areas have lost 911 service overnight with FairPoint having a lax attitude about fixing it. The first was an unspecified technical error limiting the Grand Isle region to calling out to one exchange, effectively nixing 911. The second incident involved a line breaking, cutting service to the town of Fair Haven completely. Despite many calls, FairPoint said it could wait until morning.

    On top of this is an abundance of service outages and billing errors which, despi

  • Yeah, Vermonter here. I dropped Failpoint and went with Comcast for internet AND phone, when Failpoint refused to recognize the existence of my new apartment despite already providing service to the only other unit. The chronicles of my hellish move that cost me an extra month's rent thanks to Failpoint can be found here. [giantpachi...ofdoom.com]

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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