Mythic Monday – Hubris
I made the mistake the other night of watching Blade Trinity. The movie, as a whole, is irrelevant to this point (and all others, really). However it occurs to me that the evil villain, Dracula (yeah, that’s original), suffers from a flaw that is common in many stories. Basically, he is so confident in his skills that he ignores the fact that the hero of story already defeated two movie worths of baddies.
To be fair, other major villains suffer from this same problem: Darth Vader, Lord Voldemort, Lord Sauron… as do heroes: Oedipus, Gilgamesh and Dr. Gregory House. The problem with them all is that their overconfidence leads directly to their eventual downfall. Sometimes, it is dramatic and impressive, other times (like this) it just involves a lot of bright shiny pixels that fly every which way until the filmmaker’s budget is used up.
The lesson to learn, I think, is that hubris kills… often at an appropriately-delayed climactic plot point. Here in the real world, of course, we tend not to have impressive glorious pixely deaths, which just leaves the problem of supreme overconfidence.
In I.T. Security, this sort of thinking often manifests itself as a general feeling of invulnerability against attack. This can be due to an existing investment giving a greater feeling of security than actual security. It can be due to a belief of general supremacy that is undeserved. Most often, though, it is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of the enemy.
Just as Lord Voldemort couldn’t conceive of a bunch of school kids as a threat, and Oedipus allowed himself to think that he had outwitted fate (never, never wise), if you ignore I.T. threats, you render yourself vulnerable to them and, through them, invite your inevitable comeuppance. If you accept your business in all it’s flaws, you’ll know where to protect yourself. If you do not, you may well go out in a blaze of shiny glory that is just as logically inexplicable as Dracula’s shape-shifting powers in this horrible movie.