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Swiss-Cheese Security

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Dr. McNinja: I don't know why the mayor would refuse to speak to me.
Secretary: He's not refusing to speak to you, sir. He's just out.
Dr. McNinja: He knows I can just appear in his office whenever I want. Your security means nothing to me.

Characters can enter the premises of a supposedly secure facility whenever the plot necessitates it, despite presumably locked doors, electronic passes, security guards or obvious obstacles. They can get into secret research labs, corporate headquarters, or senior government leaders' offices.

Any hurdles they should logically run into are not shown. Sometimes this is just a matter of not having enough money for a transitional set. Sometimes it's a plot hole. Maybe there guard is a Surveillance Station Slacker. Expect The Guards Must Be Crazy trope for some of these places. If the character has already broken in when the owner returns, it overlaps with Trespassing to Talk.

This can also apply to someone trying to get out of a facility like a prison or an asylum, with many of the same tropes applying. Poor security is a hallmark of the Cardboard Prison.

If the facility in question actually does have good security but is easily breached anyways, it may be a case of Dungeon Bypass. Or maybe the person who penetrated the security has special ninja invisibility skills or Parkour abilities.

Related to Unguided Lab Tour, when someone pays a visit to a top-secret facility and goes unnoticed. See also Bavarian Fire Drill, Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, No OSHA Compliance, Widely-Spaced Jail Bars, and What's Up, King Dude?. Compare Unsafe Haven and Cardboard Prison.

Security Blindspot is related.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • It's sometimes fun to actually see how someone gets past what should have been rock-solid security. Some people go for a version of the Foe-Tossing Charge. But then, in the manga of Slayers, a five-story building has been filled with warriors and magic-users fully capable of matching Lina in a fight. As the villainess gloats about her tight security, Lina walks in. She just used a flying spell to float up to the top floor.
  • Memorably done in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, when Kaiba specifically mentions sealing off all the entrances to the building with "steel shutters". Not fifteen minutes later Tea and Yugi's grandfather walk in with no explanation whatsoever. Naturally enough this is lampshaded in The Abridged Series.
    Mokuba: But I thought I sealed all the exits? Oooh, I hate continuity...
    • You know, maybe trusting Mokuba with things like that isn't always a good idea...
  • In the first episode of Naruto, Naruto, a 12 year old boy who had just failed (for the third time!) to become a genin, manages to break in to the Hokage's office and steal a scroll containing forbidden ninja techniques. Lampshaded in Naruto: The Abridged Series when the Hokage yells at a crowd of ninjas about it.
    • Earlier in that episode he was running away from defacing Hokage Mountain. Keep in mind that you can see it from just about every point in the village. Turns out this is intentional: Naruto is Book Dumb, but he does have some skill.
    • In the manga, the ninja find him painting the monument instead of escaping from doing so, and he gets caught by the Third Hokage, but escapes by using the Sexy Jutsu.
  • In Chapter 482 of Bleach, somehow seven masked men are able to boldly walk into Captain-Commander Yamamoto's office to deliver their declaration of war against Soul Society. Even getting past the front gate has in the past been shown to be very difficult and doing so unnoticed should be impossible, as seen by the commotion the heroes caused when they broke in an earlier arc. Yet these guys aren't noticed until they walk through Yamamoto's door. In the very next chapter, the intruders even mention this. Yamamoto responds by saying, "I am here. There is no better security than this." This turned out to be justified, as their base is in the same spot as the Soul Society, but in a different dimension, meaning all they had to do was switch planes to Soul Society and be there, as they're shown doing later.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Motoko does this on a few occasions, but not without hacking the guards first.. and the first time not even having to do that.
    • The first time this happens, Motoko walks right into the front door of the mansion of a reclusive billionaire. The android maid-guard asks who she is. She just casually flashes her police badge, letting her get a good look at it, while saying that she's from a maintenance company and that it was time for a scheduled tune-up. The maid just stands back and lets her pass. When a Tachikoma walks in a few moments later, the maid asks who he is. He just responds that he's a Tachikoma and continues right on in.
    • Another time this happened, Motoko casually strolls right past the security at the front door of a corporation. One guard asks if it's ok to just let her through without checking who she is, but his superior asks how he doesn't recognize that she's the photographer who's been working with the CEO for the past few weeks.
