8 out of 10 Terrorists use GNU/Linux Systems

I was taking a look at my blog statistics through Google Analytics when I noticed that I was getting search traffic on the phrase 'linux is evil'. In fact, as you can see in this search, my blog is #2 for the phrase and the #1 hit is a link to my post Linux: Not Evil Enough?

While it's neat to see that I am already indexed, what I got excited about was the animated ad on the next hit in the search:

Man I gotta show this to the boss, I should be able to get Linux on the desktops even!


Evil Has a New T-Shirt

In an act of shameless self-promotion, I have added The Evil Store to the sidebar. Shop away!

For those worried about supporting evil, all items are sold with zero markup.


You Take the Good, You Take the Bad...

Did you ever have one of those days where whatever good news/progress you get seems to have to be tempered with some bad?

Get the feeling there's a story here? Well you're right.

The early stages in my revamping of the door control system have been moving on nicely: We have injected the outer perimeter guards with RFID tags, claiming they were vaccines for a new biological weapon that leaked outside. We have installed new door control panels in the outer perimeter doors, and issued new key-cards to the perimeter guards.

Everything was working well, with only one or two false-alarms when guards would borrow each other’s keycards if they forgot their own. The access control system was loaded with rock-salt shells instead of actual buckshot shotgun shells so the staff would have a chance to learn their lesson.

Did I mention the shotgun shells before? They are mounted just behind the keycard panel, hidden by a paper cover and fire if the system detects an intruder, great stuff. All that is required in the case of an intruder setting the system off is the removal of the spent shell and the insertion of a new shell and paper cover and the panel looks brand new.

Yup, everything was going well. In fact, this morning I get into work in time to see a guy with a nasty rock-salt injury being dragged down the hallway to the boss's antechamber. Score one for me! Just as expected, he knocked out a guard, put on his uniform, and tried to use his keycard. When the RFID tag that matched the keycard was missing, BLAMMO! The intruder takes a gut full of rock salt and the other guards are alerted automatically.

So that's the good news. And the bad news? Well, I was sitting in the server room working on a project when I feel this powerful heat coming from behind me. I turned around to see one of the servers has a two inch smoking hole right through it. Not only that, there are two-inch holes in the walls beside it, and I can see through a series of two-inch holes right into the boss's antechamber!

I talked to one of the guards later that day in the cafeteria and found out that after the intruder had been dragged before the boss, he claimed to know all about the boss's new plasma cannon and his plans to use it to assassinate key political figures. He then tried to convince the boss that he was of more use to him alive than dead, because his agency would expect to hear from him at regular intervals and would send in the troops if he did not report back, as they also knew of his plans.

My boss's reply was apparently along the lines of 'if they knew about what I was up to, they would have already sent in the troops, I'd rather kill you'. The intruder then asked for a last request. My boss replied to by shooting the intruder in the head with the new plasma cannon.

Now that's fine, sounds like a good way to deal with a spy and all, but he forgot to turn the power down on the damn thing before he fired, sending a plasma beam through the spy and four bulkheads before it went through my server, through four more bulkheads, and right out the side of the volcano.

As far as such problems go, it was not such a big deal due to the fact that the server in question was one of the new Linux machines I was provisioning as a proof-of-concept and was not a production machine, but it really opened my eyes to the level of redundancies needed around here: the machine was dual-processor, dual PSU, RAID 10, ECC RAM, everything I could get to make it reliable, but one plasma blast and the thing was offline.

Even a redundant machine would have been worthless if it had been sitting next to the primary. I think I'm going to check around the areas on the other side of the island and look into setting up a second server room. While I am at it, I think I'll make sure the next one is less conspicuous, with no 'Master Control' sign on the door and no picture windows that show off the various server racks (from what I have heard from the techs who work nearby, the room has practically begged to have a grenade or two tossed into it in the past).


Am I Evil?

I've been asked by some friends if, now that I work for an evil organization, I have turned evil myself. I thought I'd take a moment to answer that.

I do not consider myself to be evil, but I'm not what I would consider a good guy either. I think if I were a role-playing character you would call me Chaotic Neutral:

A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but does not strive to protect the freedom of others. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character doesn't intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others), evil (and a desire to make others suffer), or be lawful neutral. A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.

Chaotic neutral is freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal.

And that kind of explains why I am here:
  1. The pay is good.
  2. All expenses are covered as far as room and board is concerned (my suite in the volcano has a great view).
  3. Hardware/software budget is limited only by what the shock troops can secure.
  4. The work is challenging.
  5. If anyone writes their password down on a post-it under their keyboard, I can have them killed.
...not that I have been responsible for anyone's death mind you, but it is good to know the option is there.


Linux: Not Evil Enough?

