Security's greatest threat? Dumb design
This is one of those debates that has been going on for as long as human beings have been building tools that they weren't going to just use for themselves but share with other people. In tech, this debate would have been a lot different even a decade ago, when virtually every tool in the computer industry required a manual and some training (or, at least a trial-and-error period). Today, the user expectations are different and the resources and capabilities of our product builders are a lot better.
I agree with Ryan that there's always going to be a level of human curiosity that will get people in trouble no matter how good the tools are, and there are always going to be some specialized, sophisticated tools that require a higher level of training. But, the vast majority of tech products need to get to the point where they are entirely self-evident and require no instructions. We're not there yet. Product builders need to get a lot more serious about human-centric design, and I think they will over the next decade as computer products follow the lead of consumer electronics. That's why I'm going to give Justin the nod in this week's debate.
Doc's final thoughts
Doc has to agree with Justin on this one and take Ryan to task for thinking so poorly of users. The bad guys are getting better and better at luring folks into their schemes, and Doc doubts very much that many people are falling for the old “Brittany Spears Naked” bit these days. You know, Ryan, that it’s not that simple anymore, and Doc’s willing to bet you’ve been fooled into opening something you thought was innocent.
Justin has it right – it’s time to put even more effort into security and shore up our information resources. In other areas such as our food supply and our drug supply, we’ve built in systems to protect the manufacturing and distribution chains so that problems are relatively rare. Why should information be any different?
Yes, there will always be bad guys and mischief makers out there trying to game the system. But private enterprise (perhaps with a little more government support) is pretty resourceful and should be able to keep one step ahead of those wishing to bring systems down. Of course, users need to exhibit some basic common sense, but in the end, technology should be as foolproof as possible. Don’t let the manufacturers of our software and hardware off the hook here – they need to step up the effort and provide stable, hard-to-hack products.
Now please, Ryan, can you send Doc that link to the Brittany Spears photos?