    • This is also the method that the Laughing Man uses. He just flat out hacks everyone in the area so that they just plain don't see or hear him walking around.
  • The Familiar of Zero: Saito, without being able to use any of his powers, manages to sneak into an air force base and steal a fighter jet.
  • Versailles in The Rose of Versailles has this kind of security due to the incompetence of the guards, to the point Jeanne Valois said you only need a sword and a hat to walk up to the king (and she and her husband failed in their attempt to meet Marie-Antoinette to scam her only because they stumbled into Oscar, who, being the husband's superior officer, would have exposed them in a heartbeat had they gone through with it). It's so bad that Fersen and Oscar are surprised when the latter's soldiers in the French Guards unit she recently transferred to were not only doing their job before she could catch them lazying off and discipline them but had actually caught Fersen when he was sneaking around (as Oscar knew why he was there and was sneaking around, she had them let him go... And directed Fersen to a gate where the security was as bad as expected, and the guards weren't from her unit so it wasn't her problem).
  • Snow White with the Red Hair: Despite its fortifications, walls and guards the royal castle of Tanbarun has proven wholly incapable of stopping intruders. Twice groups of attacking infiltrators made in in, once a group of three made it in to confront the crown prince despite the guards being very much aware of them and being engaged by the small group, and a second time by a group of two individuals who were able to bypass the guards entirely even though the guards were supposedly aware they were going to try and attack a royal guest and were on alert.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, the Trope Namer for Grand Theft Prototype (back when it was called Gundamjacking) happened because of this. Zeon pilot Anavel Gato is able to sneak into a Federation base by having a guy on in the inside drive out of base, pick him up, and then drive back in with him lying under a tarp in the flatbed of his colleague's truck. The guards do not mention that the truck left empty and returned with something and demand to know what is there. Then he walks into a pocket carrier, which does not appear to have any guards on the entry points, walks into the hanger, which also appears to have no security posted to it, climbs into the cockpit of a classified prototype mobile suit which is fueled, armed, and carrying a nuclear missile, and flies out, with nobody noticing anything is out of the ordinary until moments before he boards the Gundam he stole. Gato even lampshades the abysmal security while he's breaking in.

    Comic Books 
  • In the first issue of Mega Man (Archie Comics), Dr. Wily managed to sneak into Dr. Light's lab and reprogram the Robot Masters quite easily. This could be justified since the two were friends at the time, but Light never even knows they were there until the next morning.
  • It doesn't get played up much in The Movie but in the original comic version of Sin City, Cardinal Roark lives in a parish protected by elite federal agents. It is so heavily fortified, it has earned the nickname "Fortress Roark". Marv goes into great detail about how dangerous the place is... just before killing several guards with his barehands and waltzing into Cardinal Roark's bedroom.
  • While his mansion security in Smallville is practically non-existent, almost all comic book versions of Lex Luthor are at least somewhat competent when it comes to security. Indeed, during the "Y2K" storyline (where Brainiac 13 seriously upgraded the city of Metropolis' tech level), Luthor's new, truly ridiculous security measures kicked Superman's ass.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Subverted in Ultimate Spider-Man, when Spidey tries to intimidate the Kingpin by dropping in on him unexpectedly, only to realize that the Kingpin put in shatter-proof windows to get rid of such problems. Makes the web head lose his cool. Kingpin doesn't even blink at the sound of Spidey hitting his window.
    • Wendell Vaughn and Project: PEGASUS. Getting your base broken into by a posse of supervillains once would be embarrassing. Having it happen three times on your watch, the third time ending with the attacker making off with damn near everything that hasn't been nailed down makes it look like someone took the wrong job. And yet, Wendell never seems to suffer any consequences.
  • The Rich Mansion (as in, where Richie Rich lives) is an odd case. The place naturally attracts lots of thieves (Richie's family stores at least a portion of their assets in vaults built inside the house itself; either his parents don't entirely trust banks, or they have more material wealth than they can store in them, which might actually make sense.) While it seems easy for crooks to break into and rob the place, they tend to be caught later rather easily; so while the place has yet to be the target of a perfect crime, it does seem like, at least, the perfect target.
