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The killer BOFH bot from the basement

Robotic death whirs into Mission Control

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Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Episode 22

BOFH 2002: Episode 22

"Hey, look what I found in the basement," The PFY burbles early one VERY slow afternoon, dragging a squat hunk of hardware on wheels into Mission Control and interrupting my afternoon meal and TV watch. I mean backup verification procedure.

"Ah, it's one of those old cleaning bots," I reply nonchalantly, "Haven't seen one of those in a long while. It's probably broken…"

"Well that's the funny thing!" The PFY replies. "I slapped a charge cable into the thing, plugged it in, and pressed the RESET button, and THIS happened."

>Click!<

The cleaning bot's LED panel flips through it's self-test codes until the message "RAZOR 11/11-3" whizzes across the LED display.

"What does it mean?" The PFY asks

"Oh, that'll be part of the ROM - happens if the bot fails self test. I shouldn't worry about it" I respond sagely, kicking the robot into power-off mode quickly

"So it's stuffed then?" The PFY asks, giving the bot a friendly tap on the front panel with a hammer, causing the bot to reboot in a suck mode that would put a hardware rep to shame, whilst rocketing around the office after The PFY, bashing into furniture in a frenzy. "Hey!"

"It's scrambled code from an impartial charge and dud ROM, like I said!" I yell, as I jump up onto my desk, reaching for the NonVolatile reprogramming tool (sledgehammer), should it be needed. "Just short out the two battery test holes at the top of the front panel"

"With what?" The PFY asks, backing into a corner at speed

"STAPLE-GUN," I cry, pointing at my desk as the Bot makes a lurching bid for freedom

Barely a minute later it's all over and the Bot is again an unmoving mess. I take the precaution of removing the battery lead before I pry the staples out, just in case..

"That was weird!" The PFY gasps, "What the hell was it doing?"

"Like I said, it was just ROM diags gone wrong. It was probably trying to clean something"

"Well it DID seem to be doing something semi-intelligent..."

"Yeah well, it's broken now, so chuck it back in the basement before it hurts someone."

"But it's..... ...Is there something you're not telling me?" The PFY asks, catching a small whiff of rodent.

"Of course there is!" I respond. "ONE , I earn a lot more than you THINK I do, TWO, It was me who superglued your laptop into its docking station - not the site services manager that you had fired a week later as a peeping tom, THREE, your chair is configured to zap you on every 1213th time you sit on it, FOUR y..."

"APART from the usual stuff!" The PFY interrupts.

"OK, OK, it's a fair cop guv!" I admit, deciding to play the truth card. "The bot was my entry in the bot .vs. bot automated carnage wars."

"Oh you mean like those ones on TV?"

"No, no, they're just sad, remote controlled boxes in skating rink, with even sadder owners. THIS was the contest of champions - for the truly intelligent thinking MACHINES that make their own rules! Ones that can find an opposing bot in a 3 dimensional maze, hunt them down and destroy them!"

"Really. So why'd you chuck it in the basement?"

"Unfortunately, the thing never went all that well. Had problems detecting the difference between desk and bot, rubbish bin and bot, and, most distressingly, me and bot."

"You?!?" The PFY feels obliged to ask.

"Yes indeedy, most hairy. Not to mention that there's a large ball peen hammer secreted somewhere in it's armour which it wanted to introduce me to. Repeatedly."

"A Ball Peen Hammer?!!!"

"Yes made a slight mistake when beta testing it."

"Doing it in our office?!!!!" The PFY asks.

"No, no, I'd tested it in the basement carpark, and brought it back up to the office for fine tuning."

"...Fine Tuning?"

"Yeah, Remove the image of the Boss's car from its NVRAM. Not that it looked anything like a car after the Beta test."

"So what happened?"

"I pressed the Reset button, causing it to acquire the nearest moving object as its next target..."

"You?"

"Affirmative, Will Robinson!"

"What did you do?!?!" The PFY gasps in horror.

"The only thing a sane man can do when faced with an axe-wielding destruction device on wheels - head for the stairwell."

"And then?"

"It slipped past me and crashed down three stories into the basement, at which time I took the precaution of disconnecting the battery and locking the door."

"But you must've known I'd go down there and find it sooner or later?!"

"Yes, yes, but like I say, you have to connect the battery and press the reset button."

"So you left a homicidal device in a room, just waiting for someone curious to come and accidentally trigger it?!" The PFY gasps.

"Yes."

"I could have been seriously injured."

"True."

"And you've no remorse have you?"

"Ahhhhhhhmmm... No."

"I'm.. I..... So what do you reckon.. Just leave instructions on it for The Boss, start the webcam and pop off to lunch?" The PFY suggests.

"Gravy!" ®

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

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

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