Some of these summertime ideas just aren't so hot

The Rat

It all started as a typical summer week for the Rat: cooling systems failing, racks overheating, systems tripping offline, wailing and gnashing of teeth. And that was just at home.

With temperatures in Washington over 100 degrees, and the humidity making a simple walk across the street more like wading through a swamp, the whiskered one and his entourage of data center ninjas were spending a lot of time sweating about how cool they could keep their raised-floor rooms with their aging rooftop chillers. Some of the Rat's minions had novel'if somewhat dangerous'ideas, which he found himself constantly trying to head off.

'No, it is NOT a good idea to pile ice around the servers,' he bellowed as he saw some acolytes carrying in bags of cubes from a nearby convenience store. Dejected, they started to turn back'until the cyberrodent suggested that they pack the ice into the picnic coolers he had prepositioned in the agency Network Operations Center'along with the Jolt and Mountain Dew Code Red that were stockpiled there.
'How about dry ice?' queried another network warrior.

'Only if you want to suffocate when the CO2 pushes all the oxygen out of the data center,' the Rat replied with a head slap.

Back in his Navy days, the wirebiter once had to explain to an ensign that it was not a good idea to fire off the CO2 flooding system in the paint locker just to cool it off for his working party.

They must be really short on air conditioning in Foggy Bottom (and at the Homeland Security Department, too): The rollout of the RFID-based e-Passport continues'despite the fact that a Dutch security company showed it can be easily hacked.

Company representatives went on a Dutch television show to demonstrate how vulnerable the ISO 14443 RFID tag and Basic Access Control encryption scheme are to clones and hacks. They took only two hours to crack the encryption on the RFID tag and gain complete access to the data stored in it'hardly enough time to dissuade an identity thief.

It must be hot in the U.K., too, where the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Ken Jones, reportedly suggested using technology similar to the ISO 14443 RFID tag as implants to track pedo- philes'by satellite.

'If we are prepared to track cars, why don't we track people? You could put surgical chips into those of the most dangerous sex offenders who are willing to be controlled,' the Sunday Times quoted Jones as saying. Jones suggested that law enforcement could then track sex offenders by satellite and get alerts on their location if they entered a restricted area, like a school zone.

'Jeez, NSA didn't even have that kind of capability in 'Enemy of the State', ' the Rat cackled. 'And they were just trying to track Will Smith.'

As he turned away from the report to check on his minions, he spotted them setting up fans to blow across a kiddie pool they had filled with all the instant cold packs from what must have been at least 120 first-aid kits. An enterprising acolyte was about to start the world's largest endothermic reaction by performing a Fosbury Flop onto them.

'I guess I'd better start printing up accident reports now,' sighed the Rat.

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at [email protected].


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