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How To Do Office Work

Before you get to the target office, agree on the aim. Is it to simply make your presence felt, to gather information or designed for maximum disruption? Everyone should agree on what to do inside and how long to stay for - and stick to it.

Reconnaissance is important. Look for ways in, such as open ground floor windows, fire escapes, and side doors, and ensure everyone knows the basic layout.

The best way in is usually the front door! Anyone who doesn't want to go in could picket the entrance, and leaflet cars in the workers' car park. Make a simple plan to get in. Entrances often have security locks, swipe-card readers, or intercoms. One smartly dressed person going in and opening doors and windows for everyone else often works. It helps if this person has an excuse such as courier delivery, an employment inquiry or a pre-booked appointment with a named worker. This person must be prepared to react quickly and sometimes decisively, for example, to push past employees to get doors open when the rabble arrive. If the only door is a revolving one then windows will be a better bet. Alternatively, you can sneak in behind employees going in, or catch the door as one leaves. Ensure that you aren't spotted beforehand.


Once in, the fun starts! You might all look for specific offices or scatter through the building to cause chaos, but stay in pairs at least, as office workers can defend their space assertively. In the past it has often worked for groups to barricade themselves into unoccupied offices thus ensuring an uninterrupted search/reorganisation. In open plan offices, or when barricading options are limited, there is a tendency for activists to drift to one place after the initial rush. Try to avoid this as it makes it easier for staff/police to contain you and get you out. Keep it calm and non-confrontational, especially as most workers you come across will not be the decision makers; seek out the bosses! Reassure workers who seem frightened by our invasion that you intend no violence, and distribute leaflets explaining your case to them.

If your goal is disruption, rearrange paper and cabinets, lock doors and hide keys, unplug, barricade yourself into empty offices, play with computers (see facing page). Keep it tidy, and they might not discover what you've been up to until later; obvious criminal damage or theft on these type of actions may lead to everyone being arrested especially if you are few in number. That said, some occupations have involved smashing up as much as possible.

If your goal is info-gathering, get in and out quickly, there is nothing to be gained and a lot to be lost by hanging around because a 30 minute action seems too short. Rummage through filing cabinets, go through desk diaries, look at notice boards, search through computers and photograph or photocopy anything interesting. Alternatively, you could fax documents to someone on the outside, who should be briefed to keep their fax line free. You may want to borrow some documents or computer disks to study at your leisure. Chuck them out of a window to waiting colleagues who can spirit them away immediately. Don't hang around waiting to be arrested. Leave a pre-printed disclaimer in their place, stating that anything removed will be returned undamaged within 24 hours. This gives time to read files and copy useful stuff you can return the files either to the office doorstep in the middle of the night, or (anonymously) to a police station lost property office in a different town. It is essential to return everything if any one does get nicked for theft; although the disclaimer has no actual legal weight, charges should be dropped if files are returned as promised.


Everyone should leave together, and make sure no-one is left inside. Be aware that police often search everyone before they leave the office, especially if anything appears to have been removed or damaged.

Office occupations generally don't lead to arrest. However, there is the possibility of arrest, most likely for breach of the peace, burglary or section 241 of the Trade Unions Act 1994. Burglary is often used as an excuse to arrest. Don't openly eat food or use electrical equipment or they may indiscriminately make arrests.

Most arrests will not lead to a court case. People have sometimes gone in with a list of demands such as a meeting senior management. These demands are generally not worth winning and negotiation for them may make a court conviction more likely. This happened to the 20 'Opencast Defendants' in 1998, when it was taken as evidence of coercion, to secure a conviction for section 241. This case was exceptional however as 350 000 worth of damage had been done to a nearby mine earlier in the day.

While some of your mates are going through the desk diary, the filing cabinets and the drawers it may be worth you taking a look at the beige box with a telly on it in the corner of the desk.


Before you decide what best action to take you have to have a browse around the PC. If the computer is off switch it on. The computer may appear to end its starting procedure with a logon box. Many systems save the last username to be used in this box, write this name down because if the user has e-mail it can probably be worked out using this (alternatively find the person's calling card). E-mail addresses are handy to have as viruses and hacking tools can be sent to the unwitting user at a later date. You may try a couple of passwords (look for obscure things written on post-it notes). This probably won't work and after a few tries it will tell you that you are locked out of the network. Just accept this and click cancel until the computer seems to be running.

If the computer is already on then open the windows explorer and check out how many drives there are. If there are more than 4 drives then you are probably already attached to the network. The following assumes that Windows 95 or 98 is installed but probably applies to Windows NT too.

