Friday, August 05, 2011

Insecure Storage Of Liquid Confections

Recently it was disclosed that a giant, well-known, multinational confection supplier was hacked. Their proprietary recipes were altered—for reasons unknown—by malicious actors.

Seasoned security professionals can only shake their heads and sigh. To them the security flaws of this company are legendary, although in the past the company has managed to escape publicity and accountability for their haphazard security practices.

The most notorious incident happened over fifty years ago to a Mr. Y. Y. Mann (not his real name). In those days it was common practice in the industry to store liquid confectionery ingredients in large, unguarded, 30 foot deep vats in publicly accessible areas, protected only by a cheap metal railing.

Mr. Mann—who was walking down the street minding his own business—happened upon one of these vats in his neighborhood. A skilled and talented acrobat, he balanced himself on the railing as he had done many times before.

Little did he know that someone had greased the railing earlier that day. Due to a documented history of filial rivalry, police immediately suspected a conspiracy between his brother and his mother, but nothing was ever proven beyond a shadow of a doubt and to this day the miscreant has yet to be identified.

Inevitably, Mr. Mann slipped and fell into the vat, but his quick thinking enabled him to summon help and he was extricated from his predicament.

However, the incident left him horribly scarred for life (WARNING: graphic image). The company attempted to settle out of court but Mann, shaken by the incident, refused. Thereafter the company staged an effective public relations campaign to keep the story out of the public eye.

Angered by this, Mann became a tireless protester during the tumultuous 1960s, fighting for new public safety laws to prevent this kind of atrocity from ever happening again and documenting his ordeal in popular folk music of the day.

His struggle ended with the passage of the Secure Confectionery Storage Act of 1967, which effectively outlawed the practice of storing dangerous ingredients in public areas. Despite these reforms accidents of this nature continue to this day, although less frequently.

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