I beseech you all... Fellow Cookie Addicts... do not click at work.
July 9, 2014 9:08 PM   Subscribe

"I discovered Cookie Monster and the Cheat interface bookmarklets. What harm could it do? They're just local bits of java. No harm, no foul. So I got greedy... I couldn't have enough cookies. Let the cookies run, I thought. Nobody uses my desk when I'm not here..." From Reddit user LivingDeadSquirrel.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (50 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

holy shit could i write a screen length wall of text rant about people being thrown under the bus because bosses don't understand technology, and have to pin the blame on someone.

Everything from dvd-based corporate music systems that are designed to wipe their firmware if someone puts in an unauthorized disk(and therefor incur a thousand plus dollar "repair" fee) so that anyone who tries that gets fired, to stuff more like this story.

Yea he shouldn't have been playing games at work, but this is still reaaaaally dumb. This is total "well it had to be somebodies fault" kind of shit. I'd bet tenbux it was some malware on one of the bosses computers they insisted on having admin access on...
posted by emptythought at 9:14 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]

I wouldn't be entirely surprised if there are incremental games that somehow surreptitiously exploit their way into using your machine to mine bitcoins or something, but if that brings down the entire network then their IT dept. has as much to answer for as LDS does.
posted by juv3nal at 9:15 PM on July 9

posted by um at 9:30 PM on July 9 [22 favorites]

"code running on top of it" that "appeared to be suspiciously collecting and submitting data".

Considering that the "data" was most likely simple mouse clicks, that's almost like Fight Club levels of incident generation.

Anyway, maybe dude has an case to sue for compensation if a good lawyer can make the company prove that his clicker code actually brought down the network, but I may be deluding myself in thinking that courts could have any deep understanding of the issue anyway.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 9:30 PM on July 9

Mining bitcoins in Javascript using a bookmarklet designed to let people cheat at Cookie Clicker probably wouldn't net enough bitcoins to run a load of laundry... It's just not a plausible exploit, given that the payoff is ridiculously minimal (if you can get it to work at all, which is also questionable at best).

This is a failure of IT, for accusing a browser-based application of bringing down their network, and for building a network where such a failure mode could be plausible. It's a failure of management for instituting a stupid and dehumanizing policy in a workplace where employees experience periodic downtime as a necessary consequence of the industry that they work in. It's a failure of HR for allowing somebody to be fired under such speicous grounds (because, holy shit, I'd be in court if I were this guy right now).

BTW, how the hell did IT detect "unknown Javascript"? I write Javascript for a living, and this part of the story stinks to high heaven....
posted by schmod at 9:31 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]

I was addicted to Cookie Clicker for a few weeks about a month or so ago, long after the "craze" of its initial release had passed. Eventually wrote my own automator to help me get over it. Programmed it in PHP using my custom framework, outputs documented Javascript code customized to (very general) user specifications.
posted by The Confessor at 9:32 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]

A bookmarklet has the same level of access as the website that is running on, which is to say, not a heck of a lot. Anyone could have left any website open and caused whatever imaginary effect that was supposed to be going on here.

So, is cookie clicker just a game where you click on a picture of a cookie? Did I just click on a picture of a cookie 500 times to unlock an achievement?
posted by Skwirl at 9:36 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]

Me and my 5.27 million Heavenly Chips are suddenly very interested.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:38 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

>I'd be in court if I were this guy right now.

24 states are "right to work" states. IANAL, but my understanding is what that really means is "the business has a right to throw you out on your butt if they don't like the cut of your jacket." So long as it's not provable that they fired you for a reason that is covered by anti-discrimination laws, there's not a lot to be done. This is, of course, a BS way to run a country but it is what we've got in most places.

Squirrel dude should file for unemployment anyway. Sometimes it's not contested by the employer.
posted by Skwirl at 9:42 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]

So, is cookie clicker just a game where you click on a picture of a cookie? Did I just click on a picture of a cookie 500 times to unlock an achievement?

Please, stop while you still can...
posted by zsazsa at 9:43 PM on July 9 [16 favorites]

I once crashed the entire email system of a large federal agency because i decided it would be a good idea to send 600 meg pirated movie through lotus notes to another guy in the office.

I did not get fired. I did not get fired even after IT security came to me several months later with a print out of firewall logs showing several dozen open connections to computers in foreign countries because I was running audiogalaxy. In fact, they put me in charge of tracking down all the people there that were running it (there were dozens of people running that and Napster) and uninstalling it, because they didn't feel like figuring out how to do it, and nobody else in the IT department knew what it was.

