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BOFH: 17 minutes of goodwill

Happy New Year

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Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Episode 1 The good thing about the New Year is that past differences are put behind oneself and the year's started with a clean slate. Everything's that little bit nicer and you get the feeling that in some small way you're contributing to the ongoing goodwill of the workplace. True, my attempts and maintaining a positive outlook in previous years have failed dismally but this time I'll really give it a go...

>Ring ring<

"Hi, you're talking with Simon from Systems and Networks!" I gush cheerfully.

"Why's my machine running so slow?" the user asks, skipping the social niceties.

Detecting the subtle undertones of a problem I decide - in the spirit of geeky glasnost - to do my best to help.

"What do you mean by slow?" I ask. "Does it take a long time to wake up, or is it slow all the time?"

"It's just slow. It was fine yesterday but it's slow today," he replies.

I... can do this!

On attempting to access the machine I notice that it IS taking an exceptional amount of time to connect - and when it does the data rate's similar to that of remote desktop over acoustic coupler...

"You're not... doing anything on the network are you?"

"No."

"Not browsing or downloading anything?"

"No."

"Well I've connected to your machine and can't see anything TOO unusual running."

"You connected to my machine?"

"Yes."

"How?"

"Remote administration."

"But you don't know my password?"

"But I do know the Domain administrator password - and your machine is a member of the Domain."

"But it's my machine - surely you need to get my permission first?"

I feel the stirring of the Dark side, but suppress it quickly!!

"TECHNICALLY it's the COMPANY'S machine, and I was accessing it in the resolution of your problem, not out of idle curiosity."

"Oh, I see. Well what happens now?"

"I'll just have a closer look at the network traffic to check on a couple of processes..."

>clickety<

"Ah."

"Yes?" the user asks.

"Get an iPod for Christmas did you?"

"Yyyess, why?"

"And you loaded all the music off your home machine into it?"

"Yes."

"And then you copied all the music onto your desktop?"

"Well, yes - I want to save the battery for commuting."

"Uhuh. And then you told all your workmates about the 30 gig of music you'd just put into a public share on your desktop?"

"Oh one of them wanted to get a copy of one of the songs I..."

"About 20 of them are currently getting copies of all your songs."

"Oh."

"Yes, and the added impact would be the backup you're running. Why'd you be backing up your music to the backup server?"

"Oh, in case I lose it!!!"

"So you're worried about it being lost from your desktop machine?"

"Yes."

"When you could put it all back from your iPod - or failing that off your home machine via your iPod - or failing that your fellow worker's machines - or failing that the original media - or the backup DVDs you've probably written at home?"

"Yeah, but that's a hassle."

nnnnngggg!

"I see, well I don't think there's a lot of help I can give you apart from >clickety< cancelling your backup session and >clickety< removing your ability to share files. Has that helped?"

"I... suppose so."

"Ok, anything else I can help you with?" I ask, thinking nice New Year thoughts.

"I... Could you increase my mailbox quota limit?"

"Uhhh, Sure, I think we can do that. How much to you think you'll need?"

"Well I'd like about 10 gig if I can?"

"10 gig, that's a lot of space - are you sure you're going to need it all?"

"I think so. I want to send all my other MP3s that don't fit on my iPod to my work account so that I can listen to them here."

"And you've got 10 gig of files to put through our mail system?" I ask, squeezing my mouse in a non-approved manner.

"Yeah. But I also thought that if they were in my mailbox I could play them when I went to an internet cafe or something just by calling up the mailserver..."

Nnnnnggggggggggggg! Can't... suppress... the... anger... Can't... stop... the... voices.....

"I'll call you back" I blurt, slamming down the phone. "How long was that?"

"Uuh... seventeen minutes" the PFY says, looking up at the clock.

"Seventeen minutes. And what did I manage last year?"

"Fourteen - although you timed it from when you entered the building last time, so it was probably more like 10."

"So I'm 50 per cent better?"

"You would have been if you hadn't deleted all his music files and uploaded the faulty BIOS to his iPod rendering it useless."

"I didn't!"

"Yeah, but it was only a matter of time so I just cut out the middle man and did it for you."

"Oh. Ah well, better luck next year!"

"Two steps forward, one step back and all that," the PFY responds helpfully. "Now how's about shutting down the mail server and taking an extended morning tea?"

"As far as plans go, it's a scorcher!!" ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

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