  • Averted when Iron Man tried infiltrating Doctor Doom's castle with an armor that can become invisible. When he tried, Stark forgot the little fact that Doom's had enough run ins with the Fantastic Four's Invisible Woman sneaking around to have numerous sensors everywhere specifically designed to detect invisible intruders.
  • One issue of Catwoman's own title seemed to mock this trope. After effortlessly stealing a priceless statuette from a museum, she was rather disgusted at how incredibly easy it was, so she returned it to the museum with a note telling them how crappy their security was. They proceeded to upgrade the security... Then she stole it again, then returned it again, then stole it again, repeating the process at least a dozen times over the issue, even as the curator kept putting heavier security on the place. (Maybe she wanted to prove how good she was, or she simply had too much free time.) Eventually, the curator was considering letting her keep it - figuring he'd get more from insurance than the cost of protecting it - but she thought this was getting boring, and returned it to him in person, told him that his museum sucked, but left saying she'd keep an eye on the place. (As in, to keep him on edge.)
  • The Punisher once broke into a remote Russian nuclear silo thanks in part to the incompetence of the guards. When one of the officers points out that it's understandable (it really is in the middle of nowhere), the general replies that they're guarding nuclear missiles- it's discipline they need.
  • Many, many rich men targeted by Diabolik keep the security and the police from checking the faces of people coming to their parties in spite of knowing that Diabolik can make perfect masks. Needless to say, Ginko really hates when that happens, as many of Diabolik's plans wouldn't even start if he wasn't able to use those masks to just waltz in from the front door.
    • Exaggerated in "The Mysteries of Vallenberg", where the elite of Benglait, a nation in the mid of a terrorist crisis, threw a masked party where, as Ginko pointed out, anyone could just walk in with a mask. Not only Diabolik and Eva were there with their perfect masks and an additional disguise (at least they had the invitation for the guys they were replacing), Altea's supposedly dead husband had come in exactly as described by Ginko, and was the terrorists' secret leader to boot.
  • One Black Cat one-shot featured her breaking into a museum... in order to leave a card advertising her new security consulting business to help them avert this trope.
  • Marvel has a lot of abandoned assets with all their high-tech equipment inside ready for someone to take over. When Cyclops and Emma Frost had their renegade X-Men, they took over the old Weapon X facility which had everything in order. Cable and other heroes had occupied crashed Helicarriers before and one incarnation of the Thunderbolts even take over a secret U.S military base. Despite being government property, nobody ever reclaims them and occupants have a field day squatting on these bases.
  • The Simpsons: As in the show proper, if someone wants into the Nuclear Power Plant, they can just walk in. One issue has two advertising executives weirded out by the notion that, A: Homer is the safety inspector for Sector 7-G, and B: They were able to get into the plant solely by wearing lab coats.
  • The Incredible Hulk (1962): How the world wound up with the Hulk in the first place. Rick Jones manages to drive a car onto the testing range of a top secret nuclear bomb, on a dare, and encounters no resistance until he's spotted by Dr. Banner, who rushes out to get him to safety.
  • Both Marvel and DC Comics have plenty of examples of criminals escaping from Cardboard Prisons due to poor security. The absolute worst example is the Batman comics' Arkham Asylum. While other supervillain prison escapes can sometimes be justified due to the inmates having superpowers, Arkham is infamous for many of its supervillain inmates being Badass Normals without any powers who can still somehow escape at will. This was repeatedly and mercilessly lampshaded in the comics as far back as the 1970s, when The Joker got his own mini-series. The first issue depicted some dimwitted Arkham security guards being fired after the Joker escaped five times on their watch.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Monarch's security seem to have this at the Chinese outpost monitoring Mothra. When a power outage disables the security lock on Mariko's door, none of Monarch's security seem to think to try and restrain her while she's walking around the outpost freely amidst the awe of witnessing Monster X's rebirth.
  • The Stronger Evil: Valerie mentally laments that Section 13 has this, as it's quite simple for her to sneak past the guards and security cameras when she wants to visit Shendu without anyone's knowledge, and even the Vault's password hasn't been changed since the last security breach. Following Drago's first break-in, she outright tells Captain Black how much the safety measures need improvement.