I also, later, while on virus-cleanup detail (I was the only person who knew how to remove windows viruses reliably, for some reason), found multiple people who were gambling and/or looking at porn on government computers, and none of them got fired, either.

In conclusion, it's really hard to get fired from a government job.
posted by empath at 9:43 PM on July 9 [33 favorites]

Lucky that this 2012 ruling was less crazy than other recent ones or she might have found herself being prosecuted as a "hacker" or something under the CFAA.
posted by XMLicious at 9:46 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

Working at a state-run Uni and the IT Manager comes in one day: "hey I caught one of the TAs in the writing lab looking at some pretty crazy porn"

"Did any students see it?"

"No, it was on the computer behind the check-in desk"

"Meh, free speech/research/carry on"


"Mr. Creature, the infosec team found a bunch of cracking and network penetration tools installed on your work machine. Are you trying to hack us"

"Actually no I was studying up so I could apply to join the infosec team...and I got the tools on THEIR unencrypted corporate share drive"

"Oh yeah lol carry on then"


"hey drones Dear employees we have noticed a lot of YouTube bandwidth during business hours kindly stop youtubing or be fired"

*everyone switches to vimeo*

"Thanks everyone for being more productive!"

posted by Doleful Creature at 10:28 PM on July 9 [37 favorites]

500 times

*hollow laugh*

(198 prisms, but getting those last 2 for the Centennial achievement is going to take another week I think.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:32 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]

In contrast today I was informed by my boss that active participation in Clash of Clans is a "performance metric" for the team
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:34 PM on July 9 [9 favorites]

also, fuck me, cookie clicker has been updated a lot since i last played...
posted by empath at 10:44 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

(I'm currently working on Dr. T... it's gonna take a while.)
posted by kmz at 10:54 PM on July 9

So this game is basically exactly the same as cow clicker, then?
posted by koeselitz at 10:55 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

sure, in the sense that cookies are basically the same as cows
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 11:11 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]

Man, cookie autoclickers are a mug's game. Past this into your console:

Game.Upgrades["Perfect idling"].earn()

Now, when you close the Cookie Clicker tab and come back to the site later, you'll be credited for all the cookies you would have baked if you'd had it running that whole time. Yeah, you won't have the cookies you would have earned if you had an auto-clicker running, but you also won't have had your computer on 24/7 burning up power to click on cookies.
posted by egypturnash at 11:21 PM on July 9

dammit i hadn't played in MONTHS before seeing this post and now i'm playing again

i hate you
posted by Jacqueline at 11:57 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

Is this a joke where you guys are pretending there is a game called Cookie Clicker and making up the rules? Because it doesn't sound like a joke but I don't want to live in a world where this is a thing.
posted by Justinian at 11:58 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]

Justinian: You don't want to know. Exit the thread and never look back. It's too late for us -- SAVE YOURSELF!
posted by Jacqueline at 12:02 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

Wow, if you like Cookie Clicker, I found this great game on Facebook about cows. All you have to do is keep clicking until something happens!
posted by happyroach at 12:33 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

The whole point of Cookie Clicker, paradoxically, is to stop needing to click and let the fact that you have bought things make your cookies for you. It's a searing indictment of the lazy parasite capital ownership class.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:34 AM on July 10 [19 favorites]

But you get more achievements if you keep manually clicking.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:39 AM on July 10

I don't believe this story. And not just because it's on reddit. From stories I've heard sys admins tell about random employees downloading MASSIVE amounts of pirated movies/music from their desks to watching porn at work to everything else, management may be clueless but usually they don't bother to fire people for stuff like this, precisely because they don't want the story to get out that their system was brought down by a browser extension. Nope.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:37 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]

So what is so addictive about this game? I'm still puzzled.
posted by Omnomnom at 5:09 AM on July 10

Your numbers go up. Then you click things and your numbers go up faster.
posted by frimble at 6:26 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

Then you use some of the numbers to notionally purchase things that make some more numbers.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:29 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

I just...clicked on it 16 times and gave up. Surely picking ones nose feels more rewarding than this!
posted by Omnomnom at 6:41 AM on July 10

Ah, but with 15 clicks you could already have purchased a cursor, which would then have done the clicking for you, once per ten seconds.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:50 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]

Surely picking ones nose feels more rewarding than this!

