Social Engineering of the Day

This afternoon I was sent out to a distant corner of Oxford University, to which I’d never been before, in order to deliver a lecture on information and computer security. I just wanted to share the exchange that happened when I arrived, because it’s so delightfully ironic:

Dan walks into the building and, seeing the security gates, walks up to the reception desk. Papers left loose on the reception desk indicate that a lecture on security is happening today.

Dan: [pointing at his name on the papers] That’s me. I’m here to deliver the presentation on security. Where should I go?

Receptionist: I’ll buzz you through the gate – go down the stairs, and to the end of the corridor. There’ll be swipe-locked doors you can’t get through, but just hang around for a minute or so and you’ll be able to follow somebody else through.

That’s right – I turned up at a building in order to teach the people there about security, and – without identifying myself any more than pointing at a piece of paper and saying “that’s me” – was given a temporary ID card and encouraged to piggyback my way through their checkpoints. I guess they needed me more than they thought!

1 comment

  1. Bryn Bryn says:

    I’ve been told the same, even when I tell them I’m there to do a security audit. They just stare at me blankly.

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