Schneier on Security: Human/Bear Security Trade-Off

Bruce Schneier has a blog post that talks about trashcan usability in terms of finding the right balance between security and ease of use: Human/Bear Security Trade-Off
From the blog post, ending with one of the best quotes ever:

Back in the 1980s, Yosemite National Park was having a serious problem with bears: They would wander into campgrounds and break into the garbage bins. This put both bears and people at risk. So the Park Service started installing armored garbage cans that were tricky to open — you had to swing a latch, align two bits of handle, that sort of thing. But it turns out it’s actually quite tricky to get the design of these cans just right. Make it too complex and people can’t get them open to put away their garbage in the first place. Said one park ranger, “There is considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smartest bears and the dumbest tourists.”

Take a look at the comments on the post where all manner of clever and cynical comments add to the post.

2 thoughts on “Schneier on Security: Human/Bear Security Trade-Off

  1. davidnunez

    I dunno. I kind of like security design wrt bears.

    I don’t have to outrun the bear… I just have to outrun my dimwitted campmates.

    (it’s why locking your car is better than not… even though it’s trivial for a bandit to break the security… I have a substantial delta by making sure my car isn’t the easiest in the parking garage to steal)

    I guess we can take it a step forward:

    I don’t have to outrun the bear… I just have to be less tasty than my plump campmates.

    (i.e. don’t need to flash all my, as the kids say, “bling” when walking down dark alleys at night.)

  2. donturn

    I think I know what you mean.

    It’s the old joke (re-told by the fabulous George, which goes a little bit like this:

    To survive a bear attack, all you need is a fork. When the bear attacks, stab your hiking buddy in the leg with a fork and run.

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