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James Bond, while working on a top-secret case for many weeks in deep enemy territory, finally collected and stored lots of critical files on his tight-security Linux system. Even though the system was on the internet, no unauthorized user could ever break-in and access the files marked For-Your-Eyes-Only. He then secretly contacted his group (M, Q, Moneypenny, Etc) to process the files. After 30 minutes, they all responded that the system said "No Access". So Bond tried to access the files, and true enough, the system said "No Access".

Meanwhile some other folks (probably double-agents or hackers from SPECTRE) had read all the files. Bond realised that he had made a big mistake, out of habit.


What mistake did Bond commit, that all his work was leaked so easily ?


FYI 1 : Here the tags for this question are important.

FYI 2 : He quickly recovered from this situation to prevent further leakage.

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  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Is knowledge of James Bond needed to answer this question? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 2 '15 at 19:03
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    $\begingroup$ I've never picked up a Bond novel or seen any of the films. I know nothing of the story other than that he's a gunslinging MI6 agent who sleeps with lots of women. Do I have a hope of answering this puzzle correctly? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 2 '15 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ The username is Bond, James Bond. $\endgroup$ – leoll2 May 2 '15 at 19:13
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    $\begingroup$ You edited in a new tag! Well, I know next to nothing of Bond and not much of computers. I guess this puzzle is not for me. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 2 '15 at 19:13
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    $\begingroup$ It's pretty bizarre to think that bonds .profile setup would have octal permission setup as 007. The most likely one is, you got that right, 770. Also, most likely, the "highly secure" Linux system would have "chmod rights" restricted to SUDO users only. But hey, this is James Bond after all. $\endgroup$ – Annjawn May 4 '15 at 7:30
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Well perhaps

he saved the files with the wrong permissions — i.e., 007 (no access for owner or group, but full access for everyone else) instead of 770 (full access for owner and group, no access for anyone else).

(Probably an easy mistake to make when you've had the same code number for over 60 years.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Why did the hackers get in though? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 2 '15 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Well apparently Linux isn't all that secure after all :-D $\endgroup$ – squeamish ossifrage May 2 '15 at 19:52
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    $\begingroup$ Dat code number though. That's priceless. $\endgroup$ – gatherer818 May 3 '15 at 1:39
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    $\begingroup$ @squeamishossifrage Dammit people, after all we put into Linux D: $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. May 3 '15 at 4:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Prem Nice puzzle although you don't need to know anything about James Bond besides the fact that he's 007. $\endgroup$ – pacoverflow May 3 '15 at 8:01
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Bond isn't the only user who has accidentally typed

chmod -R username files

when they meant to type

chown -R username files

Unfortunately, Bond is the only user for whom typing

chmod -R 007 files

silently has catastrophic results.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well it's highly "UNLIKELY" that bond would have the 'permission' to use 'chown' or as a matter of fact anyone else other than the super admin. $\endgroup$ – Annjawn May 4 '15 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ @annjawn sudo -R 007 secret_docs.txt instead of sudo chown -R 007 secret_docs.txt $\endgroup$ – Yakk May 5 '15 at 18:25
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The cores clues :

Linux :

Interspersed in the text , I have the words "user" + "group" + "other" which , when coupled with Linux , points to file permission.

James Bond :

Common knowledge of James Bond is that he is 007.

Put together :

James Bond set the file permissions to 007 so he (user) could not access, this group could not access, but others got easy access !!!!

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1
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Don't we all have a backdoor ? Magic password functionality from easter-egg source inserted in-stream by the compiler ? (puts on Fark hat) - Was a woman involved ? A double agent in the room at the time ?

Also - if on the internet, one must look to the host, and encryption of the block device, hopefully a steganographic cluster-scrambling filesystem using RAID2 or RAID3 (think amulet halves).

OR were the files the property of the hackers/SPECTRE in the first place (and stolen from them) - presumably they can read their own files ?

