Thursday, 23 May 2013

Picking hand cuffs and how it is relevant to IT

So how can picking handcuffs have any relevance to IT you may ask? Well let me tell you.

Handcuffs are a tool which law enforcement use for restraining people. In IT we use a lot of tools like libraries. In both instances the tools need to be used properly.

From the outside and watching movies handcuffs are dead simple to use and how can anyone mess up their usage? Well did you know that proper handcuffs are double locking? This second lock stops them from being tighten any more and where you could risk cutting off circulation to the hands. The restrainee may also tighten them and use than as an opportunity to get the restrainor to open them and then break free or attack. With handcuffs the vast majority of law enforcement grade handcuffs can be opened with one key, so really that isn't too secure seeing anyone can really just open them; I have one sitting on my key ring for instance. Even with a bog standard bobby pin I can open a set of double locked cuffs in under thirty seconds.
Picking Hand Cuffs. (Yes it is really that quick)

So knowing that law enforcement only use handcuffs for restraint and not security and will keep a close eye on restrainees. While if you ask a general member of the public they will say they are for security or locking people up.

So now the bit where I start to tie this back to IT. When using libraries in your project you need to know how to use them properly and their limitations. If like hand cuffs you don't fully understand how to use your libraries correctly and not use them as intended they may actually open to issues that you were hoping it to fix or open yourself up to completely unexpected issues.

Moral of the story understand the best usage of the tools you use and their weaknesses. Don't let a poor understanding or incorrect usage bite you later on. Sure in IT your program might not attack you but the front page of the newspaper could really hurt you. So are you and your team using their tools properly? Hopefully you can't open your applications as easily as a pair of handcuffs.