‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all round the ‘net
Servers hummed gently, and spun their diskettes;
The cabling was routed, panels patched with care,
In hopes that pager duties would be spared;
Sysadmins were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of server-farms danced in their heads;
Engineers played Halo, and I New Pokemon Snap,
‘fore heading to bed for a long winter’s nap,
When from the nightstand there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the cellphone I flew like a flash,
Threw open the pager app and buttons I mashed.
The moon reflecting on fresh-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of silver to alerts window,
My heart leapt, and I dropped my beer when
I saw it was a new “CVSS 10.”
With impact listed as dread RCE
I knew in a moment there’d be no rest for me
More rapid than eagles the hackers they came,
To pown all the routers and claim the mainframes.
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
(my nicknames for Pete, Dave, Alan and Nixon)
To the dashboards! and check the firewall!
Now check away! check away! check away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Mince pies were discarded, as was Dave’s pad thai;
So on to the servers the admins they flew
Manually checking, and re-checking too—
And then, in a twinkling, I recalled my confusion
when Dave had rejected a scanning solution.
“We don’t need it” he’d said, with a frown
“We’ll check things by hand, and not spend those pounds.”
And now on the Zoom call, flushed of cheek and barefoot
To defend his decision he was hard put
The team gave him hell for the terrible lack
of scanning solution to check the whole stack.
His eyes so red raw! he’d been on the sherry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His dour little mouth was drawn down in woe,
At the terrible choice to not spend the dough.
He tore out his hair and ground at his teeth,
Smoking from stress, it encircled his head like a wreath;
And in the background stood fiancé Kelly
Arms folded in fury as she muted the telly.
We checked manually each host ourself
As nativity candle burned lower on shelf
Our faces were grim, as scale of task spread
A long night of manual checking ahead;
We spoke not a word, but got straight to our work,
Muttering quietly how Dave was a berk,
Remote working saved us from blows
But favours to us Dave definitely owes.
As morning slow dawned, and milkman’s low whistle
Saw the task still not finished, and devops a-bristle
I heard someone exclaim, cast in monitor’s harsh light
“We should have paid for AppCheck, why’s Dave so damn tight!”
Dave sprung to his keyboard, all braced for defence,
of his prudence in avoiding unnecessary expense:
But with end of our task so nearly in sight —
We signed off of Zoom in the growing daylight.
Our tempers had strained and our voices grown hoarse
But Dave would be forgiven, of course
Provided he finally did the right thing
and reversed his decision to financially spring.
For a solid and proven vuln scanning platform
“Pick AppCheck” was the advice uniform
So next time we face such a terrible fight
We’re suitably tooled and our workload quite slight.
As we signed off to catch up on missed sleep
One last message pinged up, with 16-bit “bleep”
‘Thanks guys, and yes you were right’
‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.’
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