View Full Version : Vintage Comedy

November 11th, 2006, 01:10 AM
You folks might remember the classic comedy routine from Abbott & Costello,
namely "Who's on First". This is a parody of that routine (from the net) where
Costello wants to buy a Computer from Abbott:

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store.
Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den,
and I'm thinking about buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the names Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my names Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look in the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals,
track expenses and run my business. What have you got?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend office with windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office and it has windows!
OK, lets just say, I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal.
What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W."
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some straight answers.
OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the Internet?
ABBOTT: Yes, you want Real One.
COSTELLO: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business.
Just tell me what I need!
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: If its a long movie I also want to see reel 2, 3 and 4. Can I watch them?
ABBOTT: Of course.
COSTELLO: Great, with what?
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO; OK, I'm at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?
ABBOTT: You click the blue "1."
COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?
ABBOTT: The blue "1."
COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue "W"?
ABBOTT: The blue 1 is Real One and the blue W is Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there's three words in "office for windows"!
ABBOTT: No, just one. but its the most popular Word in the world.
ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren't many other Words left.
It pretty much wiped out all the other Words.
COSTELLO: And that word is real one?
ABBOTT: Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn't even Part of Office.
COSTELLO: Stop! Don't start that again. What about financial bookkeeping;
you have anything I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled to my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off??
ABBOTT: Click on "START"..........


November 11th, 2006, 03:05 AM
LOL, I think I saw somewhere this funny virus that was uploaded to one of Xerox's mainframes in the seventies. I'll see if I can dig it up...

November 11th, 2006, 03:17 AM
Found it:

Here is a story about one of the classic computer hacks.

Back in the mid-1970s, several of the system support staff at Motorola discovered a relatively simple way to crack system security on the Xerox CP-V timesharing system. Through a simple programming strategy, it was possible for a user program to trick the system into running a portion of the program in `master mode' (supervisor state), in which memory protection does not apply. The program could then poke a large value into its `privilege level' byte (normally write-protected) and could then proceed to bypass all levels of security within the file-management system, patch the system monitor, and do numerous other interesting things. In short, the barn door was wide open.

Motorola quite properly reported this problem to Xerox via an official `level 1 SIDR' (a bug report with an intended urgency of `needs to be fixed yesterday'). Because the text of each SIDR was entered into a database that could be viewed by quite a number of people, Motorola followed the approved procedure: they simply reported the problem as `Security SIDR', and attached all of the necessary documentation, ways-to-reproduce, etc.

The CP-V people at Xerox sat on their thumbs; they either didn't realize the severity of the problem, or didn't assign the necessary operating-system-staff resources to develop and distribute an official patch.

Months passed. The Motorola guys pestered their Xerox field-support rep, to no avail. Finally they decided to take direct action, to demonstrate to Xerox management just how easily the system could be cracked and just how thoroughly the security safeguards could be subverted.

They dug around in the operating-system listings and devised a thoroughly devilish set of patches. These patches were then incorporated into a pair of programs called `Robin Hood' and `Friar Tuck'. Robin Hood and Friar Tuck were designed to run as `ghost jobs' (daemons, in UNIX terminology); they would use the existing loophole to subvert system security, install the necessary patches, and then keep an eye on one another's statuses in order to keep the system operator (in effect, the superuser) from aborting them.

One fine day, the system operator on the main CP-V software development system in El Segundo was surprised by a number of unusual phenomena. These included the following:

* Tape drives would rewind and dismount their tapes in the middle of a job. * Disk drives would seek back and forth so rapidly that they would attempt to walk across the floor. * The card-punch output device would occasionally start up of itself and punch a lace card. These would usually jam in the punch. * The console would print snide and insulting messages from Robin Hood to Friar Tuck, or vice versa. * The Xerox card reader had two output stackers; it could be instructed to stack into A, stack into B, or stack into A (unless a card was unreadable, in which case the bad card was placed into stacker B). One of the patches installed by the ghosts added some code to the card-reader driver... after reading a card, it would flip over to the opposite stacker. As a result, card decks would divide themselves in half when they were read, leaving the operator to re collate them manually.

Naturally, the operator called in the operating-system developers. They found the bandit ghost jobs running, and X'ed them... and were once again surprised. When Robin Hood was X'ed, the following sequence of events took place:

!X id1

id1: Friar Tuck... I am under attack! Pray save me! id1: Off (aborted)

id2: Fear not, friend Robin! I shall rout the Sheriff of Nottingham's men!

id1: Thank you, my good fellow!

Each ghost-job would detect the fact that the other had been killed, and would start a new copy of the recently slain program within a few milliseconds. The only way to kill both ghosts was to kill them simultaneously (very difficult) or to deliberately crash the system.

Finally, the system programmers did the latter --- only to find that the bandits appeared once again when the system rebooted! It turned out that these two programs had patched the boot-time OS image (the kernel file, in UNIX terms) and had added themselves to the list of programs that were to be started at boot time.

The Robin Hood and Friar Tuck ghosts were finally eradicated when the system staff rebooted the system from a clean boot-tape and reinstalled the monitor. Not long thereafter, Xerox released a patch for this problem.

It is alleged that Xerox filed a complaint with Motorola's management about the merry-prankster actions of the two employees in question. It is not recorded that any serious disciplinary action was taken against either of them.

November 11th, 2006, 06:05 AM
Great story Atari! I didn't know that the history of viruses goes back to that
early. Maybe, some of our senior VC members who have worked with big irons
can tell us more...

November 11th, 2006, 07:33 AM
Cute story, but I'd seen it before (http://catb.org/jargon/html/meaning-of-hack.html).

Write a pair of Bourne shell scripts, called "robin" and "tuck", to act in a similar manner. Code each to run as a daemon whose job is to make sure that the other daemon stays alive. If it dies, respawn it, taking care so that there is only ever one instance of each daemon. Snappy reparte' is optional. I'd suggest that you (a) use your own personal machine (Linux, BSD or Solaris) and (b) run as a non-root user, at least until you know your scripts work properly. No time limit. Post your results in this thread.

November 12th, 2006, 03:04 PM
LOL, already heard It once before, but more shorter.

December 7th, 2006, 02:25 PM
Here's what I slapped together. Just a proof of concept. No dangerous payload. :)

Copy the following code into a file called "robin":




alarm() {
echo "$HE... I am under attack! Pray save me!" | ${WALL}

trap "alarm ; rm ${T} ; exit" 1 2 3 15

# already running?
[ -f "$T" ] && exit 1

# record PID
echo $$ > $T

# main loop
while :
sleep ${SECS}
if [ ! -f "$H" ]; then
( echo "Fear not, friend ${HE}!" ; \
echo "I shall rout the Sheriff of Nottingham's men!" ) | ${WALL}
./$HE &

Make another copy and call it "tuck",
but edit it so that "ME=tuck" and "HE=robin".

Make both scripts executable:

# chmod u+x robin tuck

Start the daemons:

# rm /tmp/robin.pid /tmp/tuck.pid
# ./robin & ./tuck &

Kill one daemon:

# cat /tmp/tuck.pid | xargs kill

Stop both daemons:

# cd /tmp
# cat *.pid | xargs kill

Have fun.