RE-FORMATTING: This is quite un-subtle and may cause the least damage of all. In any fair sized company most data will be either stored on a file server or backed up nightly. Having said that most users are crap at doing this (especially those at the top of organisations). If there appears to be no network attachment then this may well be your best option. To format the disk select Start menu

- shutdown - restart computer in MS-DOS mode. When you get the C:\> Prompt type format C: /u

Repartitioning. If you're going to re-format a disk then you may as well repartition it. Repartitioning a drive just makes it a bit harder recover any data than a simple format. Get to C:\> prompt. Stick a floppy disk in and type a: then type copy c:\windows\command\fdisk.* a: - if no file is found then type copy c:\dos\fdisk.* a: . Then format as above. Reboot the PC with floppy disk in the machine. Type fdisk, delete all partitions, reboot again, type fdisk and create 2 or 3 new partitions.


DELETE FILES: Deleting files on the hard drive in the machine is pretty simple. Highlight the files you want to delete. Select lots by holding the shift or control key down as you click (experiment with this). Before you press the delete key hold down the shift key. Do not release the shift key - until the confirm file delete box comes up. If you don't hold shift down the files will only go to the recycle bin. After deleting you may as well empty the recycle bin (click on the recycle and choose empty recycle bin from the menu). To make absolutely sure that the data cannot be recovered install the Disk cleanup ( and totally wipe the free space. This is a really small utility that will easily fit on a floppy disk. Using this utility will make it almost impossible to restore data and is much more effective than simply reformatting a disk. Deleting files from a network drive is pretty similar. Once you've deleted something go to menu - Run, type command, then change to the drive that you have deleted from by typing the drive letter followed by a colon (e.g. u:) then cd/ and then type purge * /a: on most networks this will ensure that files are completely deleted.

CHANGING FILES: This is pretty obvious really: rather than deleting files that will probably be restored from backup, try changing files instead. The best thing to do is probably to do search for spreadsheet files (*.xls or *.wk*). Find them using the Start menu-Find, stick *.xls, *.wk* in the 'Named' box. Then sort them by modified date by clicking on the modified label, double click on the most recently modified file or one that looks like it contains important financial information (big files are best). Then simply change the odd number here and there. It may be a long time before they realise the error, and it will mean that they have to do a lot of checking through out that file to look for other errors. They probably won't be able to restore from back-up as they may not know when the change occurred (it may not be discovered for months) and even if they know when the changes were made other parts of the spreadsheet may have been updated since then making a restore from backup impractical.


INSERTING A VIRUS: Before inserting a virus take a look at the properties of any running virus detection program. Next to the clock on the bottom right of the screen there will probably be small icon indicating that an anti-virus programme is running. Double click on it and take a look at the properties. What you have to try and to stop the anti-virus program from scanning files but not stop it running. Uncheck any boxes like scan files on Run, copy etc. You may be able to stop it from scanning (exclude) whole drives. Any viruses that you have brought in will probably be detected so you want to stop the computer from scanning for files but give the impression that it is still running. If you can't do this then you have to disable the virus protection. This will probably be discovered earlier.

MACRO VIRUSES: If your virus is a Word virus then before you insert it you must disable Word's own virus protection. Open Word, open Tools - options and click on the General tab. Uncheck the macro virus protection box (do the same in Excel if your virus is in an .xls file). Now try inserting your virus by either running the program or opening the document. If the virus proctection on the machine finds it and you have the option to exclude this virus from the virus list then do so. If not then you will have to disable the anti-virus program. First simply close down the icon near the clock in the bottom right of the screen. Next open Windows Explorer and check out what is in C:\windows\start menu\program startup. If there is an icon there that looks like it is an anti-virus program delete it. Next go to Start menu - Run. Type sysedit. Look at the win.ini file (within the sysedit box), right near the top of this file there should be two lines that start Load= & Run=, delete anything that looks like it is anti-virus related on these lines. Next look at the autoexec.bat file (again in the sysedit box) and again delete anything that looks virus related. Now close the sysedit window. Viruses are available for download (zipped up) from (do a web search for others Hacking Tools - for the more computer literate occupier Back Orifice is a tool that can be downloaded from or This program will give you remote control of the computer if it is attached to the internet. You will be able to change, read and delete files remotely and even randomly make their computer play .wav files or shut down from the comfort of your local internet cafe. Back Orifice is detected by most anti-virus programs so the host computer must be prepared following the instructions above and the IP address must be noted.

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