27 December 2006


Via Makeda 55, I learn about a funny email exchange between a civilian and a tech guy.
OK here it is: I need an adjustment to my college GPA. Is this an absurd request?
Absurd no, difficult yes. Really depends on the college, security in place, the amount of databases required to truly update, log servers to compromise to remove evidence, type of access required to access the systems (internet? LAN? dialup? carrier pigeon?), and a dozen other things that come into play.
The tech guy starts pulling the civilian's leg.
First, let's be clear. You are soliciting me to break the law and hack into a computer across state lines. That is a federal offense and multiple felonies. Obviously I can't trust anyone and everyone that mails such a request, you might be an FBI agent, right?

So, I need three things to make this happen:

1. A picture of a squirrel or pigeon on your campus. One close-up, one with background that shows buildings, a sign, or something to indicate you are standing on the campus.

2. The information I mentioned so I can find the records once I get into the database.

3. Some idea of what I get for all my trouble.

A squirrel. Or a pigeon. Okay.

Things get a little out of hand, eventually. And there's even a bit of a political dimension.


cynsimone said...

Very entertaining. This was good for me to laugh at. Didn't quite make it through homework from weekend before.

TheWayOfTheGun said...

Ah, but even if the hacker was on the level, there's a very good reason to ask for a squirrel or pigeon in the shot: It helps verify the legitimacy of the other party by raising the standard of proof that they have access to the campus in question.

Recall that there is a lot of overlap between weird and unusual. Now try a thought experiment: Find me a picture of a building on a semi-well-known campus, say Illinois Wesleyan. How long did your mental simulation of a Google image search take you? Now try fetching a picture of a squirrel with a campus building in the background...

It's still not airtight, but it's a significant step forward.

d a r k c h i l d e said...

Google image search? "ILLINOIS WESLEYAN" --> [right click] SAVE AS "SCHOOL"


Google imge search? "Squirrel" --> [right click] SAVE AS "SQUIRREL"


Open "SCHOOL" picture. Open "SQUIRREL" picture --> clip path on squirrel and get rid of any background. CTRL-A to select all of the cute little squirrel image and d-r-a-g it on top of the "SCHOOL" image to have it appear on the top layer.

Manuver cute little fuzzy creature into appropriate scale and perspective [give it a little shadow if you're feeling a little saucey] and flatten image.