Moments in human stupidity: Cyber-security edition

If nothing else, my job will be an endless supply of the examples of human stupidity.

So for this story to make sense, know that for some dumb reason I listen to a shit ton of cyber security podcasts. It started back when I was doing research for a short story that I was writing, and that habit stuck. Cyber-security is god damned fascinating, in the worst ways possible. And I just got really into it.

Now, I should mention that this all happened so quickly that I never bothered to give it two thoughts as it was happening, but once it was over I found myself saying ‘well, that was stupid on his part!’

The incident seems innocuous enough from the base description. It was the middle of the night during one of my night shifts when an older gentleman approached the front desk and asked me if we had phone chargers to let. I informed him that we did not as a policy, but that one of my colleagues frequently left his phone charger here, and what type of phone did he have.

It turns out that his phone was a match for the charger, and he gratefully walked away with it.

Seem innocent enough to you? Well, there’s a slight problem. Here is how he introduced himself: “Hey, I’m so-and-so, a state senator from that-one-state”

I later looked him up, and he is indeed who he said he is. He’s got his own wikipedia page and everything. And just to be clear he was in the senate of that state, not a US senator from that state.

Let’s go ahead and make matters worse. He starts to walk away with this phone charger when he notices that there is no brick attached to it, but just the USB plug end. He comes back to inquire if the rooms have USB wall sockets, and I have to admit that I have no earthly idea. But I offer to let him plug the phone into my computer and charge it like that. He does, then walks away. Leaving me, a fucking stranger, with his fucking phone.

Again, the guy is a US senator.

So, for those of you who haven’t gotten the story yet, the last thing you should do is plug your device into a strange anything. If you are not confident that you really know where the device is coming from, it should not be touching your device. And then the offer to let someone attach your phone to their computer? That’s pretty risky. But to then just leave it in the hands of strangers? By the way, he left it with me for hours, overnight, while I had pretty much fuck else all to do except to blog about it.

I feel bad for the good people of that-one-state, and their technologically-inept senator.

(Someone who actually knows anything about Cyber security is likely saying to themselves: “You’re one to talk. You host this blog on WordPress. If there were cyber security news bingo, ‘WordPress Vulnerability’ would be the central free space.” That person would be right. Also, I don’t care.)

Also, I hate WordPress’ dictionary.



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