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BOFH: Memory short circuit

And my password is... damn it

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Application security programs and practises

Episode 1

There must be something in the water. I've got a shocking case of nominal amnesia which I can't shake and the PFY just isn't helping. True, being locked in a lift for several hours (until I'd fed sufficient pound notes through the doors to the PFY) just prior to the holidays didn't help, but I'm never really any good at getting back into the swing of things after time away from the workplace. It's as if the mind just spins down and needs a couple of days of doing something mildly taxing to get one's thoughts back up to speed again...

"What's happening?" the PFY asks in response to the blank expression on my face as I survey the login prompt in front of me.

"Can't remember my password," I sigh, tapping away on desk impatiently.

"You can't remember your password?" the Boss asks cheerfully after wandering in unannounced.

"No. In fact, when you've got around 40 10-12 character root passwords to remember you're lucky to remember any of them. Which is why I..."

"Write them down?" the Boss prompts.

"No I encrypt them and store them on my desktop."

"And you can't get into your desktop!" he chortles happily.

"No - because I changed my password yesterday as it had expired. All I can really remember is that it's something that you get hit with?"

"A car?" the PFY says helpfully.

"NO, you get hit with it," I say. "I know I'll remember it soon, but I just can't remember it now. I remember thinking that it was something that I'd never forget."

"Yet still you did," the Boss chuckles.

"What about hard drive?" the PFY suggests.

"No, would be way too simple. Anyway, I remember that the password was long," I say, scanning my memory for further information.

"A Microsoft update via dialup? An Oracle streamlined install?"

"No, No! This isn't helping! I'll have to think of something else. Though... I think it also had something to do with the Boss."

"Management?" the Boss suggests. "Responsibility? Team Player? uh..."

"Git!" the PFY chimes in. "Tosser? ArseBandit? Trainspotter?"

"!" the Boss gasps, wordlessly.

"Oh, you mean this Boss?" the PFY gasps, going for the late (and crap) save.

"It was something about... I don't know... the boss... being hit... and... um... electricity... Yes! Definitely something about electricity!"

"Well that certainly narrows it down," the Boss says sarcastically. "But think - how did you come by the password? Can you recreate the process you used?"

"I'm not sure. I was thinking about a new password, and then I was also thinking about something to do with hitting, you, and then electricity - but I can't remember how they all came together."

"Torch," the Boss gasps. "You can hit someone with a torch, it's electric and I own one!"

"In that case we could use car as well" the PFY says dryly. "Or vibrator."

"Right!" the Boss snaps decisively. "I..."

"Just jokes," I say calmly. "We're all friends here. Now back to the password..."

"What were you thinking about?" the Boss repeats.

"Give me time," I say calmly. "It'll come to me... I was looking around the office for inspiration..."

"And you saw this," the PFY says, holding up a cattleprod.

"No..."

"And you thought of me?" the Boss asks.

"No ...The door blew open."

"Yes?" the PFY coaxes.

"And it banged into the wall where that big dent is, which reminded me..."

"...OF THE TIME I PUSHED THE DOOR OPEN, BUMPED THE BOSS INTO THE CATTLEPROD YOU WERE TESTING AND HE FELL BACK ONTO THE WALL!" the PFY gasps happily.

"YES!" I cry. "And it was a pass phrase based around that!"

"Accident?" the Boss suggests.

"No... No, I can't get it."

"Try and recreate the sequence of events in your mind's eye," the Boss says, airyfairily. "Does that help?"

"Ummmmmm... Nope."

"Maybe it's tactile? What about if you hold the cattleprod in your hands?" the PFY says.

...

"No, nothing. It's too distracting having you both shout suggestions at me. I'm sure it'll come to me if I just have a few moments to myself to think..."

"Ok, I'll go get a coffee - so you're not distracted..." the PFY says.

"Okay," the boss says. "And I'll be quiet." "Quiet as a mouse. I'll just stand over here out of the wa-"

>Click< >BUMP< >KZERT!< >CRASH!<

"That was it, H1l4r3us!" I say, as I step over the Boss and tap away on my keyboard.

"You're welcome," the PFY says, helping the Boss extract himself from the wallboard.

"And I'm in!" I gasp happily at the Boss. "You know I think that whole recreation idea of yours was a winner."

"Now you can help me with my password," the PFY says. "It was something to do with a spade, a sack of quick lime and a roll of carpet in the work van..."

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