  • In A Frog in Arkham Asylum, Jade actually uses the words "swiss cheese" when describing Arkham Asylum to Hugo Strange. In fact, she claims that the only reason she hasn't escaped yet is that she was framed and wishes to clear her name, and trying to escape would make her look even more guilty. Strange even mentions several chances she DIDN'T take (and it should be noted that there are likely more occasions he doesn't know about).
  • The four unhappily run into this twice in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. They take a penthouse suite at one of the most expensive inns in Tevri'ed, and the management promises them complete security. Of course they're attacked by ninjas who come ghosting through the walls. The next night they stay in the same room at half price, with the management swearing it won't happen again... and they're attacked twice (though not by ninjas, so technically management was correct). After that they give up on inns entirely.
    • This is one of the reasons they're ready to check out the Guardians; Major Tallant promises that they won't be attacked by anyone once they're in Central City, and they're so desperate at this point that they're willing to take a chance he's right. (He is, and they get their first uninterrupted night's sleep since returning to C'hou.)
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act VI: Talon Ryashen is able to effortlessly break into the home of Issa Shuzen, one of the Dark Lords of the monster world, not once, but twice, the second time with three other people helping him. After the second time, Akua and Kahlua outright lampshade how poor their security is since Talon was able to break in and try to kill them so easily.
  • In The New Adventures of Invader Zim, Meekrob security systems are ridiculously simple and easy to bypass. But as shown in Episode 10, at least some of this is intentionally invoked in order to lull enemies into a false sense of security.
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Multiple:
    • Jaune and Yang mock the security Ozpin put on the relics, wondering why he'd put each relic in a vault that can be opened by a single Maiden. Especially since she is determined by who the last woman under thirty the previous one was thinking of as they died. The Maiden doesn't even have to be willing to open the vault, merely present. They ponder why he didn't just use a combination lock or have the vaults require all four Maidens be present, noting that the only dumber idea would be attaching the security to a random piece of hardware and carrying it with you all the time, causing Ozpin to hide his cane.
    • In addition to the vaults themselves, each individual Kingdom chose how to defend their vaults. Atlas kept the relic out of the vault since they were using it for their industry. Vacuo hid the vault behind a vast labyrinth of traps... which Blake and Sun are able to grind through easily due to their disposable clone Semblances. And Vale hid the relic in a random flagstone in front of a statue. In their case, the whole vault under the school was a Red Herring. Mistral for some reason chose not to defend it at all, putting the vault under a statue of the relic itself. Worse, since Mistral guarded the Relic of Knowledge, it was the most important to be protected; with enough time, the relic could answer any question on the locations and defenses of the other relics.
  • A Certain Droll Hivemind: Despite being the most high-tech city on Earth, with literally next-generation technology available to everyone, its security measures are apparently utter crap. To quote Misaka-11111:
    "...this diary will be totally secure. Only I shall be able to read it. And the approximately ten thousand clones from the same geneline as myself who can casually access my audiovisual input, of course. And anyone who gains access to the Network via a variety of means, beginning with the standard override protocols usable through the administrator access interface, and progressing to more esoteric means. And anyone who breaks into my room and reads my diary. This is a greatly improved level of security from the norm in Academy City, and I will hereby attempt to institute it as standard policy among us."
  • Ruby Pair: As usual, Dib is able to break into Zim's base fairly easily on a regular basis. In "My Fair Tenn", the Computer reveals that it, Minimoose, and GIR take turns on reporting this to Zim, which is why he gets away with it so much.

    Films — Animation 
  • Superman: Doomsday had Lois Lane easily sneak into the most secure areas of Luthor's building and into his office, tranquilize him into unconsciousness, and call up Jimmy Olsen to help her. Both of them spend a few hours going through all his files, before finally dragging the unconscious (paranoid, ridiculously-intelligent, could lose everything if this got out) Luthor over to a retinal scanner and requiring nothing more than sticking his eye against the screen to get directly into a lab where Luthor's most dangerous, most secret project was going on.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Alien³, despite its official designation as a maximum-security prison, the Fiorina "Fury" 161 Class-C Correctional Work Unit features no weapons of any sort for the three guards to either police the twenty-two prisoners or fight back against the lone Xenomorph Runner with, and on top of that, almost none of the technology found within it is operational.
