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War stories: escalation attack loopback

Nov 04, 20163 mins

Woman looking down with chess pieces in front of her
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Last month I shared some stories about events that I’ve had to contend with over the last 20 years. One incident that I recall was a particular individual who thought that only scanning up to port 1023 was the only proper way to check for security issues on a network. I still shake my head that this person had a job. 

When I wrote about this incident before I was asked, whatever happened to this person? Well, to this day they are still gainfully employed much to the amazement of many.

Now, I’m not one to throw stones at people who don’t know something in the course of their career. Laughing and pointing because someone might not know SED or AWK as an example. To do so is puerile and counterproductive. That shifts however when I take into account that some people have no interest in changing. Those are the people that I reserve my disdain for. If your knowledge base expired 15 years ago and you exhibit no interest in keeping current then I find no reason to pull punches.

This person who was of a mind to only scan up to TCP 1023 had no shortage of poor advice to provide. When countered they would slip into a vindictive attack mode. In one case this person went to my direct management to complain that I was crushing the network with excessive traffic. This traffic was merely the web interface for my Twitter account refreshing. No, I’m not making that up. They literally tried to get me fired for that.

In another case, I called out this person for their fractured logic flows and they escalated again. At this point in my tenure I was seriously wondering if the carpet to my management’s office had been worn bare. They launched into another tirade against me and I put my feet up on my desk knowing full well that this was in progress.

After about 10 minutes said person stormed out of the office in a white hot rage. My management had dropped the hammer on this person and dispelled any question that I was of a negative bent. This particular rebuke was long overdue. There are times when you have to wonder if someone that you have working in your organization is the human equivalent of a pale full of cement dragging the company down to the murky depths of the Mystic.

Rather than taking any time to sit down with me and discuss any reservations, there was a concerted effort to get me fired. I was happy that I upper management had my back. To be fair I had worked hard to earn that support. But, that could have easily all unravelled if this person had any creditability whatsoever. Thankfully this person was a known negative commodity.

This escalation attack had failed outright and reflected back at the attacker. You are part of a team there are times when there are negative players walk onto the playing field. Take the time to work with these people and address issues so that they don’t devolve into a juvenile shouting match with a vindictive troll.

Life is to short to work with the negative detractors. Work to improve or remove the negative players. 


Dave Lewis has over two decades of industry experience. He has extensive experience in IT security operations and management. Currently, Dave is a Global Security Advocate for Akamai Technologies. He is the founder of the security site Liquidmatrix Security Digest and co-host of the Liquidmatrix podcast

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Dave Lewis and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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