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Day Zero: Glossary of Terms

Published: Nov 17, 2020

  • Atlas
  • MongoDB 4.4
  • DevOps

By Michael Lynn

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Day Zero

STOP! We're about to spoil some of the details of the movie. If you haven't seen Day Zero, pause this article, and go watch it now.

Here are just a few of the actors, terms and concepts presented in the MongoDB Mini-thriller movie Day Zero. Be sure to read the accompanying blog article for additional information.



Malena uses Charts to display data from Operand.

MongoDB Charts is a tool to create visual representations of your MongoDB data. ... MongoDB Charts makes communicating your data a straightforward process by providing built-in tools to easily share and collaborate on visualizations. Malena uses Charts to display data from the Operand databases - such as incoming, and newly registered users.

#Day Zero

Day Zero

A zero-day vulnerability is a computer-software vulnerability that is unknown to those who should be interested in mitigating the vulnerability. Until the vulnerability is mitigated, hackers can exploit it to adversely affect computer programs, data, additional computers or a network. Day Zero is a play on this term.

#Encryption At Rest

Encryption of data at-rest

During one of the challenges, Malena must choose between client-side field level encryption (CSFLE), or encryption at rest. This term is used to describe the state of data that has been stored on disk in an encrypted state as opposed to in plain text.

Encryption at rest, when used in conjunction with transport encryption and good security policies that protect relevant accounts, passwords, and encryption keys, can help ensure compliance with security and privacy standards.

A key reason Malena chooses application-level encryption, or client-side field level encryption is that she learns that the malicious AI has administrative access to the infrastructure and as such, likely has access to the key management system.

#Fox and Rabbit

Fox and Rabbit

Stories of interactions between foxes, and rabbits are as old as time. Wiley rabbits have been outsmarting cunning foxes in native american folk lore and western cultural children's stories for centuries. In nearly every case, the rabbit is the victor.

Throughout the course of the film used fox and rabbit avatars from Operand as visual cues. We see the villainous fox snicker at Malena's failures and the Rabbit wink to acknowledge her successes.

These are initial sketches of the avatars.


The hero of our story and a successful game developer.

The hero of our story and a successful game developer. Lorna plays the part of Malena. Malena started Operand with Ji, and Guillaume. Malena and Ji, forced Guillaume out and he's got an ax to grind or so it would seem.


The game designer of our story and a successful game developer.

Game designer and founding partner of Operand. Justine plays the part of Ji. Ji is not your ordinary game designer. She displays her thirst for power in the opening scene. Ji has been trying to force Malena to release the newest level despite Malena's insistence that they delay.


The villain of our story and a successful game developer.

Former partner and co-founder of Operand. In the initial scenes of the movie, it's clear the Guillaume, no longer a part of Operand, is not happy about seeing Malena at the launch party. Guillaume was forced out of Operand by Ji and Malena.

#Level 13

The hero of our story and a successful game developer.

The latest (and still unreleased) level of the massively popular game Operand. Level 13 is at the center of our thriller. Ji has been pushing Malena to release the level to bring even more gamers onto the Operand platform.

#Client-Side Field Level Encryption (CSFLE)

Making a choice

Malena must choose between FLE and Encryption at rest in one of the challenges. This is a choice that many developers must make.

Also referred to as Client-Side Field Level Encryption. Applications can encrypt fields in documents prior to transmitting data over the wire to the server. Only applications with access to the correct encryption keys can decrypt and read the protected data. Deleting an encryption key renders all data encrypted using that key as permanently unreadable.

For example, a MongoDB cluster enforcing authentication uses TLS encryption to protect data in transit. The cluster also uses the MongoDB encrypted storage engine to secure data on disk.

Malena uses Client-Side Field Level Encryption to protect elements in the Operand User collection.

Read more about encryption and key management.


Operand - the name of the game

In mathematics, the following expression shows an example of operators and operands:

3 + 9 = 11

In the above example, '+' is the symbol for the operation (addition).

The operand 3 is one of the inputs followed by the addition operator, and the operand 9 is the other input necessary for the operation.

An operand, then, is also referred to as "one of the inputs for an operation"... but in the case of Day Zero, Operand is the name of the company that Malena started.

#Pause/Resume Cluster

Also referred to as Client-Side Field Level Encryption

Pausing a cluster places the resources associated with an Atlas cluster in a quiesced state reducing the hourly charges incurred. It should be noted that a paused cluster is not accessible and cannot be used by an application. Resuming the cluster returns the cluster to a running state and resumes the normal hourly charge rate.

Malena leverages pausing her level13-prod cluster while it's waiting to be released.

#Surveillance Room

Surveillance room props

What's a good techno-thriller without a dark surveillance room filled with monitors and wires sticking out from the floor and ceiling? A number of the small-ish monitors you see are SONY PVM-9040 Video Monitors - these were popular for use with security surveillance systems.

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More from this series

Day Zero
  • Day Zero: An Interactive MongoDB Thriller
  • Day Zero: Glossary of Terms


Getting to Day Zero
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