Where's the boss? Ah right, thorough deep-dive audit. On the boardroom table. Gotcha

Ooh, watch out for splinters

On Call It's Carry On Call time this week as a Register reader finds himself dealing with a potentially career-limiting callout.

"I worked for a small regional bank back at the beginning of my career in IT," said our reader, Regomised as Derek. "I shared an on-call rota to handle out-of-hours issues with the cranky IT systems, these being a mix of ROCC Mini Computers, a PDP 11/44 and an IBM System 88 (actually a Stratus XA600 rebadged by Olivetti)."

An eclectic mix, even for the era.

Derek had drawn the short straw and was on the weekend on-call shift, which helpfully started at 10pm on Friday. He was tired – it had been a busy week; the bank had been audited, which had brought with it the stresses that can only be unleashed by a team of grey suited execs and an auditor.

Inevitably, the pager (remember them?) went off a few short hours into the on-call shift, meaning Derek's presence at the seven-storey city-centre office was required. He trudged to the designated meeting spot where a security guard Regomised as Clive was waiting for him.

Derek needed to get to the third floor to deal with whatever IT issue had befallen the systems, but the guard was more excited about some lights that were visible from the seventh floor, where the executives were housed. Nobody should have been there at that time of night, so why the illumination?

Derek had seen enough thriller/zombie/horror films to know the fate that awaited an intrepid investigator, but Clive was determined to check things out and so dragged Derek with him to the seventh floor.

As they exited the elevator, the lights that should not have been on cast alarming shadows on the walls of the deserted corridors. There was also a strange noise coming from somewhere on the deserted office floor.

"I was not keen to investigate this further," recalled Derek, "being this is a bank and banks tend to have a reputation of having things that the criminal type may find attractive."

Clive, on the other hand, had no such qualms and locked the elevator to the floor. "Follow me!" he whispered to Derek.

"So suddenly I am not on a callout," said Derek, "but part of a newly minted crime-stopping team investigating suspicious activities at a bank!"

Hopes of a Scooby-Doo ending to the story were dashed as the duo moved deeper into the office floor and the noise got louder and louder. It became more distinct as they reached the executive boardroom, where the lights were on.

Derek had seen more than zombie films and realised what was happening, but not in time to stop Clive from flinging open the boardroom door and shouting the words: "What's going on in here?"

"These were unnecessary," recalled Derek, still traumatised all these decades on. "It was pretty clear what was going on."

The lead auditor and the managing director of the bank were conducting what could be described as a "thorough deep-dive audit" on the boardroom table.

Derek made a hasty retreat to the elevator, dragging Clive behind him. He attended to the third floor IT woes, which is all he'd ever wanted to do, and then returned home to try and bleach his brain.

And what happened next?

Clive, who worked for a contract security company, was swiftly and mysteriously assigned elsewhere. A long, long way elsewhere. As for Derek, he had "multiple chats with the managing director about how forgetful I could be."

His forgetfulness was assisted by the arrival of a company car "for use when on call."

Sadly, however, it became clear that the boss's fear of Derek blabbing to the troops was not going to go away, and our hero jumped before he was pushed – eventually accepting a role at a computer manufacturer.

"My career change," he said, "was initiated by a saucy audit."

Words unlikely to trouble the average LinkedIn profile.

Ever been called out and seen something you wish you hadn't? Or does the phrase "taking one for the team" trigger an uncomfortable flashback? The Regomiser is waiting for your email to On Call. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module
    Anything that uses proximity-based BLE is vulnerable, claim researchers

    Tesla Model 3 and Y owners, beware: the passive entry feature on your vehicle could potentially be hoodwinked by a relay attack, leading to the theft of the flash motor.

    Discovered and demonstrated by researchers at NCC Group, the technique involves relaying the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from a smartphone that has been paired with a Tesla back to the vehicle. Far from simply unlocking the door, this hack lets a miscreant start the car and drive away, too.

    Essentially, what happens is this: the paired smartphone should be physically close by the Tesla to unlock it. NCC's technique involves one gadget near the paired phone, and another gadget near the car. The phone-side gadget relays signals from the phone to the car-side gadget, which forwards them to the vehicle to unlock and start it. This shouldn't normally happen because the phone and car are so far apart. The car has a defense mechanism – based on measuring transmission latency to detect that a paired device is too far away – that ideally prevents relayed signals from working, though this can be defeated by simply cutting the latency of the relay process.

    Continue reading
  • Google assuring open-source code to secure software supply chains
    Java and Python packages are the first on the list

    Google has a plan — and a new product plus a partnership with developer-focused security shop Snyk — that attempts to make it easier for enterprises to secure their open source software dependencies.

    The new service, announced today at the Google Cloud Security Summit, is called Assured Open Source Software. We're told it will initially focus on some Java and Python packages that Google's own developers prioritize in their workflows. 

    These two programming languages have "particularly high-risk profiles," Google Cloud Cloud VP and GM Sunil Potti said in response to The Register's questions. "Remember Log4j?" Yes, quite vividly.

    Continue reading
  • Rocket Lab is taking NASA's CAPSTONE to the Moon
    Mission to lunar orbit is further than any Photon satellite bus has gone before

    Rocket Lab has taken delivery of NASA's CAPSTONE spacecraft at its New Zealand launch pad ahead of a mission to the Moon.

    It's been quite a journey for CAPSTONE [Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment], which was originally supposed to launch from Rocket Lab's US launchpad at Wallops Island in Virginia.

    The pad, Launch Complex 2, has been completed for a while now. However, delays in certifying Rocket Lab's Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) pushed the move to Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022