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice thinking. It has a lot of techie-ness, though it does not match the given clues. $\endgroup$ – Prem May 3 '15 at 10:31
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    $\begingroup$ It's the joke/pun requirement that throws me, some humour involved, but so much material. The double entendre ? Bond films wer like episodes of the "A" team for a whille in that there was a "formula" of elements that seemed to be compulsory. $\endgroup$ – mckenzm May 4 '15 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, your answer DOES have the "formula" of elements for a Bond situation !!!! $\endgroup$ – Prem May 4 '15 at 19:00
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There are two valid options, in my opinion:

  1. His password was stolen, so the bandits moved the files to their servers. Bond could get back his data by directly facing his enemies or locating enemies' IP.
  2. Hijackers sent a malware into Bond's computer. To recover his data, Bond intercepted the flux of information between his computer and hackers' server, being able to locate them.
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    $\begingroup$ (1) Unfortunately, Password stolen will not explain why Bond himself got "No Access" (2) Recovering from malware is not easy, atleast not as easy as "chmod". $\endgroup$ – Prem May 3 '15 at 10:27
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The hacker switched their account with a no-login account, which simply refuses to accept login no matter how. The hacker, unfortunately, forgot to switch theirs. Since their account is the only one not 'no-login', 007 found him

Second sentence is possible, if we're talking about double agent.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice thinking, but . . . If login is the problem, then Bond will not be able to login. He also does not have the login credentials of the hackers. So no easy way to recover. $\endgroup$ – Prem May 3 '15 at 10:29
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I'll have a go at this.

The password to the system is "No Access". All Bond's group needed to do when "No Access" came up on the screen was to type in those very words.

Bond's group didn't realise this, but some of the double agents did, so they hacked it.

Another possibility (making this into something of a trick question - maybe this is what the tag suggests?):

Bond simply authorised the wrong group of people to access his files: those in the country he was operating in rather than those in his home organisation.

In this case, the "out of habit" could mean that this is what he normally does because he's usually operating in his home country. (Apologies if this contradicts Bond canon - I've never read or seen any of it!)

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  • $\begingroup$ Just wondering why his team forgot the password $\endgroup$ – leoll2 May 2 '15 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @leoll2 Maybe he didn't tell them the password, assuming they'd realise it when "No Access" came up on the screen? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 2 '15 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ IQ>190 required for such deduction, eheh! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 May 2 '15 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ @leoll2 "Speak, friend, and enter" = "Say 'friend' and enter" ;-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 2 '15 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, Password answer will not explain why Bond himself got "No Access", though "Bond simply authorised the wrong group" comes a little close. $\endgroup$ – Prem May 3 '15 at 10:24
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They've just switched HDDs. Bond's OS was replaced with a similar-looking one. The login screen was easily modified (it's open-source anyway) to send login data to attackers over Internet. They have an original HDD, and use his login data to access its contents. Bond and his colleagues gets "No access", because attackers didn't knew his login data when they made a replacement HDD. If they've modified OS to log in no matter what is the password, this attack could fail, because, for example, paranoid Bond could test wrong password first, and would be thus notified of the attack by the fact he logged in.

So we should remember that

  1. BIOS should be set up to load only from an HDD with a certain serial number. But it's still possible to copy a serial number from the old HDD.
  2. You should remember serial number, because the motherboard or BIOS chip could be replaced too.
  3. Use a good old version of Truecrypt, Bitlocker, whatever. You will see that's not your system by the absence of pre-OS screen. That screen could be falsified too, though.
  4. Even when you have HDD encrypted, you still have a keyboard to be physically hacked (who will notice a little Attiny chip and GPRS transceiver inside?), and anyone can do that if they have access to your workplace when you're absent.
  5. There's a noise out of your VGA cable that can be received several meters around you, so bad guys will see what data you're collecting, and hidden cameras are all around.
  6. Don't ever, EVER leave something or do something anywhere near your enemies.
  7. Don't write any more puzzles with infinite ways to answer like this one.
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  • $\begingroup$ A BIG "-1". Nowhere does this answer match the given clues. There is only one correct answer (with slight variational possibilities) and atleast 2 folks have got it right, and few others have got atleast a few clues. $\endgroup$ – Prem May 5 '15 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Prem Could you elaborate on "nowhere"? $\endgroup$ – polkovnikov.ph May 5 '15 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ Did you read the question ? Did you also read the accepted answer ? $\endgroup$ – Prem May 5 '15 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Prem Yes, I did. Yes, that answer was a total nonsense. $\endgroup$ – polkovnikov.ph May 5 '15 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ Now, 25+ folks have upvoted the question & 50+ folks have upvoted the accepted answer, but you are still entitled to your opinions/views. So I would now like to revert my "-1", because there can be no arguments over opinions/views, but that voting is locked. $\endgroup$ – Prem May 5 '15 at 15:14

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