One of the challenges of working in an evil organization is that the moves you make are evaluated for their evilness more than any other criteria, be it efficiency, economy, or security.

This has made introducing Linux to our operation difficult. You see, with all the community good will and copyleft licensing involved, Linux just doesn't give off enough of an evil vibe to my bosses.

I've tried pointing out the large corporations that support Linux such as Oracle and IBM, but up until now my bosses just haven't been convinced of the evilness of Linux enough to let me move some of the systems away from Windows. Add in the fact that Linux is free and therefore cannot be stolen (which takes the fun out of the acquisitions process), and you can see why until now I have been unable to get it into our servers.

I say 'until now' because I recently found a glowing testimonial for switching to Linux from a supervillian:

http://www.ubergeek.tv/article.php?pid=54 (Requires Flash)

Nothing like a good peer endorsement to convince your bosses. Looks like I'll be getting Linux onto some of the servers over the next while.


Upgrading the Door Control System

I've started my first major project as the new evil systems administrator. It seems that it is not too uncommon for our various guards and grunt staff to either get seduced or knocked unconscious and have their keycards stolen, allowing some unwanted element to waltz right into our facility. So, it's time to look at a new access control system.

The old system had a few flaws:

1) A mixture of keycard and handprint scanners were used, which resulted in keycards being stolen and/or staff being knocked out and their hands being placed on the scanners.

2) Shooting the door control terminals resulted in access being denied to those on the opposite side of the door from the terminal, in spite of the opposite side of the door having a working terminal.

3) Keycards open all the doors in the entire facility. Any interloper who gets their hands on a card can go anywhere. This has almost shut things down around here in the past.

4) Some interlopers would bring along geeks who would either crack open the door control panel and short the wires to open the door, or insert a keycard with an attached ribbon cable and PDA to brute-force the system.

I've been looking at a number of options, gauging them for reliability, effectiveness, and evilness. Unlike system at my old job, we not only need to keep doors from opening to unauthorized personnel, we also need to identify interlopers as quickly as possible and possibly even dispatch them in an automated fashion.

So here's the plan so far:

1) No more hand scanners. At first I thought of moving the hand scanners to a height of six feet, making it more difficult to get an unconscious staffer high enough to place their palm on the scanner, but I'm guessing someone would just cut it off instead. Besides, seems some people can defeat the systems with something as simple as a gummy bear anyway.

2) Two-part authentication. Something you have and something you know. We'll add keycards to all doors and require a PIN number in addition to the swiping of the card.

3) Actually, make that three-part authentication. I recently saw this article at Slashdot, discussing the use of injectable RFID tags for access to a company datacenter. Such a system is certainly evil enough for use in our facility, but just to keep things secure, we'll be calling the injections a 'vaccination' or 'antidote' so that the guards and whatnot do not know they are tagged. What they don't know they can't discuss while a hidden intruder listens.

The real benefit of the injected tags is that they introduce a three-part authentication scheme where even swiping a keycard and entering a PIN is ineffective if the unknown RFID tag is not present. We can also use the system to weed out intruders wearing the uniform of a staff member by setting up motion activated RFID readers. If the system detects a person nearby, but no RFID tag is detected, we have an intruder.

4) All door control panels will have tamper sensors to detect the panel being opened to prevent bypassing. All panels are in constant encrypted communication with the central control machine and any loss of communication will trigger a security alert. In addition, shooting a panel enough to damage it will only result in the door being inoperable from the side that was shot. Since the door locks are not routed through the panels but wired directly to the central control machine, authorized personnel could always radio in for the door to be unlocked anyway.

5) The system will have limitations for when a keycard/PIN/RFID combination can be used, where it can be used, and how many failed attempts can be made to gain access. Violations of any of these will result in either a security alert of the automatic termination of the person attempting access.


I Miss Fry's

Let me tell you something, I've been at this job for two months now and I really miss Fry's. Not because Fry's was an awesome electronics and computer shop, more because at least it was local.

Working in a hollowed out volcano for an evil genius has its benefits, don't get me wrong, but you are local to nothing. No going out for lunch, no stop by the Apple store to check out the latest iPod, no running to Fry's when you just need a switch.

Heck, I'm lucky I can even shop online. The problem with a secret base hidden away in an uncharted patch of ocean is that it's really difficult to get any of the big online stores to ship to an undisclosed location, and the evil powers that be only trust other evil powers that be.

I finally convinced my bosses to let me order from Amazon by pointing out their one-click patent, which they declared was evil enough to give Amazon a shot.

Prior to that I had to make requests for hardware and wait for some shock troops to get around to stealing it. While that seems like a fair solution, the typical grunt can't tell a managed gigabit switch from an unmanaged 10/100 switch and half the time the stuff came back with bullet holes and shrapnel in it.