Saving money at the expense of security

Two high-profile cases have recently illustrated how many companies are implementing high-tech solutions to their operations without paying any attention to the security risks involved.

  • It’s emerged that a single key controls access to most gas pumps across California (and probably the rest of the country as well).  If thieves can obtain a copy (as they already have), it allows them easy access to the machines to install ‘skimming’ devices to read customers’ credit card information.
  • A major supplier of locks to the hotel industry has done little or nothing to prevent a widely publicized hacking device from being used to enter rooms ‘protected’ by its lock.  As a result, more and more guests at hotels are finding that their rooms have been accessed in their absence, and their belongings stolen.

Of course, these companies don’t want to do anything to solve the problem, because that would cost a lot of money and cause all sorts of headaches to distribute the ‘fix’ as quickly as possible.  Also, the very fact of implementing a solution might be seen (in our litigation-mad society) as a de facto admission that something was wrong, and might therefore expose them to lawsuits for compensation and/or damages.  Unfortunately, while all this is going on, we, the consumers, take it in the shorts thanks to companies’ lack of security-consciousness and failure to implement the most basic of security precautions.

This is one of the unacceptable faces of capitalism, I’m afraid.  I don’t know what the answer might be, except to boycott any and every company that perpetrates such stupidity at our expense.  Perhaps, if more of them were driven out of business, the others might get the message . . .



  1. Having worked in private security for almost thirty years I can tell you that the corporate attitude has "evolved" from "provide a safe and secure environment for employees/customers" to "be able to point out that security is on-site 24-7-365 so if anything untoward happens the company is therefore not liable".

  2. The answer is a proper tort system. Unfortunately, tort reform has done a lot to de-fang the threat of being held responsible for mistakes.

  3. For the Hotel lock problem I am guessing that one could shoot that hole with some glue upon check-in in order to safeguard the room they are using.

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