Paranoia, anybody?

So in a previous post, I discussed “Convergence Theory“, which is the concept that argues people will “go with the crowd”. There’s a new fad in town, and it’s all about ditching foursquare because you think you’re going to get robbed.

In this case, frankly, I’m appalled. This is absurdity at its best. Lets all get on the paranoia choo-choo with Jennifer Van Grove and the silly website she’s blogging about, cancel our foursquare accounts, and go hide at home in fear. Sorry to call you out like this Jen, but this is purely knee-jerk baseless paranoia. If someone sees me IN THE PARKING LOT AT THE GROCERY STORE, then they also know I’m not home. This isn’t anything new.

The common complaint I have with blogposts and arguments like this is that people never think two steps ahead. Nobody ever considers engaging their foresight muscle and actually thinking this sort of thing through to conclusion.

I’m a security-minded person. That means I have to very often think like an attacker. I have to plan out “missions”, I have to completely exhaust all nefarious ideas and plotting in an effort to fortify the clients that hire me to make them more secure. This exercise allows me to put on an attackers hat and logistically consider courses of action in an effort to understand things like the frame of mind and context of an attacker.

In the last few weeks I’ve seen a lot of folks all of the sudden “realize” that when checking into foursquare this tells the internet that “you’re not at home”.¬†Disappointingly¬†enough the first thing that short-sighted people think is “OH GOD THIS MEANS EVERYONE KNOWS I’M NOT HOME. I’M GOING TO GET ROBBED!”. I cannot articulate using text exactly the style in which I face-palmed. To bring some clarity to those who have chosen to forego foresight, I’ve made this handy flow-chart. Have a look:

Simply put: If you’re going to rob someone, you have to put a little thought into it. You may be shot. You may be caught on camera. You may have to deal with nosy neighbors. Do you even know who this person is or where they live? Think about it for more than 30 seconds. If you’re still convinced that foursquare will get you robbed, print this chart out, and put it over your display using a stapler.

Stop being paranoid. Stop following the crowd. Wake up.