• United States



Two-Second Mysteries

May 01, 20062 mins
Build AutomationCSO and CISO

The Coffee Shop Hack, The Quick-Change Artist, The Vanishing Server, The Indignant Vice President

Case 1: The Coffee Shop Hack

The traveling salesman working on his laptop in the coffee shop could barely believe it. “I have a personal firewall and encryption on my wireless connection and all my applications. I even use complex passwords! There’s no way my account was used to hack into the network,” he said.

“Ah, but it was your account that was hacked, and easily so,” Dr. Kaledjian said. But how?

Case 2: The Quick-Change Artist

“But it’s impossible,” the guard at the door protested. “No one walked by me with ­merchandise they hadn’t paid for. The radio tag would have set off the alarm; since the alarm didn’t go off, the shoplifter didn’t use this door.” Dr. Kaledjian disagreed. “The shoplifter walked right by you all right, and didn’t set off the alarm,” he said. “Come to the changing room and I’ll show you.” Why the changing room?

Case 3: The Vanishing Server

The IT administrator waved off the CEO’s concerns casually. “Look, I’ve got that server sitting right here, with its company serial number, C0548, right there on the front. No way a disgruntled staffer left with the machine and posted our intellectual property all over the Internet. He’d have to check out the machine first, and C0548 is on a no-check-out list.” But the CEO didn’t calm down when he heard Dr. Kaledjian say, “The machine you’re showing us is useless, and your employee walked out with server C0548.” How could that be?

Case 4: The Indignant Vice President

“I can’t believe you’re accusing me of stealing Johnson’s e-mail to see if he got the promotion I deserved,” the indignant VP said. “Hey, check yesterday’s logs! My computer wasn’t on all day. The door access logs will show that I never swiped my card to get in because I wasn’t even here yesterday!” Dr. Kaledjian cocked an eyebrow. “Everything you said is wrong: You were here, you accessed Johnson’s e-mail, and you don’t deserve the promotion. I’ll bring in the human resources director to explain.” For what?