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BlueWolf's Howl

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August 21, 2003

Flu Season

Like summer colds, you're bound to see a spate of virus outbreaks and then an eventual return to quiet (and complacency)...

I'm sure by now you've all heard about the virus outbreak. And then you heard about the "good" virus to counteract it. And then you heard about the new variant of an old virus. Sheesh.

Naturally, managers everywhere heard about it on the news and are making all kinds of outrageous emotional demands...
"Just DO SOMETHING about it!"
"Like what?"
"Like FIX the DAMN INTERNET!!!"
"What part of it do you want me to fix? We're up and running. Do you want me to get on a plane and fix the system that you're trying to contact that's down?"
"Are you saying you CAN'T do anything or that you WON'T do anything?"
"I can't do anything about systems I don't control..."
"I don't believe that -- you just DON'T WANT to do anything about it...."
Hmmm...we must just all be a bunch of lazy, stupid admins...

Where I work, we're lucky enough to have the equipment, a tiny bit of local autonomy (at least for the local LAN), and the due diligence to have had safeguards and other protections in place and were not affected. But, I know I could lay money on a bet that the above conversation took place *somewhere*...

Another conversation that I can safely bet on would be:
"So why weren't we protected?"
"Well, you know that email gateway that I asked for last year?"
"Jeez, I told you, we don't have that kind of money! Can't you just write a script or something?"

Or...
"Why weren't we patched already?"
"Hmmm...remember I told you that I needed to get those patches out?"
"Yeah, why didn't you?"
"Uh...let me see...there was me, and me and me that was available....the fifth Tuesday of NEVER.... NOW do you see why I need another person to help out?"
"Are you griping again? You know we have to cut costs. You want that second person to come out of *your* salary?"

Always trying to "do IT on the cheap"... Don't buy equipment until after the cow is already out of the barn. Do more with less people. Get the cheapest people you can for the job. Don't interrupt the busy work of the user to put a patch on for a mere "theoretical" vulnerability. Outsource, consolidate, remote manage....

And now you know how and why a virus can spread faster than a meme.

Oh...and I copied this (below) from a post to the MSN talkback board:

So far we've blocked a little over 200 sobig's in the last few hours. Must be a good one! I just spent 10 min explaining to a user that it wasn't sent from a friend of his and no I won't let him open it! geessh and they wonder why this still works!

And then, of course, there's always MICROSOFT to blame... Yeah...it *must* be Bill Gates' personal fault. Hmmm... the patch to fix the vulnerability that the virus exploits was put out on 16 JULY...

I found it interesting to know that places like MIT and Lockheed Martin were "disrupted" by the virus. We weren't..... But, that's because we're lazy jerks who won't give everyone everything they want immediately (if not sooner)... Yeah, we get in trouble for not being as responsive as some would want -- because we're busy keeping up with the patches and other such nonsense that non-techies don't understand (and think is unimportant). We're not better. We just pick our poison. And sometimes we pay dearly for it. But, on days like today...it's well worth it.

Posted by BlueWolf on August 21, 2003 12:18 AM