Friday, July 31, 2009

Hey Boo-boo, look where they hid the picnic basket!

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I came across this NY Times article about a small black bear named Yellow-Yellow that was able to defeat a well designed bear resistant food storage container.

The article includes some interesting lessons:
  • The method usually recommended for protecting food by placing it in a bag hung from a tree is routinely being defeated by bears that have figured out that an easily cut/bitten rope is usually not far away from their goal.
  • Never underestimate the power of perseverance, patience, and practice. Intelligent defenders can often be outwitted by the less brainy with an excess of spare time and focus. Or put another way, multi-taskers don't always win.
  • The folks at Bear Vault clearly get it (vis-a-vis their adversary) whereas, sadly, the folks at software companies often do not.
  • And a great quote attributed to a Yellowstone Park Ranger on bear-proof garbage cans was "Turns out there is considerable overlap between the stupidest human and the smartest bear."
  • Never, ever, market anything as being [something]-proof.
Interestingly I didn't find this on a camping or scouting site but through an information security site Emergent Chaos under the topic "Penetration Testing Your Products."

BTW. If you don't know about penetration testing, basically it is the practice of testing the security of something (such as a computer or network) by breaking into it. While this sounds all very exciting, the key thing to remember above all is that any testing of this kind requires formal permission (i.e. contracts). Any testing without permission (and I mean the kind of permission that can hold up in a court of law) could find you charged with a felony, indictable offense, or similar serious criminal charge in many countries. For more information see Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking.


Gordo said...

Now that's excellent! Mother Nature will always figure out a way around us. It just takes time.

HID Light said...

Nice blog.Thanks for information on topic.