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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Episode 3

"Is there... something wrong with the internet?" our user asks quietly.

"No, no, pretty sure it's working fine," I say, looking over to the PFY's Bittorrent machine which is sucking up so much bandwidth it’s in danger of affecting the QoS of the phone system...

"It's just that I can't seem to connect to my home email," the user explains.

"Really? Well all I can say is that we're seeing some fairly blistering speeds at our end so perhaps the problem is localised at your end?"

"At Yahoo?" our user says doubtfully.

"Could be - they have their slow times too."

"Perhaps it's a denial of service attack?" the PFY says “You should ring them!!"

"Do you think so?"

"Absolutely" I add. "They might not even be aware someone's launching an attack at them...”

. . Five minutes later. . .

"Why's the network going so slow?" the Boss asks, rolling into Mission Control with a troubled expression.

"What do you mean slow?" I ask, stalling for time while the PFY shapes his Bittorrent traffic down to something that'll give the firewall CPU a chance to cool down to red hot.

"The internet, I keep getting errors about things being unreachable."

"Oh that'll be the denial of service at Yahoo >clickety<" the PFY says, going for a replay.

"No, I'm trying to get to eBay."

"Really - the attack must have moved!"

“A distributed distributed denial of services attack!” I gasp.

"You should let eBay know..." the PFY says

. . .Five minutes later . . .

"It's slow again" the Boss pronounces, back once more.

"What's slow again >clickety<?" the PFY asks.

"The internet, it's atrocious - and I've tried lots of sites."

"Not the Leather Nun porn sites again I hope" I blurt.

"THAT WASN'T ME, I KEEP TELLING YOU! SOMEONE MUST HAVE BEEN USING MY MACHINE!"

"Your honour" the PFY adds.

I cannot BEGIN to outline the HOURS of enjoyment you can have with a simple wireless keyboard and mouse and a dongle plugged into the back of the Boss’ desktop. I heartily recommend it.

At first it was just moving the mouse around and activating background windows when the Boss was typing but after a while that got a bit tame – till the PFY slapped a surreptitious webcam in the Boss’ office and cranked up the keyboard.

After that the Boss was scared to turn away from his monitor for fear of turning back to find some weird and gritty eastern European porn site up on the display – seconds before the PFY or I would stroll in with some work-related question.

Then there were the several email memos to the department with the last minute subject line changed to “I’m a horsefucker”.

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