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Community Champion

Bull and backdoors

We're binge-watching a TV show called "Bull." (For years I've had to be careful about watching movies and TV with a high tech or security theme, since they make so many mistakes. Apparently, having spent a couple of decades teaching American law to Americans, I now have to avoid legal TV shows and movies as well.)

 

In one episode (s3e4) they have a computer expert (someone who can program) giving testimony. He is to explain a "backdoor."

 

Now, as everyone here knows, a backdoor (aka trapdoor) is a technical means of circumventing a technical control or safeguard, usually to do with access control. There are some legitimate uses for backdoors, generally in development, but they are generally considered a "bad thing" in production. The "expert" explains that a backdoor is a means of evading a control, but it's a (presumably technical, because he programmed it) means of evading a policy or regulatory control.

 

This piece of dialogue is a really interesting mix of fact and serious misunderstanding. Yes, a backdoor is a means of evading a control. But the backdoor and the control are of different types. Generally a technical evasion cannot evade a policy or regulatory control (although it might obfuscate the issue). To someone who only partially understands the situation, it might seem reasonable, but, in fact, in reality it makes no sense at all.

 

(Oh, come on.  I wrote a dictionary, and you expect me to put up with this?)

 

(Yes, I know. This is why you don't want to watch technically themed movies and TV shows with me. Gloria has to put up with these kinds of interruptions and explanations a lot.)


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Re: Bull and backdoors


@rslade wrote:

We're binge-watching a TV show called "Bull." (For years I've had to be careful about watching movies and TV with a high tech or security theme, since they make so many mistakes. Apparently, having spent a couple of decades teaching American law to Americans, I now have to avoid legal TV shows and movies as well.)


Trivia Tidbit:

The character of Bull, and his expertise in jury analysis, prediction, and influence, is based on the television shrink Dr. Phil. It seems that Oprah Winfrey hired Dr. Phil for jury analytical service in a major trial in Texas. Things worked out well, they really got along, and she was his springboard to television appearances on her show, followed by launch of his own program.

 

 

 

Dr. D. Cragin Shelton, CISSP
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