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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Episode 6

More wonders from the House of BOFH™

BOFH 2002: Episode 6

So The PFY and I are at some fundraiser that a vendor's slipped us tickets for when I happen to glance at the night sky, and notice the Horned Phone image in the clouds, which can only mean one thing - Commissioner Gordon needs us.

I signal quietly to The PFY that we're needed by tipping my drink down his back. When that doesn't work, I point to the clouds.

Getting back to Mission Control, I insert my fingers into the nose of the bust of Bill Gates in the corner of the office, pull back the head to reveal a red button - which I subsequently press - opening a secret door to a freight elevator that goes direct to an old sub-sub-sub-basement area, known only to the PFY, myself, and some sad people best not mentioned during daylight hours.

The PFY and I waste no time in suiting up in our crime fighting gear (Jeans, Teeshirt, Doc Martins & Bottle of Brut 33 Spray [for emergencies only]).

"To the Bastardmobile!" I cry, indicating the completely chromed exterior of our Ford Granada with a rebored 454 big block crammed under the hood. I start the engine on the seventh attempt and notice the flames shooting out the exhaust, which can only mean several things: The timing's probably shot, the Muffler is too, and high octane aviation fuel probably isn't the safest thing to be using. i.e. The car's rooted.

(And I should probably move the fuel barrel from behind the car)

Still, A good bastard never lets something like that get him down, and I plant the boot and we rocket out onto a side street, the disused Tube Station doors opening and closing noiselessly around us. Which is more than I can say for the Granada.

. . . a brief theme tune and hourglass icon later . . .

"Bastardman!" The Chief cries as we slip into a parking space outside the station with the grace and ease of a car accident. Which in fact it was, me only just noticing that what I thought was a car computer readout was really just the OIL light. "and Rabid!"

The PFY and I nod in unison and slip in through the back passage. But obviously not The Chief's - no matter what you read in those sleazy showbiz mags.

"What seems to the be the problem, commissioner?" I ask, as we enter his office, helping myself to one of his Cuban cigars. (I don't smoke the things obviously, but when they're on offer, one feels obliged.)

"It's your old Archrival!" Commissioner Gordon responds "Back and causing problems!"

"Oh, not ANOTHER security Patch for IE!" the PFY cries. "They promised to stop at 4000!"

"No, not him!" the Commissioner responds.

"The Questioner?" The PFY asks, recalling an enemy so annoying we sent him down for a long, long time,

"No, no," the commissioner replies, shaking his head gravely. "We've had no more 'Are you sure you want to delete all these items' messages - EVEN WHEN YOU UNCHECK THE DISPLAY DELETE CONFIRMATION DIALOG BOX - since you sent that bastard down!"

"Renderman?" the PFY asks

"No, we've just had to get used to HTML messages being rendered without choice in Outlook, regardless of the gaping security risk that it poses."

"Well then who ca.. NO!"

"Yes!"

"But he died!"

"So we thought, but..."

"HOLY CRAP-SETUP-CAUSING-REPEATED-SUPPORT-CALLS-FOR-YEARS-ON-END!" the PFY cries, firing up a cigar and helping himself to one of the Commissioner's lagers - as he's not driving. Come to think of it, given the smoking wreck outside, I pop the top off one myself.

. . . Three hours later . . .

"So what you're saying is that if you hit your desktop 20 times with a club hammer.." The Chief slurs, waving half a kebab around as a visual aid. "You're..."

"You're actually configuring it's non-volatile settings", I finish, opening my tenth lager.

"But isn't it just going to be stuffed?"

"Indeed it is. However, it's never going to be UN-stuffed, which makes that setting non-volatile."

"Ah, I see!"TThe Chief cries.

"I don't see how any of this has to do with CRAP-INSTALLER-MAN!," the commissioner interrupts. "He's probably going around the city as we speak, doing poorly documented customised installs, and removing key components of the operating system."

"You mean IE, which Windows is broken without?" The Chief burbles.

"No, KEY components. Anyway, you don't seem to be too worried Bastardman...?"

"I'm not. I've laid a trap for him, which I'm sure he'll fall into."

"Ah, you mean you've got a desktop machine, removed the Operating System from it, and have left it in an office somewhere, KNOWING that Crap-Installer-Man will somehow find it, and work his fiendish business upon it!?"

"No, I mean I removed some of the raised-floor tiles in the computer room, and removed the circuit breaker from the lights. Which he'll fall into."

..One *CRASH* (which fills the whole screen, accompanied by a trumpet fanfare) later...

"I think you've caught him Bastardman!" The Chief cries. "And now we can unmask the fie.."

>JANGLE!< >JANGLE<</b>

I wake from my sleep to find the fire alarms going and the PFY shaking me vigorously.

"Wha?" I ask

"You fell asleep after the pub lunch!" the PFY cries. "And The Boss has just fallen thru the Computer Room raised floor in the dark, and dropped his coffee on the water leak detector cable."

"What was he doing in the Computer Room - with or without a coffee"

"He wanted to borrow a copy of the Win2k Install media?"

"Ah. Right! So it was MOSTLY a dream then."

"Wha?"

"Oh. Nothing."

Sometimes dreams are so real, you can still taste the lager .. ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2002, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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