Exclusive report from Paisley, Sunday:
Cosmopolitan epicentre of the central belt. Where the citizens’ love affair with the Heedrum Hodrum Collider continues to blossom.
But last night the people of Paisley were left to drown their sorrows following a cyber attack on their beloved Collider, causing storm und dung (No German dictionary, Cuddis? Ed.) in this scientifically super-savvy city.
Newsnet.Scot reporter, Ben McDhui (Achiltibuie Hughie is on vacation) today caught up with the Collider’s Boffin-in-Chief, Prof Wolfgang Vier, and his team as they huddled together for warmth around a brazier in the Collider’s carpark.
‘Suspects include a number of foreign actors,’ professor Vier said, stamping his feet against the bitter cold. ’Possibly Gerard Depardieu, or Boris Karloff, even though Boris’s been broon breid since 1969 — you can’t trust anyone these days.’
‘The attack drove a horse and two coaches through an experiment that had been months in the planning. We have long known about idiot savants: Prodigies that have an emotional meltdown on failing to recite the 3 times table but who can happily play a note-perfect rendition of Mozart’s ‘Piano Concerto number 21’ on the ukulele, without sheet music. With the recent de-frosting and re-animation of Gordon Brown we were keen to learn whether he was an idiot savant.’
Incident investigators say the cyber attack completely trashed the tape deck of the Commodore 64 which is, quite literally, the dynamo at the heart of the epicentre of the keystone of the collider’s cyber-hub and without which the Collider’s CPU can neither cause collisions nor flush the toilets.’
‘MI6 think the attack originated in Minsk,’ the professor said. ‘The signal then bounced back and forth at random like a ping pong ball thrown up a close, between a string of anonymous servers which could have been anywhere between Tora-Bora and Torphins. The spooks say the signal was then boosted as it passed through the Space Invaders console in the seating section of the New Union Chippie in Falkirk. Thus re-energised, it was a mere hop, skip and jump across cyber-space at warp factor three to our Commodore 64.’
‘Luckily the Collider has a retaliatory capacity. We use the heating coil from Doctor Funf’s electric blanket as a transmitter. This allows us to intercept radio waves and through a cunning and patented array of valves from an old Rediffusion rental TV, we can replace Radio Scotland transmissions with white noise. A target might be listening to a blatantly skewed phone-in. One of those where independence-supporting callers are automatically routed to a handset in an unmanned U-bend storage warehouse in Kidderminster. And suddenly, as the Collider’s counter-measures hit their radio’s loudspeaker circuits, the whole programme starts to sound like Darth Vader after he’s been kicked in the nuts.’
‘When the news of this technology leaked, thousands of Scots jammed our switchboard asking whether they could set up a standing order to receive white noise instead of Radio Scotland. We launched a pilot scheme. Early feedback showed mixed reactions. Some respondents said that the standard of journalism at BBC Scotland rose dramatically from day one. Others said they couldn’t tell the difference.’
Had they increased their security level at the Collider, since the attack, McDhui asked. ’Yes,’ professor Vier said, ’We have always had state of the art security systems. Long before the cyber attack we introduced motion capture technology in place of pin numbers to screen access to the Collider facility.
Staff had to stand in front of a special camera and execute sixteen bars of the Charleston before the doors hissed open. But in the immediate aftermath of the attack we hiked our security status from ‘Apple Blossom White’ to ‘Eggshell Blue’ (‘Skylark’ in the Dulux Range).’
Did that work?
The professor considered the question for a moment, then said, ‘It might have done, but Doctor Funf, overly keen to head off a future attack, added several new layers of complexity to the door-entry algorithm which caused havoc. To the original mandatory Charleston he added the more theatrical elements of the Hokey Cokey, a kneecap-swivelling dash of James Brown and two martial art katas. In the end only a sixth dan Tai Chi master with a City and Guilds in ballroom dancing and a large collection of soul albums could have gained entry. Nobody’s been able to get inside since the attack. Which is why we are standing in this carpark freezing our knackers off.
How much harm was done?
‘Well, we can always buy another tape machine, I suppose. But the data from the Gordon Brown experiment has gone forever. Is he an idiot savant or not? When the tape drive melted, the needle on the Collider’s gauge — we’re hoping to get another gauge next year, it’s in the budget — stopped dead in the middle of its arc.’
‘Did this mean that Gordon Brown was an idiot savant or not? Or was he, like Humdinger’s Cat, an idiot or a savant? We are devastated that this cyber attack means we may never know.’