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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Episode 30 BOFH 2000: Episode 30

So I'm working hard after a quiet several pints at lunchtime when the phone rings. Feeling magnanimous - and wanting the phone to stop ringing so I can get back to sleep - I pick up the receiver..

"Hello, is this the Systems guys?"

"It certainly is!" I cry, full of the joyful spirit that denotes a post-lunch computing professional.

"Um, OK, I'm configuring my new PC and it says I should write some stuff down on the configuration card at the back of the book for my own records."

"You're WHAT?"

"Configuring my new PC. My old one was really slow so The Boss said I could use the one he was using at home if I reinstall it from scratch."

"Ahh - you shouldn't be doing that, a home machine might be virally infected."

"No no, it's fine I ran a virus scan across it just this morning."

"Which scan software did you use?"

"I'm not sure, but it's one that I found on a Bulletin Board last year."

"I see. Okay then, that's probably OK - which machines were you going to access with it?"

"Just some of the desktops in my department - do you think that would be OK?"

"Hmm. Do you have write access to their Shares?"

"Yes.."

"Ah well that's fine then - shouldn't be a problem at all. Now, what" 'stuff' do you need to know?"

"It says I need to write down a MAC address?"

"Hmmm. We usually use the nearest one, which is just around the corner. I think the number's on the side of the building from memory. Just jot that down and pick me up a couple of burgers and one of those ice cream desserts while you're there."

"Duh-huh."

"What else did you need to know?"

"It says: 'printer driver?'"

"That's Dave, he's the new stores guy, but he delivers printers too."

"...OK, Dave. Next it says: 'Memory' and 'M.B.' - do I write down 128, like what it says when it starts?"

"No, write down 32."

"But the machine doesn't say that!"

"Don't worry, I'm sure we'll have that corrected by morning..."

"Oh, Ok. Great! Now it says my IP Address. What's my IP address?"

"127.0.0.1 - you'll need to configure that into the TCP/IP setup of your machine too. Then use the 'Ping' program to make sure that it's working."

"Subnet Mask?"

"Ah, that would be 0.0.255.255 - what we call a B-Minus Subnet mask."

"Righto. Name Server Address?"

"*NAME* Server address? How do they spell that in that manual?"

"N-A-M-E."

"I think there's a spelling mistake then - it should be SAME server address. The same 127 number you used before."

"Why do they want that?"

"Oh, it's a typical computing ploy - They give you a lot of boxes to fill in so that you think you're getting value for money. I've seen some supposed manuals that ask for things like, oh, WINS server addresses and all sorts of other mumbo jumbo!"

"I've got that here!"

"Oh dear, do they ask for a DNS suffix as well?"

"YES!"

"The Don't Need Service suffix - I mean who would say they didn't need service?'

"So why's it there?"

"Same as usual - if you put it in the Customer thinks they're getting better value for money"

"I can't believe people would do that!"

"Happens all the time. Now, do you mind if I get some info off you for the Helpdesk records - just helps us in future if you have any problems with your Machines."

"Uh, OK."

"Office Number?"

"302."

"Phone Extension - 4781 right?"

"Yes."

"Name: Jim Forford?"

"Yep."

"Network Port Number?"

"Sorry?"

"The number of the plug hole the blue network cable plugs into.."

"Oh, ah... ah.. >scrabble< 302-R-1."

"No, that would be your BLACK Power Cable, we'll get to that later. For now I'm after the BLUE cable. The Socket number has your room number and a U in it"

"Oh, Ok. 302-U-4"

"Right. Access Swipe Card Number?"

"Hang on, >scrabble< 301009"

"Does it have an Issue Number under the Card Number?"

"Yes, Issue 1."

"So you're new here?"

"Yeah, just started two weeks ago."

BINGO!

"Right - and lastly, your Bankcard pin number?"

"What do you need that for?!?!"

"Well just in case the High Coarsivity Magnetic Strip on your Bankcard overwrites the Low Coarsivity Image on your swipe card, we need the PIN number to pass to the security access control computer to let you into the building."

***DUMMY MODE ON***

"Oh, of course. 4732."

"Right. And now we just need the pin depth of the Power Socket your machine is plugged into."

"Huh?"

"Just need the depth of the holes on the socket 302-R-1. To make sure your machine gets all the power it needs."

"How do I do that?"

"Shove a paper clip in the earth hole and measure how deep it goes down."

"Isn't that dangerous?"

"No, it's the earth."

"Oh, Ok. Uh..... >scrabble< >scribble< Ah, about 1/2 an inch."

"Right now measure the other two with another paperclip while keeping yourself earthed with the first one."

"Ok, Uh >scrabble< uh just under 1/2 an inch... and >scrZZZZZEEERRRRRT!"

Quick as a flash I'm onto the PFY who is, as luck would have it, sleeping in the third floor Comms Room...

"Right, C.P.R PRACTICE, Room 302. Then ATM Withdrawal Practice, lucky number 4732."

"On my way!" the PFY cries, dropping the phone in his haste.

It's like a well-oiled post-lunchtime machine - Perfect.

But for now, Morpheus calls. ®

BOFH: Kit and Caboodle

BOFH is the creation of Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his copyright

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