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BOFH: That security thang

A journey, not a destination

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SANS - Survey on application security programs

Episode 16

"Excellent work on that security thing" the new Boss burbles happily. "A hacker would be lucky to see our web pages now, let alone hack them, the system is so secure!"

"Security is a journey, not a destination," the PFY nods, exuding a Zen-like vibe.

"Like Slough," I add.

"No, that's 'a craphole, not a destination'," the PFY corrects.

"What?" the boss Burbles, "I'm from Slough!"

"Course you are," the PFY says kindly, patting him on the shoulder.

"I..." the Boss starts, then thinks the better of it. "So, how do we access the online resources that we used to?"

"Which online resources are they then?"

"Oh, just online stuff. Some of my stuff isn't working any more."

"The online virus downloading site?"

"Eh?"

"The Russian 'shareware movie' site that you watch movies on."

"I...what!?"

"Oh puleese, we monitor peer-to-peer networking like hawks. Mainly to see if there's anything good coming down, but also because it's virus central if you're not too selective about what you download. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN," the PFY says, nudging the boss's arm.

"No, they said that there were no copyright issues because the site's in Turgekenistan!"

"Ah Turgekenistan, one of the more easygoing of the imaginary East European nations."

"But I paid money to see them! They said it was all kosher!"

"As kosher as a ham sandwich with a side order of bacon," I respond. "With pork icecream for afters. Incidentally, what's your credit card limit?"

"What? Why?"

"Just want to know what sort of bill you've racked up buying stuff online in the Ukraine?"

"I've not boug... ... >crash!< >rush!< >patter patter< >slam!<"

"Do you think it'll be bad?" the PFY asks.

"As bad as...a large rear-projection TV and a HDD-based DVD recorder in a lockup in Bayswater..."

"You didn't!"

"Course I bloody did! There was blood in the water!"

"But what about me?"

"Don't worry, I got you a selection of DVDs."

"Oh, thanks. But surely he'll cancel the order before it's delivered!" the PFY responds.

"Ordinarily yes, but the secret is to use a multinational company then ring them and tell them that, with the internet being so confusing and all, you think you might have accidentally placed your order at the .com site instead of the .co.uk site, and if so it'll take forever to get delivered, so could they possibly rush the delivery locally in time for the wife's birthday - whatever the cost, then fix it up with the .com people"

"And you really think it'll work?"

"Oh, yes. In fact, they got here last night."

"Really?! So where's my DVDs?"

"In the box under your desk!" I reply.

I'm hardly back in my chair before the PFY is doing a bit of gift horse dentistry.

"What!? The Sound of bloody Music!?"

"The FIVE STAR remastered version!"

>shuffle<

"BAD BOY BUBBY?!"

"A...classic!" I say, thinking hard to find a euphemistic phrase with no direct link to excrement.

"Driller Killer?! Anne of Green Gables! BLOODY Sheltering BLOODY Sky!!!"

"Oh, I thought I'd ordered the Bertolucci Omnibus!"

>shuffle<

"That's Bloody IT!"

"What?"

"TITANIC! What the hell were you thinking?"

"I...well nothing really. I clicked on the 30 cheapest DVDs - after all I was on a limited budget."

"You bastard!"

The PFY's 10 minute monologue on the genus of my family tree and its reentrancy are interrupted by the Boss' return.

"THEY'VE BLOODY CLEANED ME OUT!" he wails.

"That's terrible," I cry, almost meaning it.

"I talked to the security people and they said..."

"Sorry, you talked to OUR security?"

"Yes, and they..."

"About an electronic transaction?"

"Yes, and..."

"And you know their skills in computing are limited to putting a red card on a black card?"

"Or vice versa," the PFY says.

"No, they ring the helpdesk for that."

"Yes, yes," the Boss snaps. "But they have some contacts and apparently it's been delivered locally all I need to do is find the vending website within 24 hours, ring the credit card company, and they can trace the package delivery and have the police standing by when the culprit arri...

>KZZZERT!<

"Oh! The Boss has fainted!" I say slipping a couple of sleeping tablets into a glass "I'd best get him some water!"

"But I think I've got smelling salts in my desk," the PFY proffers helpfully. "Which I could probably find - which would bring him around before you got back with the water...unless..."

"Unless?" I say, recognising my old friend blackmail from a distance.

"Unless my eyesight were to fail (because of the ridiculously small television screen I'm forced to use) and I weren't able to find them in time."

"An eyesight problem which would be rectified by a larger TV screen?" I sigh, knowing the answer already.

"Ja Mein Herr!"

"Ok, it's a deal - but...I'll need a hand keeping him out of the way for a few hours."

"Sorted!"

Quarter of an hour later the PFY is helping the Boss onto a train to Slough with a one-way ticket stub stapled to his jacket (and a half bottle of sherry and a suspicious stain on his groin to ward off the curious).

Finding his second credit card was a bit of a bonus, as was finding the .com website with a sale on B-grade movies...

The PFY's going to be so happy!

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