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BOFH: Operation bean the beancounter

Pre-emptive strike

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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Episode 25

"Okay, so where are we at?" I ask the PFY as I review plan 32 beta.

"Right then," the PFY responds with the ruthless efficiency of a seasoned professional. "32 Beta is a GO! At oh seven thirty and I printed 12 copies of >shuffle< this >shuffle< picture to various printers around the building."

"Ah," I say distastefully. "Nasty. It's a bit sledgehammer-when-a-tack-hammer-would-do isn't it?"

"It's all to do with efficiency," the PFY says. "Nothing says pervert like farmasutra."

"And you';ve printed it with this header info?" I ask.

"Some yes, some no. Some refer to the user's home directory and some will appear to be printed directly from the website."

"I see. And you've dropped this picture into his home directory?"

";That and several others from the series."

"The series?" I shudder.

"Oh yes," the PFY says, shaking his head sadly.

"And?"

"I've modified the file access times so they look like they were downloaded just after morning tea yesterday and modified the web log entries to back that up."

"And?"

"And what?"

"It's hardly incriminating is it?"

"I... sure it is!"

"No. He could fall back on the 'it must have been a virus' defence, or the 'I think something went wrong with my peer-to-peer app'. Look, pop down to Boots, grab a large packet of tissues and a tub of moisturiser. Chuck half the tissues and half the moisturiser out and make sure the moisturiser jar is nice and greasy. Appearance is everything. Then slap it into his desk drawer, third one from the top."

"Third from the top?"

"Yeah, he's a beancounter. The top one will be full of pens and the one below it will be full of reserve pens and stapler refills. The others will be empty. AND?"

"And what?" the PFY asks.

"The website?"

"The website? OH, yes, the website. I've established a history of posts to a blog over the past two days under an alias of his surname backwards, expressing my abiding interest in meeting other men with a love for... the animal.. kingdom. So to speak."

"Okay, so it's all systems go then!" I blurt.

"Or not!" the Boss snaps, creeping into Mission Control from where he must have been hiding.

"Or not what?" the PFY asks innocently.

"Or not... to frame someone."

"Eh?"

"Your plan, to print pictures like this >shuffle< to frame one of our accountants. THIS GUY ONLY STARTED YESTERDAY - he can't have annoyed you already!"

"It's a pre-emptive strike," the PFY explains. "He's bound to do something."

"No, he's not!" the Boss gasps, reeling from the unfairness of it all.

"He is," I counter. "He was brought on with the brief of examining asset management, inventory control and depreciation."

"But maybe he's not interested in you!"

"...Azariah," the PFY adds.

"Eh?"

"Nothing, just a bit of antipodean humour. But we digress, because of course he's going to be interested in us - IT assets are some of the most poorly recorded around because beancounters traditionally didn't know whether you were buying an item in its own right or an item which was part of an item."

"Huh?"

"In our asset database will be graphics cards from thousands of years ago when 32 Meg of onboard memory was worth more than Posh Spice's underpants on eBay. And they were typically issued an asset number because of their book value, then slapped inside a machine with it's own asset number. When the machine was binned, it was written off, but the card wasn't. Same with large monitors, disk drives, etc."

"Which will in turn will mean," the PFY continues. "That we'll get all the asset inventory and depreciation track down work which will take weeks of wandering around the building checking stickers, working out what we have and don't have..."

"...Trying to remember what you've stolen you mean..." the Boss suggests, unkindly.

"Alternatively, it's far simpler for us to plant the seed that all beancounters are secretly perverts with a fetish for donkeys."

"So you're going to send out a stack more of these are you?"

"Why not?" I ask. "We'll keep framing beancounters until the company stops appointing them."

"Of course not, no that's just dealing with the symptoms, the real problem is the inventory system."

"And your solution to that is?"

"Plan 32 Alpha, totally destroy the asset database."

"It's backed up," the Boss says.

>BZEEERT< >BZEEERT< >BZEEERT< >BZEEERT< >BZEEERT<

"Not any more," the PFY.

"It's on RAID!"

>Clatter< "Not with that disk removed it's not."

"But it'll still work with one disk removed."

>Clatter< "But not two."

"It will if you put it back in."

>CRUNCH<

"Not now it won't."

"It you put the other disk back... >CRUNCH<"

"Oh dear," the PFY says, putting his hammer down. "We appear to have lost the asset management system."

"I... suppose it's pointless asking you to have a look at my laptop then?"

"Of course not!" the PFY gasps, picking up the hammer again. "Bring her in - it may have depreciated so much you need a new one..."

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