Monday, November 19, 2012

Will Glamorous Spies Seduce Our Systems Administrators?

Now you can waste hours of your life reading new documents on the National Security Agency's "What's New" page which should really be titled "What's Newly Declassified"....

In particular, a paper written in 1991 called "Out of Control" spells out the vulnerability that comes from having classified material on systems with a systems administrator(s) with access to everything.

The specific conclusion was that systems administrators would become the targets of HUMINT operations by foreign intelligence services looking for root passwords.  The sysadmin could become the new "lonely cipher clerk" that is compromised by the beautiful foreign agent as seen during the cold war.

But first I must see your root password.

Would our loyal sysadmins be vulnerable to this insidious attack by attractive secret agents?  I think the answer is clearly "yes, they would".   An obvious countermeasure is to make sure that systems administrators are very good looking, well-adjusted and with healthy romantic lives. Presumably arranging a healthy romance for our sysadmins will become a standard part of counterintelligence in our nation's defense infrastructure or be a prerequisite for assignment to this sensitive position.

The seductive femme fatale is Honor Blackman.

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