Chibueze Anakor

Security: A Real NEScessity

Posted November 23, 2016
0 Comments Includes Python

In case you were wondering, yes, the title of this post is a play on words. Since that’s out of the way, it’s time to talk about a real issue this holiday season that many people have had. That issue, of course, is the inability to purchase one of the most requested items of this holiday season, the NES Classic Edition.

The NES Classic Edition, which had released on November 11, 2016, has been selling out in record time on certain websites. Amazon had a flash sale on release day, which limited purchases to one console per customer. Amazon’s stock sold out in minutes, and the site crashed as a result of the high volume.

Four days later, Walmart had flash sales each day for four days, but unlike Amazon, Walmart did not put a restriction on the number of consoles a customer can purchase, and that was a glorious opportunity for third-party resellers (also known as scalpers) and their bots (like Tai Ding) to stock up on as many consoles as they could, depleting Walmart’s stock in less than one minute each day, and leaving many fans, who intended to actually use the console, frustrated and empty-handed.

After having a weekend to realize and fix the errors in its ways, Walmart had two more flash sales the following Monday, and this time, it had copied Amazon’s tactic of limiting consoles to one per customer, and as a result, more customers (myself included) were able to purchase an NES Classic Edition.

This debacle raised a serious issue in the online retail space, which deals with security. If bots, such as Tai Ding (which is made up of Python scripts), are able to easily empty the stock of large retailers, such as Walmart, then these retail companies need to step up their security. The most effective ways to do this would be to…

…and so much more. I am glad that I was able to purchase an NES Classic after waiting about a week and a half, but more importantly, I am glad that this issue of e-commerce security was raised, especially as we head into Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other busy times for online retailers. I hope that online retailers will take greater measures to increase security in their checkout processes, so that this NES Classic Edition debacle does not repeat itself, and better yet, because it’s the right thing to do.