  • In Alien: Resurrection, Ellen Ripley and the rest of the cast, without any keys, identification cards, or anything else of that sort, effortlessly navigate around a very important military-scientific complex housed inside a government owned spaceship, even going into a room with top secret Ellen Ripley clones just by pushing the door open. Granted, they had a scientist with them who might have known a few access codes, and Call was also a robot who could hack into the spaceship's computer to open all the doors, but the scientist wasn't shown opening any doors, and Call only hacked into the ship's computer and opened all the doors toward the end of the movie.
  • Avatar almost gets away with the inverse of this: The only thing that tips Quaritch off to Jake and co's jailbreak is a gunship telling the base what it's doing, despite Jake's wheelchair.
  • The Avengers (1998). The meeting of the Council of Ministers (a group of high government officials) apparently has no security whatsoever. Sir August and his colour guard are able to walk right in without opposition, and walk out again unopposed after making extortion threats.
  • In Beverly Hills Cop, Axel Foley gets into a Federal Customs facility merely by hopping a fence, then flashing his badge to the first person he sees and ordering everyone around. They assume that, if he's inside the perimeter, he must belong inside the perimeter.
    • Lampshaded when he then poses as an undercover customs inspector who is outraged that he was able to do this.
  • In the opening scene of Carry On Spying an agent of the villan is able to get all the way into a top secret research lab by simpling being dressed as a milkman and handing out bottles of milk to anyone he passes. As the film is a parody of the spy genre it stands quite well.
  • The guards at the Fishes refugee house in Children of Men. They let Theo overhear the plan about his execution, let him enter Kee's room unchallenged, don't notice him sabotage the cars and only notice the group escaping when the car is right behind them.
  • Subverted in Cry Freedom: Early in the film, Woods just casually walks up to the house of South Africa's Justice Minister to speak with him about Stephen Biko. After he lampshades the trope by pointing out how easily he was able to do this, his host points out that he was being watched as he approached in ways he was completely unaware of.
  • In Daredevil, the Kingpin is surprised that Bullseye broke into his corporate office. When Kingpin asked how Bullseye got past his security, Bullseye pointed to a guard he just killed. Bullseye even admitted that killing the guard wasn't necessary, but funny.
  • Die Hard: Because it's Christmas Eve, there are only two guards at the Nakatomi building: a receptionist and a security guard by the elevators. The villains exploit this lax security when they take over the building and Karl wastes no time killing both guards early in the takeover.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: The US government manages to get their hands on an alien lifeform, yet two kids are able to hijack the van with the priceless load inside. Admittedly this is a fast-moving situation where they are probably more concerned with keeping people out.
  • Independence Day: Driving an RV convoy into Area 51? On one guard's word? Go right ahead. And no one seemed to even see them until they were in visual range. Although this was admittedly after the whole Roswell Conspiracy thing had been rendered entirely pointless, and the alternative was arguing the toss with a few thousand scared and desperate refugees while your superiors are busy receiving a visit from the President.
    • Not to mention that only Captain Hiller is allowed into the research facility, as he was the one serviceman who fought the aliens and survived. All the refugees stay on the surface, far from all the sensitive areas.
    • Later in the movie, Hiller and Levinson fly a 50-year old captured Alien spacefighter to the Alien mothership in orbit. The mothership allows the craft to land without attempting to contact the crew on board or determine what mission they were returning from. They also don't send anyone to meet with the crew once it docks.
  • Invasion of the Neptune Men features the Earth under attack from a group of aliens. The world is on high alert, scientists are working around the clock for ways to combat them ... and a group of children can seemingly walk right into any military building without question. The MST3K episode lampshades this: "Apparently the kids have level five security clearance."
  • In Jurassic Park, Hammond trusts the entire security of his park to mere electric fences, and has no backup plan in place if electricity ever fails. Since the incoming tropical storm left them with a skeleton crew, there is also no security force on stand-by for emergencies. Robert Mauldoon is the only armed person on the entire island, though more armed guards are seen in the opening sequence. The park seems to lack traditional zoo security deterrents, such as concrete barriers and pits, which work even without electric power.note 
  • Lifeforce (1985): Space Girl's escape and subsequent Full-Frontal Assault on the space research facility faces no resistance aside for some (read: 3) helpless, unarmed security guards that do little to nothing at trying to stop her and are easily taken care of. After blasting the glass windows in the foyer, she calmly exits the premises into the night.
