A nasty virus with a naughty name nabs our innocent cyberrodent
For a couple of months, the wired one's agency chief information officer has been
chanting the intranet mantra. As related earlier [GCN, May 12, Page 66], the
heartless CIO volunteers his agency as the test bed for just about every intranet
initiative that comes along.
This headlong rush to migrate users and applications to Internet standards has left
everyone breathless, particularly the Rat's hard-working minions.
So a great sigh of relief filled the air as the cyberrodent and company finally
finished the CIO's assignment to transmute gold into lead.
They had actually managed to move hundreds of discussion databases off Lotus cc:Mail,
Novell GroupWise and Microsoft Maul-er-Mail servers and on to the wild frontier of network
news and Hypertext Markup Language. They had even installed TCP/IP stacks on machines so
old the letters had worn off the keyboards.
Everyone in the agency was working the World Wide Web. Dennis Leary would have been
slack-jawed. But then came the system crashes.
The Rat's well-tuned network sniffer traced the problem to the latest hole discovered
in the Windows operating system: a protocol attack that goes after Microsoft's favorite
port in TCP/IP and knocks the machine off the network. The Rat followed his nose to the
computer-based training room where he found the culprit application, apparently downloaded
from-where else-the Web.
In a matter of minutes, the Rat had erased the hacker toy. But he was still checking
the room's access log as his boss strolled past.
Catching the Rat in his peripheral vision, the CIO took the opportunity to play
"So did you find the problem?" he asked.
"Yes sir, right here. It was BitchSlap." The hacker name for the attack
utility had rolled off the Rat's tongue before his brain had a chance to sanitize it. He
knew at once he was in big trouble.
That distastefully named program was indeed what had been clobbering the machines of
the corner-office crowd for the last week.
The less colorfully named WinNuke, Muerte or Sinners could have done much the same
thing, but the twisted individual who wreaked havoc within the Rat's firewall had chosen
the hacker tool for its misogynist name, relishing the fallout.
So while the Rat's minions waited for the traffic on Microsoft's Web site to die down
enough that they could download the newly released security fixes, the Rat himself was
sentenced to the CBT room to take a mandatory sexual harassment course.
Another day lost. And it was all Bill Gates' fault. Only an attitudinally maladjusted
operating system megalomaniac could inspire hack tools with such awful names.
The whiskered one scanned the audit trail of the system that had hosed his day. And
there he discovered the name of a certain hacker wannabe from budgeting.
As the Rat clicked through the online quiz of the agency's Sexual Harassment Desktop
Training Program (an unfortunate title if there ever was one), he plotted his revenge.
The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at [email protected].