Slashdot Develops Solution To Corporate Firewall Problem

Fake News written by James Baughn on Wednesday, February 23, 2005

from the slashing-and-burning-those-bits dept.

HOLLAND, MICHIGAN -- Last month, when Taco Boy was digging through the statistics for Slashdot, he noticed a disturbing trend: less and less traffic was hitting the site during daylight hours in North America.

"It's obvious that a growing number of American companies are limiting or restricting access to Slashdot by their employees," said Taco Boy. "I couldn't sit here and let that happen."

As a solution to the problem, Taco Boy developed a write-only Perl script [yes, we know that's redundant -Ed.] that implements a new protocol for bypassing corporate firewalls: HTTP-over-Gopher-over-PigLatin-over-SSH-over-ROT13-over-HTTP.

"This might seem like a convoluted process, but it works against many firewalls, especially because most network administrators have never heard of Gopher," said the Slashdot founder. "Meanwhile, the Pig Latin translation is a nice touch for fooling dumb content filters."

The ad-hoc protocol, dubbed SixLayerBurrito, is now available as a Firefox extension or an ActiveX applet (for those unlucky serfs that remain shackled to Internet Explorer at work). Content filters that look for keywords like "hot grits" and "you insensitive clod" will miss the ROT13-encoded-PigLatin, making it possible again to more efficiently waste time at work by browsing Slashsot.

It didn't take long for people to start deploying the protocol in the trenches. Said one satisfied Dothead, "My Pointy-Haird Boss simply doesn't understand how important Slashdot is to my professional development. Where else will I learn about building Beowulf clusters and shooting people out of a cannon? Thanks to SixLayerBurrito, I can get my hourly Slashdot fix without any hassles."

Taco Boy is already planning an updated version, dubbed SevenLayerBurrito, that will include "content-shape-shifting" technology to fool more sophisticated firewalls. "The idea," he explained, "is to translate dubious phrases like 'evil Microsoft behavior' and 'pouring hot grits' into acceptable PHB-friendly terms like 'value-added synergy' and 'paradigm enrichments'. When content filters see these buzzwords, the software will automatically flag the site as 'work-friendly' and grant access."

As an example, a simple phrase-substitution algorithm could seemlessly translate a typical Slashdot post from this:

First post! Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of Rick Bermans fired out of a cannon with hot grits? I, for one, welcome our new South Korean overlords, you insensitive clod. All your Natalie Portman belong to us!

Into this:

Proactive synergies! Can you leverage supply-chain incentives to monetize shareholder benefits with value-added dividends? Our team, with quality control, manages to empower corporate excellence for our valued customers, you hostile enabler. All your ad-hoc paradigms integrate within our domain!

The corporate firewall would be none the wiser. To make sure that the firewall administrator doesn't just block all access to "slashdot.org", Taco Boy has also registered "corporate-excellence-synergies.com" and other buzzword-enriched domain names as decoys.

"If your boss accuses you of wasting time at Slashdot," said Taco Boy with an evil grin, "you can now truthfully say, 'No, I was merely learning valuable workplace communication skills at workplace-communication-paradigms.com'. And if your boss starts to dig through the firewall access log, he won't see anything incriminating. Bwahahahaha!"

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