Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Aisle 3: Personal Hygeine and IEDs. (Improvised Explosive...Deodorant?)

This South Bend Tribune article is a great reflection of the culture of fear we have become accustomed to in the U.S. An entire WalMart was shut down because a suspicious package was found in the deodorant aisle. The package's contents? A shrink wrapped two pack of deodorant which was suspicious because "attached to the bottom of one was what appeared to be a piece of machinery, possibly from the plant where it was manufactured.". We cannot dismiss domestic terrorism as an impossibility, but we also need some level of rationality in our response - or we will be defusing deodorant in the personal hygeine aisle while other, more realistic security threats go unnoticed.

The line between caution and fear is a difficult one, and awareness can create unnecessary worries. As information security professionals, our responsibility is to ensure that our awareness efforts do not result in overreaction. How do you ensure that your awareness efforts don't backfire?

In this environment, the security version of Godwin's law becomes: "As an we implement more security measures, the probability of using terrorism as a justification approaches one".

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