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Application security programs and practises

Episode 35 BOFH 2004

There are times in a professional Systems Administrator's life when he must ignore the opinion of Managers and even cast aside the sage advice of his assistant. For from his experience he knows what all others do not - that this is a pivotal situation with issues at stake that others are unaware of. In these situations, the professional administrator shines out, weighing up his practical experience and taking the burden of decision (and possible blame) upon himself - The Bastard Operator's Manual

It's one of those times. It's dark - almost pitch black thanks to a cleverly disabled switchboard - and I'm outside a prison camp with my MP5. And I'm annoyed...

"Switch off Night Vision and creep up to the Guard Box!" the Boss whispers.

"No," the PFY counters. "The Proximity Detector's off, no-one's there! Keep night vision on, do a circuit of the Camp to eliminating any guards, THEN switch Night Vision off, and enter through the main tower!"

"Sssh!" I murmer, flipping on the Sniper Scope and looking around the camp. BINGO! Guard standing beside the far tower...

Playing Ghost Recon during work hours isn't an approved work activity, but it certainly draws the crowds and passes the time. The entertainment provided by a Quick Mission during a slow period can only be devalued by the input and distraction presented by others. I decide on the unsubtle approach to the tower problem...

>BZerrrrrt!< >BZzzzzzerrrt<

I wheel the recently cattleprodded PFY and Boss into the corner of the room, returning to my desk to find that I've lost a team member. Suppressing the urge to give them another zap for the inconvenience, I get back to the game...

I sneak up to the Camp doorway as the proximity detector comes on. I slowly creep around the corn...

>RING!<

The game's interrupted by a phone call from HR.

"Systems," I say on hands free while creeping up the Prison Camp steps.

"The helpdesk say I have to talk to you about a file problem, they can't help me - it's something to do with a space problem on the Server."

"Which means you'll need to delete some files to free up space."

"But we need all our files!"

"When the disk space runs out, it runs out. It's what we call a finite resource…"

"Can't you do something?"

"Well I could delete all your files for you?"

"I... uh.. No.."

"Ok, nice talking with you then!"

I get back to the game and am creeping into the Camp with the phone rings again. The tiny distraction of looking at the caller ID display is all that's required for me to lose another man >BOOM< to a grenade launcher.

"YES?" I snap.

"Uh, it's me again. The helpdesk said that maybe you can archive some material from the server."

"Did they? Well sure, just slap it into a folder called 'DELETE ME' and I'll back it up for you."

"Don't you mean 'Archive Me'?"

"Yes, of course - my mistake, I was distracted."

"And when can you have that done by?"

"The stuff in the 'DELETE ME' Folder?"

"No The 'Archive Me' Folder!"

"Yes, right! Ahh.. I'm copying it over now."

One drag-and-drop later…

"Is it done?"

"You betcha!"

"Ok, Thank... Was that the trash bin emptying noise?!?!"

"No no, that was something else. Bye now."

I'm in the prison camp and am half way to the prisoner's compound when THE BLOODY PHONE GOES AGAIN! The Boss and PFY are no help, still being in half-stupor (although the PFY twitches slightly as >Boom!< I LOSE ANOTHER MAN TO THAT BLOODY GRENADE LAUNCHER!)

"YES?!"

"Sorry, I need to revert to the first version of the file I was working on, which is in the Archived folder. Can you bring it back online please?"

"Sure, but it's on tape, so it'll take a day to recover."

"You just deleted my files before didn't you?" the user sighs, "and now you're going to recover them from backup tape - aren't you?"

"No…"

"So you did archive them?!" he gasps.

"No."

"But you said they weren't on backup tape either."

"No, I said I wasn't going to recover them. But they are on backup tape and NOT on archive."

"Well how do I get them back?"

"You'll have to speak to my assistant."

"Can I speak to him?"

"He's Incapac… >BANG!< BUGGER IT TWO DOWN!. You'll have to ring back later!"

>slam<

The remains of my team make it through the prison camp gates and I progress slowly through the camp eliminating my opposition, which has a strangely calming effect on the annoyance I felt moments ago. It's almost enough to…

>RING!<

>BOOM!<

"Yes?"

"Just ringing back to tell you that you don't need to recover that file after all, I just undid all the changes I'd made and it's all worked out. Hey, was that an explosion sound? Are you playing games..... Hello? Anyone there...?"

. . .

It's dark - almost pitch black thanks to a cleverly disabled switchboard - and I'm in the HR stairwell with my cattleprod. And I'm annoyed... I reach up to the fire alarm breakglass... ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

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