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I'm about to take a position with a certain group that hasn't been getting very good press about their computer security. Even if my job doesn't really pertain to that sort of work, am I still in danger of my resume being thrown in the trash for being associated with them?

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Is this Sony by any chance? –  Vineet Reynolds Jun 3 '11 at 3:26
@Vineet -- rushed in to say that too. Curses, 3 hours too late! >_< –  Andrew Heath Jun 3 '11 at 6:33
if you are a programmer .. i'd say its ok .. not so much if you are a manager .. –  Wildling Jun 3 '11 at 7:34
Only if you're in their cyber-security division. –  TZHX Jun 3 '11 at 8:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I doubt it.

Most people in technology recognize that major security problems are usually caused by bad strategic decisions by executives and managers, or isolated screw-ups by individual developers, or a combination thereof. So we don't hold everybody who works for such a company responsible for those problems.

For instance, Google's been in a lot of hot water lately over drive-by snooping and data retention from peoples' wi-fi networks. There's been lots of discussion of whether that was really (as Google publicly claimed) an individual developer accidentally leaving in some debugging code, and if so, whether the folks in the chain-of-command above that developer were derelict in their responsibility.

But I can't imagine somebody from a different part of Google applying for a job elsewhere, and being rejected because they have "drive-by data collection cooties".

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Google is a bad example, because their screw-ups really are isolated incidents. Consider this imaginary scenario: you're hiring for a company that really needs to do a good job of protecting user data. Say, medicine or banking. And you get an applicant with several years at Facebook. –  Mike Baranczak Jun 3 '11 at 4:38
@Mike: I think it would depend on whether the position you're hiring for would involve security in the ways that FB falls down. If you were hiring a Director of User Privacy, yeah, FB on a resume would be a problem. But if you were hiring somebody to write optimized Linux kernel drivers to accelerate networking inside your bank's data center, FB might be a huge plus. –  Bob Murphy Jun 3 '11 at 4:49
+1. But, this partly depends on well the business is diversified across departments. Hiring an auditor from Arthur Andersen after the Enron scandal, was frowned upon in corporate circles, despite the fact that the said auditor may have nothing to do with Enron. –  Vineet Reynolds Jun 3 '11 at 5:20
@Vineet: Andersen was in a business where integrity is everything, and by violating that, they tainted all the auditors who worked there. The equivalent in programming would be working for very long at a place that was notorious for cranking out crappy, buggy code. –  Bob Murphy Jun 3 '11 at 6:08

Not at all

For example; if you are an accountant at Sony and we all know what happened there... How are you to blame?

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I think it probably depends on the position you held there. Even a developer at Sony probably can't be held to too much account for their recent problems. A security engineer, on the other hand? –  Dan Ray Jun 3 '11 at 12:40

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