- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

The Sign......on

“Uh-huh, I see….yes, okay”


I was talking on a wireless headset, linked to a sophisticated voice over IP telephone system which connected to a vast network of fileservers, routers, fiber-optic patch panels and other complicated devices. I am a consultant supporting thousands of advanced computers for a massive work force at the Large Corporation. My skills are razor sharp and I use an array of complex tools to resolve difficult problems for my demanding customers.


My name is Spinner, Richard Spinner, but everyone calls me Rick. Mainly, because Rick is my real name. I was just taking Richard out for a test drive….not sure it rides right.


“Understood,” I said, reaching for one of the aforementioned complex tools. “All right, mom, I get it. I know how to take care of the stupid cat. Have a nice vacation, goodbye.” Then using the complex scissors I had just pulled from my complex desk drawer, I snipped the cable connecting my telephone to the wall jack.


My partner, Nacho Flaherty, was leaning back in his chair, watching me. “Technical difficulties?”

“Kind of. It’s the darnedest thing. Every time my mom calls the phone cord just snaps in two.”

“Better call the telecom department,” Nacho said.

“I can’t, my phone doesn’t work.”


Just then a man carrying a sizable file folder approached us. He glanced at me then at Nacho. “Gentlemen,” he said, sounding serious. “Are you ready?”

“Like a rooster in a hen house,” I said.

“Uh….good, I think. All right let’s go.”

I folded my arms. “Not until we get some answers.”


“My point exactly.” I unclipped my ID badge, held it up so the guy could see my creds and said, “I’m a consultant, Sir. What’s this all about?”


The guy looked at Nacho and said, “Is Spinner always a mad man or did he forget to take his medicine?”

Nacho shrugged. “What you see is what you get.”

“Come on, Rick.” The guy was looking at me, now. “The SSO meeting starts in a few minutes and there are some things I want to discuss first.”

“The SSO meeting?” I said. “Are you talking about this Super Silly Organization?”


The man stared at me, blinked, looked at Nacho and started to speak but my partner cut him off.

“Trust me,” Nacho said, casting a glare my way. “He does not take anything, prescribed or otherwise. Rick is Rick, its genetics, nothing else. But we know about the Single Sign On meeting, we’re ready.”


I frowned. Single Sign On? Where had I heard of this before? Then it came to me. “Isn’t that the initiative to manage multiple logon IDs and passwords through a single interface?”

The guy nodded, smiling broadly. “Yes, that’s it. People are tired of having so many different IDs and passwords. You know, one password to get your email, another one for the company Intranet, a different one for online banking and so on. With Single Sign On, folks can synchronize all those passwords.”

“But,” I said. “Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of different IDs and passwords? I mean, isn’t security the reason for all those logins? What if some malcontent figures out how to use my SSO ID?”


Nacho made a face and said, “Malcontent?”

I grinned. “Like that? It’s a good word. I’m going to use it as often as I can.” I looked at the guy with the big file folder. “So how about it? SSO seems like a dumb idea.”

“There are systems in place to protect against such things.”

“Against malcontents?”

The guy nodded and said, “For example, with a Central Authentication Service running on a web-enabled, LDAP inhabited, back-end routerbase, we can ping unwanted intruders, pin-pointing the attack by shutting down the IP short-stack and blocking access, thereby denying infiltration of our Actively Disturbed Environment.”


Thankfully, Nacho smacked my head just in time to straighten out my eyeballs because they were beginning to roll back into my skull. Looking at Nacho, well, trying to look at him---one eyeball was still kind of wobbling around, I nodded my appreciation. Then I said to the Techno-babbler, “So you have erected an impenetrable barrier of technology to protect the fiefdom?”

“Exactly. You see? Single Sign On is a really great thing. Everyone is going to love it.”

“No malcontents?” I said.

“Nope, not a one.”

“What if someone gives out their ID and password and a malcontent misuses it?”

“Providing that information would be a violation of Corporate Policy, it won’t happen.”


“Ah yes,” I said. “Corporate Policy, the final brick in the wall.”


With that, Mr. Impenetrable headed off to the SSO meeting.


Watching him go, I said to Nacho, “A few weeks back, I took a service call on that guy’s computer. He was too busy to stick around and log in when needed, so he gave me his ID and password. I wonder how fast the castle will crumble when I give that information to my ex-con, hacker cousin?”

Nacho nodded stoically and said, “The malcontent cometh."