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A Visit from Cyber Nicholas


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T’was the night before Christmas, and all over the ‘net
hardly a packet was stirring; Well…’bout 6 gigs a sec.
The Internet background noise whizzes nonstop
— even after the last Admin has punched off the clock.

But buried deep in that noise was a stray protocol.
A command-and-control message within the firewall.
A lone zombie replies to a ping and chirps out
secret signals, to a group who carry some clout.

Legion elves, running ops, scan the networks they’ve pwned;
Seek out mischief, find the troublemakers entrenched in their zones.
With this singular mission they tap at their keys,
and run nmap with umit, and Nessus, as they please.

While sniffing the wires and logging results,
the elf Red Team trades barbs and exchanges insults.
Not with other elves, but with their botmaster rivals,
who work feverishly to pump out some network denials.

For the malware guys knew Santa’s spies were inside,
and they knew their activities they couldn’t hide.
The fat man frowns on phishing, spam attacks,
and false accusations of unpaid income tax.

The bad guys fired off withering DDoS volleys
hoping their adversaries wouldn’t recover from the follies.
But the wily elves weren’t put off by that distraction,
and launched, in return, their own group action:

A packet flood of Christmas cheer so profound
it drove the cybercriminals deeper underground.
It killed all their malware, delisted bad ISPs,
and brought the miscreant operators to their knees.

And today we give thanks to those noble cyberelves,
who took it upon their little elf-hatted selves
to do battle with bad nerds in the middle of the night,
so we could sleep soundly, for once, and with no end in sight.

— Andrew Brandt

(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

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