The Dr. Who Conundrum

By Roger G. Johnston, CPP, and Jon S. Warner

Dr. Who, the eponymous hero of the BBC’s long-running cult-favorite television series, put high technology to good use but was never naïve about its limitations. In one episode, for example, he used a hairpin to quickly open a high-tech lock placed in his path by the bad guys. “The more sophisticated the technology, the more vulnerable it is to primitive attack. People often overlook the obvious,” Dr. Who commented.

Security managers should take a clue from Dr. Who and recognize that the latest technology is not an automatic panacea. The following is a look at some general issues to be aware of before purchasing high-tech devices as well as a discussion of some specific technologies and their vulnerabilities that have been discovered through research conducted by the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Los Alamos National Laboratory.



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