Scientific Operations Bellum Gratia Artis

The Front Fell Off

with apologies to Clarke and Dawe

Senator Collins: It's a great pleasure, thank you.

Interviewer: This computer that was involved in the incident in Azure this week...

Senator Collins: Yeah, the one the front fell off?

Interviewer: Yeah

Senator Collins: That's not very typical, I'd like to make that point.

Interviewer: Well, how is it untypical?

Senator Collins: Well, there are a lot of these computers going around the world all the time, and very seldom does anything like this happen ... I just don't want people thinking that operating systems aren't safe.

Interviewer: Was this operating system safe?

Senator Collins: Well I was thinking more about the other ones.

Interviewer: The ones that are safe.

Senator Collins: Yeah... the ones the front doesn't fall off.

Interviewer: Well, if this wasn't safe, why did it have 80,000 gigabytes of personal information on it?

Senator Collins: Well, I'm not saying it wasn't safe, it's just perhaps not quite as safe as some of the other ones.

Interviewer: Why?

Senator Collins: Well, some of them are built so the front doesn't fall off at all.

Interviewer: Wasn't this built so the front wouldn't fall off?

Senator Collins: Well, obviously not.

Interviewer: How do you know?

Senator Collins: Well, 'cause the front fell off, and 20,000 gigabytes of sensitive personal information spilled into the darknet, went on auction. It's a bit of a giveaway. I would just like to make the point that that is not normal.

Interviewer: Well, what sort of standards are these operating systems built to?

Senator Collins: Oh, very rigorous information assurance standards.

Interviewer: What sort of things?

Senator Collins: Well the front's not supposed to fall off, for a start.

Interviewer: And what other things?

Senator Collins: Well, there are regulations governing the materials they can be made of.

Interviewer: What materials?

Senator Collins: Well, cardboard's out.

Interviewer: And?

Senator Collins: No cardboard derivatives.

Interviewer: Like paper?

Senator Collins: No paper, no string, no cellotape.

Interviewer: Rubber?

Senator Collins: No, rubber's out. Um, they've got to have a user interface. There's a minimum testing requirement.

Interviewer: What's the minimum testing?

Senator Collins: Oh, one, I suppose.

Interviewer: So, the allegations that they are just designed to carry as much personal information as possible and to hell with the consequences, I mean that's ludicrous --

Senator Collins: Ludicrous, absolutely ludicrous. These are very, very strong programs.

Interviewer: So what happened in this case?

Senator Collins: Well, the front fell off in this case by all means, but that's very unusual.

Interviewer: But Senator Collins, why did the front bit fall off?

Senator Collins: Well, a packet hit it.

Interviewer: A packet hit it?

Senator Collins: A packet hit the operating system.

Interviewer: Is that unusual?

Senator Collins: Oh, yeah. On the internet? Chance in a million.

Interviewer: So what do you do to protect the network in cases like this?

Senator Collins: Well, the computer was routed outside the network.

Interviewer: Into another network...?

Senator Collins: No, no, no. it's been routed beyond the network, it's not in the network.

Interviewer: Yeah, but from one network to another network.

Senator Collins: No, it's beyond the network, it's not in a network. It has been routed beyond the network.

Interviewer: Well, what's out there?

Senator Collins: Nothing's out there.

Interviewer: Well, there must be something out there!

Senator Collins: There is nothing out there... all there is computers ...and switches ....and users.

Interviewer: And?

Senator Collins: And 20,000 gigabytes of sensitive personal information.

Interviewer: And what else?

Senator Collins: And an auction.

Interviewer: And anything else?

Senator Collins: And the part of the operating system that the front fell off, but there's nothing else out there.

Interviewer: Senator Collins, thanks for joining us.

Senator Collins: It's a complete void.

Interviewer: We're out of time.

Senator Collins: The internet's perfectly safe -- we're out of time? Can you call me an Uber?

Interviewer: But don't you have a Windows Phone?

Senator Collins: Yes, I did, but --

Interviewer: What happened?

Senator Collins: The front fell off.