  • The Living Daylights has an enemy agent walks through the front gate of a MI:6 safe-house by pretending to be a substitute milkman. The gate guard makes no attempt to verify his story, arrange an escort or investigate the calls of another guard who gets in a fight with said agent. Later he succeeds in kidnapping defected KGB agent Koskov. While Koskov wasn't really defecting it doesn't excuse the lax security. The incident is mentioned to have made MI:6 the laughing stock of the international community.
  • In Man of Steel: General Zod calmly walks into the high council of Krypton's chamber to start his revolt while facing virtually no opposition.
  • Mars Attacks!. The Martians are able to walk into the underground facility where the President of the United States is hiding after their attack. Not only are they not stopped, the Secret Service team doesn't even know they're coming until they appear.
  • In Minority Report, Tom Cruise's character goes on the lam, but manages to get back into the most secure portion of headquarters, using his own retinal scan. When he's arrested and detained, his wife uses his retinal scan AGAIN to break him out of containment.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Alan Jonah and his mercenaries' security at their bunker hideout is very poor. If allowing Madison, who is very clearly not fully onboard with their genocidal radicalist plan, free reign to move around the base isn't bad enough; Jonah and several of his mercs leave the ORCA unguarded, which enables her to steal it, and Madison doesn't run into any trouble between taking the device from the spot where it was left and exiting the bunker on foot.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong: Apex Cybernetics have terrible security, with Team Godzilla having little trouble sneaking through their facilities. Of course, given their supreme hubris, this is completely in character.
  • Skyscraper brings this trope to Lethally Stupid levels.
    • An external security consultant is given a device with enough privileges to not only control everything, but also to lock out all other admins, including the person who designed the system. The device also lacks a timeout feature; it only needs to be unlocked once to gain full admin access.
    • The security personnel know that a major crime syndicate is after their boss, yet they do not verify that the helicopter pilot's identity until it's too late.
    • A fake maintenance crew is able to spread flammable powder on an entire floor without raising any suspicion. Noticeable in that this happens before the security facility is taken over.
    • The entire top half of the world's largest building is staffed by approximately four security guards. Even considering that the top half wasn't open to residents yet, Zhang still lives there and keeps his most precious possession there and he knows that big-time criminal players are after him.
    • The elevator in the vertical garden is held aloft by a single cable that can easily be severed with an ax, and when the cable breaks the elevator doesn't employ an automatic braking system, but rather waits around for the elevator occupants to manually hit the brakes during free-fall.
    • The super-secure panic-room penthouse doors will open themselves if you cut a completely random wire behind the wind turbines. Why the heck these two systems would be remotely related to each other is anyone's guess.
    • The penthouse is secured with impenetrable doors, but Will states that the doors will open if the fire alarm goes off on that floor. So all a bad guy has to do is pull the fire alarm, and he's in there! (A proper system should only open if a fire alarm goes off from within the panic room.)
  • In Serving Sara, the main character needs to get into a building with a security guard at a desk in the lobby. Admittedly, this isn't exactly airtight security, but his method of distraction is worth this entry. The character is looking at a tow truck whose driver is changing a flat tire. Cut to the lobby of the building, and a flaming tire rolls right past the guard.
  • Shandra: The Jungle Girl: Despite Shandra being both incredibly dangerous and incredibly valuable, Karen is able to waltz through an empty lab and into her cell without being challenged, and (seemingly) without the door even being locked from the outside: despite the fact that other characters had be shown needing keys to access it earlier.
  • In Star Trek Into Darkness, Harrison is able to massacre much of the Starfleet High Command simply by flying a ship up to their meeting room and blasting them, totally uncontested. If Kirk hadn't disabled his ship, forcing an alternate escape, he probably could have flown right back out when he was finished. Later on, Scotty is able to board the super-secret Vengeance by simply flying his shuttle into its hidden spacedock, which apparently has no sensors to detect incoming ships, or somehow assumed he was one of theirs.
