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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Episode 23 "What do you two know about business intelligence?" the Boss asks the PFY and I after we answer the call for a quick chat at his request...

"A novel idea but I don't think it'll catch on," the PFY responds.

"Sorry?" The boss burbles, missing the PFY's point.

"Business & Intelligence - bit of a misnomer," the PFY replies helpfully.

"No, I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about obtaining information about our competitors."

"Oh, you mean spying," I reply.

"Well not spying exactly, I just mean obtaining information from their systems."

"Yes we call that spying. Corporate Espionage if you want to give it a flashy name."

"Uh... Be that as it may," the boss chirps, tapping a pencil on his desk impatiently, "I'd like to know what you know about it."

"Well you've come to the right place," I cry, "as my assistant here used to work for MI5."

"No I didn't!" the PFY sighs dryly.

"Well he's bound to say that isn't he?" I say, nodding knowingly at the boss, "it's all part of the training."

"No it's not!"

"Ah, so you do know what the training is then??" I ask, turning back to the Boss. "But seriously, he was. His code number was double-oh F."

"00F?"

"Yeah, they switched to Hexadecimal when the digits ran out."

"Ridiculous!" the PFY snaps.

"No, ridiculous was the first attempt using Dewey Decimal. By the time you'd finished warning them that you were 'secret agent double-oh 327.1PFY' they'd have already lowered you into the vat of acid and organised dinner for two followed by dancing with Moneypenny."

"I... Look, I'm not talking about that!!" The Boss interrupts. "What I'm wanting to know is IF we happened to come by the laptop of a staff member of another company would you be able to access any information from it?"

"And by IF you mean you already have?"

"Uh... Well we had a couple of drinks to celebrate a successful end to some legal action between our two companies and he inadvertently left his laptop behind at the pub..."

"And by access any information you actually mean find out the name and address of the owner so that you can return it to him?"

"I..."

"Because to do otherwise would be wrong."

"And possibly illegal," the PFY adds.

"Oh. I see."

"Of course if, in the process of obtaining the name and address information we happened to encounter some information that pertained to some business activity..."

"Yes?"

"We'd be obliged to keep the confidence of the party concerned."

"Oh," the Boss sighs unhappily.

"Of course, I'm not much of a poker player and I might let slip something I'd seen if you were discussing something that I had knowledge of."

"Not much of a poker player..." the boss repeats slowly.

"Especially when he's been drinking," the PFY chips in.

"So if we buy you drinks you'll break into the machine?"

"By George, I think he's got it!!!"

"Ok then. How do you plan to do it?"

"I'm not - I'll get the PFY to do it - he can sniff a breast out of a hard drive at thirty paces."

"I don't want porn, I want the business info!"

"Yes, yes, but the PFY will break into the machine to get the porn and we can get the other stuff."

"What if he hasn't got porn on his machine?"

"Puleese. Even blind people look at porn. That's why they make the braille keyboards washable!"

"I.. ... ..! Well I've never browsed porn!" the Boss gasps, offended.

"Yuh-huh. Yeah, you and Ghandi - because he's dead."

"I don't."

"Really well just to be on the safe side, do you want the PFY to check your machine? Even deleted files! He can suck a thumbnail out of a two-month-old deleted zip file..."

"I don't think that will be necessary," the boss counters hastily. "So what sort of software does he use?"

"Software?!" the PFY asks "Oh! Yes... uh... software."

"You don't use software?"

"It's like a sixth sense" I explain to the Boss. "Someone a couple of rooms away visits www.DirtyNunHosemonsters.com and he's straight into the webcache to grab copies"

"Really?!"

"Oh yeah. But he's got some quality control problems. He can detect porn but he can't detect what kind of porn - which can be a little disturbing at times. For instance last week when one of our part timers discovered a fetish for geriatrics."

"I'll never look at a rumpled mattress the same way again," the PFY whimpers.

"He'll probably need counselling," I whisper to the Boss. "But meantime, that's not getting us into the box. Where is it?"

"Uh.. here" the Boss says, removing the aforementioned machine from his briefcase guiltily.

"Ooooh!" the PFY says. "I sense a stirring in the force!"

"So long as it's just the force," I warn.

"Can I..." the PFY asks, reaching for the machine eagerly.

The Boss hands the machine over to the PFY and he takes off like a shot.

"So how long do you think it will take?" the boss asks ten minutes later, tapping his foot anxiously. "Because sooner or later I'm going to get a call from the owner."

"Well it's a complex thing, bypassing Windows security. I mean you'll have to boot from a CD..."

"Yes, and then?"

"That's pretty much it."

"So he'll have got into the machine?"

"I'm not too sur..."

"Got it!" the PFY says, popping back into the room cheerfully with a pack of smokes in his hand.

"Excellent! Are there any financial documents?"

"Oh right, you wanted the work stuff!" he says, popping back out again...

Something tells me it's going to be a long day... ®

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