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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Episode 27 BOFH 2003: Episode 27

So the PFY's been showing off to a couple of the more attractive young ladies in the new employees induction course, and I have to admit that he's doing well. So well in fact that I have a twinge of remorse about locking his swipe card out of the cafeteria when everyone was watching. But the twinge passed quickly, which is the main thing.

Still, in my defence, he did make some rather nasty comments about me when he thought I was out of earshot, which thanks to the wonders of electronic age, is very few places in the building. Even less when you're carrying around a PDA which is transmitting your every word over the wonders of 802.11b

Not that I mind the PFY using me as a foil to enhance his social life - I mean, in his position I'd do the same. In fact...

"Afternoon, ladies," I say nonchalantly as I wander over to the new-employee group. "Mind if I join you?"

I take their noncommittal response as a non-negative and sit myself down, ensuring that the PFY can see me from his vantage point outside the door.

It's only a matter of time before someone gets up and lets him in, so I make the most of it by waving to him cheerfully.

"The old 'Locked out of the cafeteria' joke," I burble. "A classic!"

The assembled womanage turn and smile at him, which only adds to his annoyance. There goes that twinge again.

And gone.

"So, I hope my assistant has been taking care of you, showing you how we take care of your needs."

"Yes, he has," one of them responds. "He showed us how all your cabling worked, and the wirey stuff, and showed us around the computer room with all the machines in it."

"He showed you round the computer room?" I confirm cheerfully, firing up the PDA, opening the PFY's calendar and scheduling a beating.

"Yes, it's very noisy. And then we did the computer guessing game."

"The guessing game?"

"Where you have to click on things to win prizes."

"Oh THAT game," I respond, smelling rodent. "And what did we all win?"

"Well the guys down the end of the table won a box of photocopy paper each..."

"Really?"

"Yes, and those two there won a box of pens, but us three won the big prize!"

"Free drinks at the Social Club on Friday night?" I ask, knowing the PFY only too well.

"Oh, is that what the Mystery Dinner is?" she asks, slightly disappointed.

"Oh, the MYSTERY DINNER! That IS the big prize. What we normally do-- well, is it OK if I spoil the mystery?"

"Sure!" another replies.

"OK, well, what normally happens is some of the IT people take the winners out to pre-dinner drinks at a cocktail bar, then pop off to dinner at the Dorchester or the Ritz."

"Really?!" one gasps. "The Dorchester! With Nicholas Parsons?"

"Unlikely," I respond. "Anyway, we generally leave once you've finished the day's induction. Does that fit in with everyone's plans?"

A short discussion and a few phone calls later, it's a done deal. I notice the PFY has disappeared which means he's going to be reprogramming the door access system - probably with an axe, now that I've changed the access passwords - so I'd better work fast.

"So what's this afternoon's induction tour?"

"Ummmm, just a tour of the building and then there's a company introduction video."

"So nothing important then?"

"I guess not..."

"Tell you what - why don't we do the tour of the building now then just pop off for some drinks and nibbles around afternoon tea time?"

. . .

One hour, and multiple detours to avoid the PFY (with PDA tracking) later...

. . .

"...and finally, this is the mail room, through which all the inwards and outwards correspondence passes. You'll note that all items are both x-rayed and exposed to a demagnetising field for security purposes, so you need to inform anyone sending you magnetic or x-ray sensitive material to mark the package accordingly, so that it isn't put through the system. OK, so who fancies a quick tour of the pub across the road?"

. . .

Two hours later...

. . .

"Anyone for another?" I ask, grabbing the glasses and turning toward the bar.

"We really should get back for the video..." one of the three slurs. "And isn't your assistant supposed to be here?"

"Yes, my assistant will be joining us as soon as he's... secured the services," I lie. "And UNFORTUNATELY, someone accidentally put the induction video into the mail room's demagnetiser - so that will probably be delayed somewhat."

"Did you do that on purpose?" one of them asks coyly.

"I... Drinks anyone?"

While they're making their mind up about which brand of bubbly to test drive next, I excuse myself for a gentleman's rest stop. While I'm at it, I devote a bit of time to thinking about where we should relocate to next, in case the PFY works out that he can narrow down my location by seeing which Wireless Access Point has my PDA connected t-- >BBZZZZZERT!<</p>

. . .

"So have we made up our minds?" I hear the PFY ask, from the comfortable position he left me in, laying in the urinal. "Tell you what, why don't we grab a cab to the cocktail place?"

"Aren't you going to wait for Simon?" the coy one asks, bless her.

"Ah well, unfortunately he's been called back to the office to... secure the services," he replies.

"Weren't YOU doing that?"

"Yes, but it's a big job and he needs to do some technical stuff - like sweeping," the PFY replies as they exit.

Well this isn't a happy ending... ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2003, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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