Ergonomics Caught the Russian Spies

Photo credit: Flickr user hfb, Creative Commons.

According to a recent Fast Company article, the recent detection and arrest of an 11-person Russian spy ring was essentially made possible by the Russians’ failure to consider the kind of human factors that are so often overlooked in all types of organizations:

“In the end the downfall of this computer-based system was apparently the password needed to encode and decode the messages–it was 27 characters long, and was so hard to memorize that some of the suspects had written it down on a piece of paper that the FBI found during a search. This proves how even the highest tech can be defeated by simple human failings …”

Although the password error alone was not entirely responsible for the detection of the spies, it is interesting to note that design played a role.

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