Another J! True Story…

I recently refinanced a house, and had paid a visit to my local bank branch to get a certified check for the closing. It’s a process that takes a few minutes, so as I waited at the counter, I began looking around and checking out all the happenings at the bank. It was pretty quiet, one other customer at the other end of the counter, and a bank rep adjusting some brochures hanging from a display.

As I looked around, a middle-aged Hispanic woman walked in… with a fairly crinkled McDonald’s bag in hand. No purse, no bank pouch, nothing else. It immediately struck me as odd- to walk into a bank, empty-handed except for this drive-through souvenir. This bag had lived out its useful life, so I assumed she brought it from the car to chunk it.

But she didn’t. And when she walked past the trash can and approached the counter, I knew what was coming.

Out of the crinkled fast food sack, emerged a large zip lock bag containing – something – about the size of a deposit booklet or stack of checks. Maybe there was a stash of cash amongst the contents, I’m not really sure. I tried not to stare but I was thoroughly amused at this shenanigan… and extremely curious.

I returned to my previous thought- how was this secret op mission she devised supposed to conceal the contents? Is an overtly re-used McDonald’s bag less obvious than a purse or small bank bag? All the rest of us females entered with purses and envelopes… only 1 entered with a Secret Sack. Had I been a thief planning to pounce on an opportunity, would the Secret Sack not be more interesting than a basic purse? Probably- that’s what I thought anyway.

The Secret Sack definitely made the patron feel safer about carrying around the contents, but from an outside perspective, I found it obvious and counter-productive. Instead of throwing a would-be perp off the trail, I suspect it would have served as bait. In her mind though, security was ‘in the bag’. Maybe now, instead of ‘Black Bag Ops’ we can call them ‘Golden Arch Ops’?

Remind you of any IT Security Policies you’ve seen? I can think of a few… And from now on, we will call them – you  guessed it- Golden Arch Security Policies.

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Author, speaker, and recognized authority on network and wireless security architectures, Jennifer (JJ) Minella helps organizations solve technical problems and align teams.

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  • Yep, well the worst thing that happens in this city is a speeding ticket and occasional $20-item theft at the mall… she drove, so she wasn’t walking…

    We may never know… LOL

  • Her countermeasures would first make me wonder just what kind of threats she was facing on the way to the bank that made such an act effective, or even necessary. Given the socioeconomic mix in the USA, the technique would be more effective in a stereotypical hispanic woman role than it would be for a caucasian man role (absent severe dressing down to meet audience expectations).

    Of course, it could also be a habit learned from earlier times in her life that doesn’t apply to her current environment. My users do that habit thing a lot too.