Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the security guy and the frog

a couple of years ago my boss came up to me and started spinning a tale... he told me to imagine i was walking along when all of a sudden i encounter this frog, but instead of just an ordinary frog this is a special frog because it talks... apparently the frog says that it wasn't always a frog and that if i kiss it it will be come a beautiful woman (not to mention other tempting suggestions)... so when my boss finishes this tale he asks me "would you kiss the frog?"... my answer?
at this point he proceeds to tell me (and the others in the room) this humourous tale of the engineer and the frog, the punchline of which (with his telling of it at least) has the engineer saying "women are alright, but a talking frog is really cool!"... he got quite a chuckle out of my apparently being so similar to this stereotypical engineer in the story, and has brought it up in passing a number of times since then...

the wording of the story makes it pretty clear that it's underlining the differences in values between the geeky engineer and a normal person (the engineer values a talking frog over a beautiful woman) but as i explained to my boss, my answer, my choice had nothing to do with those sorts of evaluations...

the reality is that it's not really a choice between a beautiful woman and a talking frog - if both were present at the same time then that would be the choice (and i would certainly choose the woman over the frog) - but in reality the choice is whether or not to believe the frog when it makes those promises... to me, kissing a frog for the promise of a beautiful woman is like giving up my passwords for a candy bar, it's a strategically bad move, and there are any number of ways it could backfire... the reality is that my answer (and the answer of any security guy worth his salt) comes from one place and one place only -
i don't trust the frog*...
(*in fact, i don't trust much at all, and that's probably what gives me an edge over the average person with respect to security)