Canadian Authorities Discover Risks of Having Too Much Confidence in Security

In June 2011, the Bank of Canada introduced the polymer bank-note series. The new notes spotted unique security features. With this anti-counterfeiting features people have not been bothering to verify any of this new bills.  According to RCMP Sgt. Duncan Pound, there’s overconfidence among the public such that when retailers see the strip and the polymer looking materials they mark them as good because they are impossible to counterfeit.

Credit: bankofcanada.ca

Credit: bankofcanada.ca

Although the bills have sophisticated transparency and holography that makes them “the most secure bank note series ever issued”, municipal police in Metro Vancouver have detected several fake $100 notes in the region over the past few weeks. Out of the 500-million polymer notes in circulation, police have confirmed that 56 counterfeits have been discovered across Canada.

A comment on Bruce Schneier’s blog notes this as: the risks of “too much trust in security”, which is an effect of the security theatre created around new very expensive (and ultimately flawed) security systems.  The more expensive a scheme is, the more its proponents will boast about how impressively secure it is, and people will lower their guards down.