When I was a SysAdmin, people used to be AMAZED at how easily I could get into almost any password-protected computer. They would ask me for my tips and tricks and techniques, what software I used, how I would get around multiple password attempt blockers, etc.

Like a magician, I would never reveal my secrets.

However, the truth is that I worked for a government agency that required monthly password changes. Nobody could keep up with that pace of unique password-generation requirements, so everyone kept a note somewhere...

Or used their wife's name. Or their license plate number. Or their wedding date. Or baby's birthday.

Normally it was just written on a Post-It somewhere around the desk, under the keyboard, in a drawer, or ... like in this photo ... simply stuck to the front of the monitor.


Have a friend. We'll call him "Dr. Strangelove." Dr. Strangelove wrote his Ph.D thesis on viral transcription in recombinant DNA. Certainly not the first.

Definitely the first to use Ebola for the transcription.

To no one's surprise, Dr. Strangelove ended up working at USAMRIID, the US Army Research Institute on Infectious Diseases. While there, he worked under a talented and insightful biologist who also happened to be an Iranian national under political asylum. The good doctor, to no one's surprise, had a number of colleagues and assistants from his original sphere.

It wasn't the hary-scary bugs under lockdown, it was the "you don't need a glovebox and a bunny suit" bugs in this particular locker. you know, plague and shit like that. And it was locked. And there was a combination. And nobody bothered to remember the combination. It was on a post-it note.

In Farsi.

Because, after all, they all spoke Farsi and nobody else did. So Dr. Strangelove was the one who had to remember the combo. The rest of them had security through obscurity.

"You realize how bad this looks," Dr. Strangelove told the Good Persian.

"Eh. It works," the Doctor said.

posted by goobster: 363 days ago