If you're even slightly ambidextrous then surely you can do both at the same time, no?
posted by Jacqueline at 6:55 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

dammit i hadn't played in MONTHS before seeing this post and now i'm playing again

It's like The Game inverted.

posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:00 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]

Omnomnom: "So what is so addictive about this game? I'm still puzzled."

It's like the "resource gathering and building" part of a strategy game, without any of the other parts added on top.
posted by schmod at 7:17 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

Nine months or so in, it's mostly about the absurdity of still continuing to play plus a degree of satisfying long-term balance of reset effort vs. acceleration curve management.
posted by cortex at 8:01 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

It's a searing indictment of the lazy parasite capital ownership class.

Yikes, you just almost (almost, thankfully!) inspired me into look for the save code from a month or two ago when I managed to tear myself away from the abomination. Shudder; close call.
posted by aught at 8:19 AM on July 10

"Cookies are a sometimes food."
- C. Monster
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:11 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

"Thanks" for posting this. I'd never heard of Cookie Clicker before, and here I am 7 hours later going on 3 billion baked cookies.
posted by brokkr at 12:00 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]

So the fact that this is a dumb browser game makes all the difference in this story. But man, the world of cheats and game hacks is full of some seriously shady shit. From outright keyloggers stealing passwords to random viruses to links to with sleazy drive-by downloads, it's all just a cesspool of villainy. It seems particularly bad in the Minecraft community, where mixing young kids with the desire for interesting mods and silly cheats leads to a total catastrophe of downloaded malware.
posted by Nelson at 12:02 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

Now I'm curious whether they found the actual problem or just said "Cookie Clicker" and called it a day.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:05 PM on July 10

This morning, I discovered that I had left my BitTorrent download of [redacted but not porn] running from last night and had been seeding it from work for three hours at about 35 Mbit/s. After I told them about it, my boss laughed about it. Our system admin thanked me for uncovering a defect in our network security. He also mentioned something about please never doing that again.

Then we all went to lunch. I did not get fired and I don't expect to.
posted by double block and bleed at 12:53 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]

My supervisor had a chat with the General Manager, and it was decided that I was to receive a formal write-up for playing games at work, but that I wasn't going to lose my job. "Great" I thought... I was going to be ok, they listened to reason and realized this was a bigger problem than Cookies...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:07 PM on July 10

I got a stern warning about this blue site I was always on, since they were afraid I was freelancing during office hours. Which is why I use a professional white background.
posted by klangklangston at 1:19 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]

Dammit, I had closed that tab and DELETED MY COOKIE months ago!

No, the irony is not lost on me.

I had thousands of heavenly chips, too. Starting over is hard! At least I have my 21 CivClicker wonders and 129 cats to comfort me...

posted by booksherpa at 9:25 PM on July 10

Speaking as someone currently jonesing for 2048, I'm just going to pretend this thread never happened.
posted by Kimberly at 4:41 AM on July 11

There I was, reading this thread with a smug, self-satisfied smirk, thinking "what weak fools be here." Having tried the cookie one a while back, and finding nothing fun or addictive, I found the dire warnings to leave before its too late quite amusing.

Then in my misguided hubris, I clicked on the one based on Breaking Bad. That sounds fun!

Three days later, I'm only now regaining my productivity. I guess cookies have no power over me, but cooking meth, now that's a whole other thing.
posted by MiddleSea at 3:23 PM on July 11

Kimberly: "Speaking as someone currently jonesing for 2048, I'm just going to pretend this thread never happened."

**sticks fingers in ears**

La, la, la I can't hear you. I'm not going back to 2048. It seemed like harmless fun at first. Isn't that how it starts for everyone? Little did I know. Soon I was staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning, even on work days. Ignoring my wife and kids. I actually beat the game several times, but that didn't matter. Once you get to 2048, it mocks and goads you into to trying for 4096, which I now believe is mathematically impossible. I finally had to admit that I Had A Problem.

So I joined 2048 Anonymous. It was hard but I've been clean for over a month now. I've started a new life. I was one of the lucky ones. I still have my job and my family. I'm not huddling under an expressway bridge gibbering to myself as I move tiles around.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:49 PM on July 11

I got to 4096 pretty quickly, and regularly "win" 2048 (about 50/50 win rate). I'm told there's a 8192 tile as well ...
posted by brokkr at 4:06 PM on July 11

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