The Tale of the Hairy Code

article risk assessment Jun 14, 2024

In honor of summertime and spooky fireside stories with family after a long day at the lake.…

Once upon a time, in the bustling digital forest of Silicon Valley, there was an old developer (30ish?) named Greta who worked tirelessly to unearth the latest trends and roots of technology to feed her startup's growth. One day, as she sifted through lines of code deep within the tangled web of the internet, she spotted something peculiar sticking out of the digital leaves: a chunk of what appeared to be unauthorized, untested, and very hairy code.

"There’s some good potential in this hairy code," Greta mused. "With a bit of tweaking, it could make a real tasty addition to our platform." So, she carefully placed the hairy code into her repository and took it home.

When she got back to her cozy digital cottage, Greta boiled up a fresh pot of code stew, with the hairy code as the secret ingredient. That night, she enjoyed the best meal she'd had in weeks, savoring every byte. With a full stomach and a satisfied mind, she went to bed with a big smile.

Around midnight, a cold wind started blowing through the lines of the company's codebase. A large black cloud of data breaches and non-compliance loomed over the moonlit servers, and from the depths of the internet, a hollow voice rumbled: "Hairy code! Hairy code! I want my hairy code back!"

Inside her cottage, Greta stirred uneasily in her bed, nervously pulling the covers over her ears. The voice echoed through the fiber-optic trees of the network: "Hairy code! Hairy code! I want my hairy code back!" Greta shuddered and turned over in her sleep.

A stomp-stomp-stomping noise came from the company's firewalls as the wind howled and the treetops of the digital forest swayed violently. "Hairy code! Hairy code! I want my hairy code back!" the hollow voice bellowed. Greta snapped awake, her whole body shaking with fright as she listened to the angry howling in the digital garden.

Jumping out of bed, Greta ran to the server room and tried to secure the network. She put up additional firewalls and encryption, but the hollow voice grew louder. "Hairy code! Hairy code! I want my hairy code back!" The front door of the digital fortress burst open with a bang, and the security protocols snapped like twigs under the force of a compliance audit.

The stomp-stomp-stomping noise of regulatory inspectors echoed up the digital stairway. Peeking out from behind her monitor, Greta saw a massive figure filling her doorway. It said, "Hairy code! Hairy code! I want my hairy code back!"

Greta sat bolt upright in terror and shouted, "I used your hairy code!"

"Yes, you did," the giant figure said very gently as it advanced into the room. "And now, you must face the consequences."

No one in the startup ecosystem ever saw Greta again. The only clue to her disappearance was a giant digital footprint, missing a significant chunk of code, left imprinted deep into the repository logs. The neighboring developers whispered tales of compliance failures and regulatory nightmares that befell those who dared to use unauthorized, untested code.

And thus, the tale of the Hairy Code became a cautionary legend among Fintech companies, reminding all to prioritize compliance and risk management. For in the wild woods of technology, there are no shortcuts that come without their fair share of hairy consequences.



This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, accounting, or professional services advice. Our team of professionals with expertise in BSA/AML and OFAC compliance uses AI tools like ChatGPT to support our writing process in different ways. Sometimes, AI is used to improve upon a draft we've written, while other times, it's employed to synthesize and combine information from reputable sources, such as FinCEN, FFIEC, CFPB, FATF, and state regulatory bodies, around a concept or idea. In both cases, the final content is shaped and validated by professionals to ensure accuracy, clarity, and alignment with compliance standards. However, since each institution's compliance needs are unique, we recommend seeking advice from qualified experts in legal, accounting, or compliance consulting. The effectiveness of the strategies and practices discussed depends on your institution's specific risk profile and tolerance, so customization is advised.

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