Today I got an SMS (Forward of course) from a friend. The content of that message was as follows:
“If you are forced to draw money by a robber in an ATM, then just enter your PIN number in reverse order. By doing so, you will be allowed to withdraw money from you’re a/c and at the same time the cop will be informed! So the cop will reach the ATM in a short while and rescue you.”
At first sight, this might seem a very useful message. But a tester is always trained and taught to be skeptical about everything. And I am no exception. So how could I take this piece of information as true, without making further observations/investigations?
So I put on my tester’s shoes and tried to analyze it. And here are my observations:
1. If this was true, then I should have known this before. Because, if it was true, the bank should have informed me about this when I created my a/c and was given my ATM card. How could they miss to transfer such an important instruction?
2. There are hundreds of banks world over. But this SMS never told about the bank which provides this facility. That meant this information was surely incomplete (if not incorrect).
3. Now coming to the loose link of the message. At some point, the SMS tells about entering reverse PIN number in order to activate some security system. At first sight, this sounds like a brilliant method. Isn’t it? But just think for a while, and you will know this can’t be right. If this was true, then how about the PIN numbers like 1001, 2002, 1221, 2332, 1111, 2222 and so on… (Palindromic Numbers) (these are my test data). If my PIN is one of those palindromes, then how to activate that security mechanism? Then I thought one work around for this is to disallow Palindromic numbers as your PIN. But the idea itself sounded stupid. Simply because, there are lots of Palindromic numbers within 9999 (the maximum possible PIN Number). And I have never seen a message in an ATM machine restricting me from using a Palindromic number as my PIN. But I did not want to believe that argument of mine, without actually seeing (executing my test case with my pre-set test data) it. So I immediately rushed to my nearest ATM counter and tested this. And I found that there is no such restriction for such numbers (test case passed!). Then I checked the same test with two other bank a/c ATMs (regression testing!). And as expected here also my test cases passed! This test almost made me sure about the inaccuracy of the SMS message.
There are still lots of information left in the message which prove that the information is a hoax. So I would like to leave them for my readers and would like to see, how they use their testing skills to find them out.
Hints: Always use the 3 basic weapons of a tester. i.e. Observe, Analyze and be Skeptical.
There are lots of testing exercises lying around loosely in your own life too. Try to identify them and try to test them using your very own testing skills.