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BOFH: Computer room deluge

If you mix water and wires...

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Application security programs and practises

Episode 23

"Water!" the PFY gasps, entering Mission Control from the computer room.

"Where?" I ask, to which the PFY responds with an urgent wave to his entry point.

"F%**" I say moments later as I survey the steady stream of water coming down the computer room wall. "Where's it coming from?"

"Dunno," the PFY says, shaking his head wildly. "Upstairs somewhere."

"Go and find it - stop it. I'll pull the floor bung so that the water can drain out!" I snap, grabbing the tile lifter.

...Several tiles later...

"What's happening?" the Boss asks, tiptoeing around the lifted tiles.

"I'm trying to find the floor bung!" I say, continuing my work.

"What floor bung?"

"The floor bung which drains water out of the computer room in the event of a flood!" I snap, indicating the computer room plan. "It should be about three meters from that pillar, but it's not."

"Are you sure you're looking at the plan the right way around?"

"There's only one pillar in the middle of the room - the others are at the corners or on the other side of the wall in the Control Room" I snap.

"Maybe they drilled the hole by the wrong pillar?" the Boss suggests.

"Nah, it's clearly marked on the plan, you'd have to be a complete id... I'll take a look."

Reentering Mission control, I lever up one of the floor boxes in the middle of the room and shine a torch toward the pillar...and find the computer room drain.

"They put it in the wrong room!" I seethe.

"They put what in the wrong room?" the PFY asks bouncing through the door.

"The drain - it's in this room, not the bloody computer room."

"How is it you haven't found this out before?" the Boss asks.

"Until now no Beancounter's ever brought an electric drill in from home to make a hole to feed a cable through a wall and subsequently put a hole in the main water riser pipe..." the PFY responds.

"There's a hole in the water riser!" I gasp. "But that's a bloody high pressure pipe! It'd take ages to drill through that - AND there must be water everywhere!"

"Not so you'd notice," the PFY says. "Most of the water is just filling up the wall cavity - which is what we're seeing down here."

"Okay then," I snap. "It's going to take ages to fix and the wall cavity's going to keep leaking into the computer room for ages after they turn the water off so we're going to have to create a new bung hole."

"But how do we do that?" the Boss whines.

"Let's think," I say. "Who do we know that has a drill??"

...Ten minutes later I'm back from the hardware store and present the apologetic beancounter with a masonry drill large enough to find oil...

"I... Err. Where should I drill the hole?" the Beancounter mumbles as we lead him into the waterlogged computer room.

"Three metres from that pillar over there, in line with the... WOAH! Where the hell did you get that drill from?!!?" I gasp, catching sight of a ginormous power drill with surface rust from where Noah left it out on the deck...

"I...it was my fathers?"

"Not your grandfather's then?" the PFY asks, looking the monster.

"Waste not want not," the beancounter simpers.

"Soooo..." the PFY says, surveying the computer room. "How about that old double insulation stuff then?"

"What?" the beancounter and boss say in unison.

"Nothing," I say. "My assistant and I need to go into the other room to shut a few systems down, but meantime you should probably drill as fast as you can before the water reaches the underfloor electrical outlets..."

"Oh, good point" the Boss says, nudging the beancounter on.

>Whirrrrr< >GRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDD!<

... A minute later, in Mission Control ...

"It's no use, I can't do it" the PFY sniffs.

"Can't do what?"

"Can't let them get zapped" he mumbles.

"What? Of course you can!"

"I can't, I just can't do it!"

"Why not - are you getting soft?"

"No...You'll just make me clean it up. And finish the hole!"

"True. So you're just going to isolate the UPS and computer room with no orderly shutdowns?"

"Uhuh"

"Fair enough!"

>Clickety< >Click< >Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep< >Clack!<

"What happened?" the Boss asks, bursting into Mission Control.

"You must have shorted out the power somehow!" the PFY says, obviously having thought this through.

"But the drill's still running!"

"The wall plugs aren't on UPS supply" the PFY counters.

"Ah, right" he says, going back to supervise the work.

"Dodged that bullet," the PFY says. "The last thing I want to be doing is hiding bodies on a Friday afte... >KZZZZZERRRRRRRRRT!< >CLACK!<. ... Oh crap!"

.. half a minute later in the computer room ..

"THAT'S WHY THEY DIDN'T PUT THE DRAIN HOLE THERE!" I gasp peeking through the hole to the smoking - and very wet - building transformer below.

"And I suppose you want me to clean this up?" the PFY sighs.

"Nope," I reply. "Get security to call an ambulance - The raised floor mesh absorbed most of the charge and they're only stunned. Though you might strongly suggest that no one reset the building breaker any time soon."

"Meantime...pub o'clock?" the PFY asks hopefully, helping himself to the wallets left carelessly laying around in the Boss' and Beancounter's pockets...

"WHY NOT!"

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