No…I am not talking about Sgt. Pepper and his Lonely Hearts Club Band. Though, that will always be, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest albums (can we still use that word today?) of all time.
Rather, I am talking about art theft. Today, 3/18/10, marks the 20th anniversary of the (unsolved) theft of thirteen works of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA.
I bring this up as a side-note related to my blog series, Tales of a Social Engineer. Many of the themes I raise in my series appear similar to factors that made this heist possible.
Take a look at the following special news report from 2005:
“…an account that underscores how defenseless the Gardner was, with its easily foiled security system and two inexperienced guards on duty, one of whom admits he was sometimes stoned while on the job.”
“…excitement was extremely rare on the night shift. In fact, to stay awake, some of the guards had made a game of trying to complete their rounds without setting off a single motion detector. It was something to do.”
“They posed as Boston police officers, and even though they flashed badges and wore insignias, their long coats were not part of any official uniform.”
“The guard at the desk said he decided to let them in because he felt compelled to obey a police officer’s demand. His instructions from the museum were never to let any unknown person into the museum, but he said he didn’t know that rule applied to police. Another guard said he, too, had never been told what to do if police showed up unannounced at the door.”
That last quote/statement was later discounted by the director of security for the Gardner at that time.
My point in noting these quotes from the Gardner story is to show a very interesting real-world example of how easy it is to get into a secured building with just a little bit of thought and planning. Of course, physical security mechanisms have matured since 1990.
If you haven’t been reading my series, Tales of a Social Engineer, please do. I think you will find it very enlightening.
- Jeff Bamberger