Home > Uncategorized > 7 Phrases Killing Our Industry (aka some Friday humor)

7 Phrases Killing Our Industry (aka some Friday humor)

So it’s Friday and the end of another work week for most.  It’s been another productive one here at Emagined.  However after some heads-down, hands-on technical work, I thought it’d be good to blog a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek piece poking fun at our industry and the folks in it, such as me and my colleagues.  Security is often all too serious and sometimes stressful, so it’s nice to mix it up.

Again, this blog is written with affability, and not intended to offend.  Please do let us know your feedback and comments on the blog as always, but be forewarned, the piece was drafted in humor.  Best! 

If you’re like me and have been around the information security circuit/industry/”nuthouse” 🙂 for a while, you’ve probably heard all the buzzwords and catch phrases at least twice by now.  And if you’re really like me, there are certain ones that drive you to distraction and make you want to pop Tums like a Pez-riddled addict in an old-fashioned five-and-dime store every time they’re mentioned.  No?  So just me then? Okay, moving on…. Well in the spirit of brotherly love for those men and women working hard to further our cause, here’s my absolute list of sinister seven.  You know, phrases (yes, for those with great reading comprehension, more like words) that must die absolutely, painfully, horribly instantaneous deaths.  Now. Pronto. Rapidamente.

These phrases are in descending order of irritability and flat out loathing:

7. Let’s take this offline / I don’t have the bandwidth… The only tie on this list, and the only true phrases.  Both of these are annoying albeit slightly less so than the others on the list.  The first is just absolutely stupid sounding when one stops to think about it.  The phrase is generally used while on conference calls.  Last time I checked, most of us weren’t Johnny Mnemonic.  So our computers might be online, but we sure as heck aren’t (not yet).  The second one, well, that’s probably more reserved for the network security type folks, but it’s growing in popularity and annoyance.  Project managers have picked it up like the 11th commandment.  Unless you’re an ISP, keep it to yourself.  Nobody likes a bandwidth bragger – some of us feel inadequate already.  😉

6. Secret Sauce.  Unless you’re McDonald’s (yes, I know it’s special not secret – no flame mail please), you can claim no rights to this term or anything else remotely related.  Burgers and other fast food fodder reserve all rights to this phrase to sell their items; security – no.  Besides I’m not aware of any value menus when it comes to security vendors or their products.  If you are, PM me.

5. Automagically. The only made up word, if you don’t count the bogus job titles coming later, to grace this list.  It’s a horrific amalgamation that would have Houdini shuddering in his grave.  Stuff does not work automatically or magically in security, unless of course your belief system includes Santa, the Easter Bunny and Bill Maher, and your job responsibilities consist of watching access control logs scroll by  – just kidding! But seriously, as an adult, don’t you get just a teensy bit embarrassed when using this word?  Well, if not, please know your credibility takes a ding with those around you when you do.

4. Rock Star.  I’ve met my share when I toted luggage, parked cars, and bell-hopped my way through school.  Trust me there are no security rock stars.  Period.  End of debate.  Last time I checked, no one cut a hole in the hotel floor to celebrate a zero-day or just because they could.  TVs don’t get thrown out of windows for clickjacking attacks.  Maybe the originator, but not the attacks.  Again, just kidding (no flame mail, RSnake is cool)!  To solidify, when was the last time you saw rock stars sipping Chianti or Zinfandel and talking about strong-factor authentication?  Never, because it doesn’t happen.  Rock stars have cool, three word names like David Lee Roth.  Info Sec folks have cool, what might be confused to be ’80s TV show inspired names like Barnaby Jack.  [Rest in peace, sir.  The ATM hack was still one of the best conference presentations, ever.  Legacy solidified.]  Still need more proof, look no further than the analogy in three below.

3. Ninja <insert whatever follows or precedes it>.  For this one, we’re going way back to the SAT verbal analogies section.  Ninja is to anything information security like (a) the visually-impaired is to Pearle Vision, (b) the hearing-impaired is to Miracle-Ear (c) the speaking-impaired is to Toastmasters International or (d) this joke is to tasteless.  The only real answer here is D.  Seriously, no matter how you slice it (pun intended), there are also no ninjas in information security; they are too busy hanging out with the real rock stars noted above.

2. Security Guru / Security Evangelist.  So unless you want to add “uber-douche” after each of these, avoid them for your titles.  Do not put them on your business cards.  Do not embarrass your co-workers.  Do not have such an over-inflated ego/lofty opinion of yourself.  Yes, I’m talking to you, proven thought leaders of America.  Seriously, the only thing this title grants you is a wide berth in crowded rooms, as folks are running for the doors rather than having to hear one more time why the sun revolves around your views on information security.  How do you know you’re a guru? – well if Jeff Foxworthy had to define it, you’d be the guy (or gal) explaining what security is to a captive audience/roomful of security professionals.  Yeah, it’s like that.

1. “Mall-ware” for malware.  My all-time, number one, egg-sucking, nose-pinching, gut-wrenching, hand-wringing, pulse-pounding, loathsome phrase of this or any generation.  I can’t count the VILE I have for this phrase, or the number of bile refluxes hearing it has cost me over the years.  Whenever I hear it, I must stop myself from vilifying the utterer (present blog excepted).  This phrase is just the worst.  There is no excuse for this kind of idiocy.  There is no “mall” in malware.  You don’t find it next to Spencer’s and Hot Topic, people.  Wake up.  This phrase reminds me of that so hopelessly broken run of pizza commercials back in the late ’80s/early ’90s where one of the larger chains had daft people pronouncing mozzarella as “moots-a-rella” for the better span of a few months to be pseudo-Italian chic.  The only thing moot in that equation was the folks’ intelligent quotients going along with that contrivance.  And so it is with the would-be security elite and their mall-ware.  Let’s take a pop quiz shall we?  It’s not mall-licious; it’s not mall-feasance; it’s not mall-content; it’s not even mall-lificient (that ones for you parents who had to sit through an up-chuck of a movie).  Still need more proof?  It’s not mall-adjusted; it’s not mall-odorous; it’s not mall-adapted; it’s not mall-lefactor; it’s not mall-lingered.  All right, enough bricks.

So what does this all mean?  Absolutely nothing; except for mall-ware.  Take that one seriously.  Please stop – you know who you are.  The above was just a quick foray into the lighter side of information security.  After all, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, we might as well be in Compliance.  LOL!!

Here’s hoping you’ve enjoyed the above, or if nothing more, have killed a few minutes in a busy day.  Care to comment on this or any other Emagined blog?  We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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