Feeds

BOFH: Pulling a computer survey swifty

Five grand for your silence

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Episode 32

"Look at this," the Boss says, handing me a well-fingered computer rag.

"What, the magazine?"

"No, the survey they mention on the front cover."

"The Top 500 IT-savvy companies in the UK for 2005?"

"Yes."

"And what should I be looking for?"

"Our company, of course."

"In there?" I ask dubiously.

"EXACTLY!" the Boss says.

"Exactly what?"

"We're NOT in there!"

"I know," I counter.

"But we should be - we've got a lot of machines!"

"More than large internet cafe companies?"

"No, not more than them, obviously."

"Or larger than the huge multi-national beancounters?"

"No, I suppose not."

"The large insurance companies?"

"I..."

"What about large universities?"

"I DON'T KNOW - But we should be listed there!"

"Why?"

"Because we're a large company!"

"That's hardly a compelling reason is it?"

"But we should be listed! Investors rate companies by their technical ability."

"So you're saying that an investor would be happier if they knew we spend a lot of money buying large numbers of machines?"

"No, but they'd feel happier knowing that we have a lot of computing power behind us!"

"And why exactly are you talking to us about this?" the PFY asks.

"Because they've sent us a form for this year's survey which we'd like you to fill out so that we make the top 500," the head of IT says, entering Mission Control.

"But these surveys are pointless and only used to boost magazine circulation figures!"

"How?" the Boss asks. "They send each of the top 500 companies a free copy!"

"At which time they all buy up a stack of copies to leave strategically in their waiting rooms, send to their investors, etc."

"It's still worth doing," the Boss says.

"So what are you suggesting we do, buy two machines for every person - or I suppose for five grand we could just say we have?"

"Why would that cost five grand" the head of IT asks.

"To shut people up," I say, nodding towards the PFY.

...Two days later...

>RING<

"Ah Simon," the Boss mumbles nervously over handsfree.

"Mmm?"

"I've just got an email from the publishing company - saying they'd like to come and verify the data we supplied."

"Of course they do," I say. "And we should applaud them in that. Reply, saying we'd be most happy to take them around our sites at their earliest convenience."

"But surely they'll find out that we've been...uh...economical with the truth?" the Boss asks.

"Not if that five grand in fifties arrives as requested...Besides if they sent someone out to verify every respondent they'd never get the bloody thing published! Just tell them you're looking forward to showing them our sub-sub basement state of the art super-secure computing bunker."

"What bunker?" the Boss asks, ignoring the five grand question yet again.

"If it sounds like we've got stuff that we're gagging to show them they'll be less suspicious," the PFY says over my shoulder.

"Oh I see, righto then, I'll do that."

...Two days later...

"Ah Simon," the Boss mumbles - once again nervously - as he leads a geeky beancounter type into Mission Control. "This is David, from the publishing company, he's here to verify our computer equipment and check out our...bunker."

"Excellent!" I say getting up from my desk. "And might I just say how five grand it is to meet you!"

"Five grand?" David says.

"What?"

"You just said 'how five grand it is to see me'?"

"Really, how odd," I say, staring pointedly at the Boss till he leaves to make a quick petty cash transaction - returning scant moments later with a cardboard box.

Given the rapid arrival of the cash a less trusting person might think that the Boss had received this money earlier and had simply conspired with himself to remain in possession of it...

"Uh...your current rating is 303rd, but not all the survey numbers are in just at the moment, so that's subject to change."

"So where would you like to start?" I ask.

"With the Bunker," David responds.

"The Bunker it is!" I say as the Boss's eyes widen.

...Two minutes later, in the basement...

"And there you have it," I say, pointing at a section of floor.

"What?" David asks.

"The bunker!"

"That's not a bunker, it's just a section of concrete!"

"No," I sigh, "That's the door to the bunker."

"Uh.. .can you open it then?"

"Of course not, it's a super secure server room!"

"So I'm supposed to take your word that there's a bunker under there."

"I...You could wait till shift change!" I suggest.

"And when's that?"

"A week from Wednesday - It's a fortnight on a fortnight off thing, two crews."

"You don't seriously expect me to believe that?"

"Of course."

"In that case I'll be wanting to see invoices for the equipment supposedly housed in the bunker," David says.

"Hmmmmm," I say, the game up. "I don't have those, but I do have this box of non-sequentially numbered fifty pound notes..."

"Oh why didn't you tell me it was a 2000 host supercluster grid facility with a million terabytes of storage!" David gasps, grabbing the box.

...Later, at the pub...

"That was a close thing" the PFY says as he finishes his fourth lager.

"You're telling me," I say.

"Yeah, I thought he'd never buy the publishing company auditor story," David adds.

"Cheers!"

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.