I came across another interesting article by Bruce Schneier today on the security of faxed signatures. What fascinated me about even more about this was actually another story entirely, one where in 2004, a man managed to be freed from prison based on a bogus fax sent from a local McDonalds restaurant:
On October 30, 2004, Tristian Wilson was released from a Memphis jail on the authority of a forged fax message. It wasn’t even a particularly good forgery. It wasn’t on the standard letterhead of the West Memphis Police Department. The name of the policeman who signed the fax was misspelled. And the time stamp on the top of the fax clearly showed that it was sent from a local McDonald’s!
As Schneier explains, it was not the use of fax that lead to this fiasco but rather the poor verification processes used by the jail, and plain old human error. Sadly, I fear this isÂ not the only example of such terrible carelessness in modern society.