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SuperMac Sentinel: Customer Support tale

[email protected] (John Gibbon) wrote:
>I got this from a friend, who got it from a friend, 
>	who got it from a friend ...
> --------------------------------------
>SuperMac records a certain number of technical support calls at
>random, to  keep tabs on customer satisfaction.  By wild "luck", they
>managed to catch the following conversation on tape.
>Some poor SuperMac TechSport got a call from some middle level
>official from the legitimate government of Trinidad.  The fellow spoke
>very good English, and fairly calmly described the problem.
>It seemed that was a coup attempt in progress at that moment. However,
>the national armoury for that city was kept in the same building as
>the Legislature, and it seems that there was a combination lock on the
>door to the armoury. Of the people in the capitol city that day, only
>the  Chief of the Capitol Guard and the Chief Armourer knew the
>combination to the lock, and they had already been killed.
>So, this officer of the government of Trinidad continued, the problem
>is this.  The combination to the lock is stored in a file on the
>Macintosh, but the file has been encrypted with the SuperMac product
>called Sentinel.  Was there any chance, he asked, that there was a
>"back door" to the application, so they could get the combination,
>open the armoury door, and defend the Capitol Building and the
>legitimately elected government of Trinidad against the insurgents?
>All the while he is asking this in a very calm voice, there is the
>sound of gunfire in the background. The Technical Support guy put the
>person on hold.
>A phone call to the phone company verified that the origin of the call
>was in fact Trinidad.  Meanwhile, there was this mad scramble to see
>if anybody knew of any "back doors" in the Sentinel program. As it
>turned out, Sentinel uses DES to encrypt the files, and there was no
>known back door.  The Tech Support fellow told the customer that aside
>from trying to guess the password, there was no way through Sentinel,
>and that they'd be better off trying to physically destroy the lock.
>The official was very polite, thanked him for the effort, and hung up.
>That night, the legitimate government of Trinidad fell.  One of the
>BBC reporters mentioned that the casualties seemed heaviest in the
>capitol, where for some reason, there seemed to be little return fire
>from the government forces.

Russell Earl Whitaker	                       [email protected]
Webmaster, Silicon Junction			   
Silicon Graphics, Inc.	                      Mountain View, CA