  • Star Wars: In Return of the Jedi, the heroes manage to get past the Empire's security using one of their ships and outdated clearance codes. While Vader gives the ultimate go ahead because he can sense Luke onboard, the commanding officer, Admiral Piett, was about to do so anyway despite the codes being out of datenote .
  • In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, it was never shown how the T-850, John and Katherine managed to get through a secret military base all the way to the well-guarded control room from where Skynet was launched. The novelization, however, did a Hand Wave.
  • 28 Weeks Later: Don has a key card that grants him access to all parts of a military base including where a highly-contagious carrier of a horrible virus is kept. He never encounters any guards and when infected and goes insane is able to get out despite encountering soldier with guns.
  • In general, pick pretty much any B horror film where the plot involves a bunch of people breaking into a haunted building for a night of drunken debauchery, only to be menaced by some flavor of monster. Odds are good that actually gaining entry into the place will be trivial, even if, in theory, it should be secure.

  • Subverted in Anne McCaffrey's The Rowan. After the main character gets over her fear of travel she plans to pay a surprise visit to her boss, teleporting into his office. When her second in command tells the boss he arranges to switch off the security that would otherwise fry her the second she arrived (she's not the only teleporter).
  • In The Cold Equations, Marilyn manages to sneak aboard an Emergency Dispatch Ship, which is unable to handle any excess weight and thus is forced to have stowaways Thrown Out the Airlock. When asked how she got on board, she replies, "I just sort of walked in when no one was looking my way."
  • Cradle Series: Eithan walks into the most secure Skysworn cells, including ones intended to contain someone exactly like him, multiple times without trouble. To make it even more annoying for the jailers, he brings along Yerin, Fisher Gesha, and a turtle the size of a car. He doesn't bother breaking out the prisoner, he just wants to make sure he has a chance to train while in prison.
  • Deathlands. In the first novel a sec man is guarding the Big Fancy House of the Baron of Mocsin, and is thinking how unnecessary his job is given the spotlights, electric fence, and ring of outlying sentry posts. Then Ryan Cawdor cuts his throat and we cut to Ryan thinking what a joke the Baron's security is. Trees have been allowed to grow over the electric fence—which along with the lights keeps going on and off because the generators aren't working properly—and the sentries are all doped up on happyweed. When Ryan enters the house for a word with the Baron, he finds the once-feared Baron grossly fat and doped up on happyweed himself, explaining why things have been allowed to slide.
  • Explained quite thoroughly in Good Omens: "Security bases are like beehives; they make a great deal of effort to keep people out, but once you're in everyone just sort of assumes you've been cleared by management and let you go about your business. Entire species of insects have made a niche for themselves this way." Other Terry Pratchett books expand upon this by noting that you will always be let through if you carry a piece of paper and stare at it angrily while muttering to yourself. Clipboards are among the ultimate disguises known to man.
  • In one of Kirk Mitchell's mysteries starring FBI agent Emmett Parker, Parker is accused of murder, being hunted by the FBI, and he manages to get into their Oklahoma headquarters. The only explanation given is that it's very early in the morning, well before office hours start. He even talks to an agent there and then escapes (the agent gets into trouble).
  • Played with in the second Deltora Quest series. The Shadowlands are a huge Mordor-like realm filled with the Shadow Lords servants, its borders however are completely and totally unguarded. The heroes mention out loud that it's not quite what they were expecting. They figure it out when a small lizard runs across the border but hits an invisible wall on the way back. Turns out the Shadow Lord is quite happy for people to get in, they just can't get out afterwards.
  • In The Dresden Files, Marcone doesn't even bother with security against Harry Dresden (mostly...). All businesses he owns are instructed to give Dresden the VIP treatment, and escort him inside immediately with special discounts and lifetime memberships. He also knows that a sufficiently motivated Dresden can pretty much destroy any nonmagical barrier placed in his way, so at his actual hideouts he makes sure that the walls are crazy reinforced, while the most dramatically appropriate doors are designed to explode into as few dangerous fragments as possible.
  • In Gaunt's Ghosts, in order to prove that only the Tanith are capable of protecting Mabbon, Rawne pretends to be an assassin and easily thwarts his bodyguards and breaks into his cell. Not only that, but actual assassins also happen to break in at the exact same time.
  • Bernie Rhodenbarr, in Lawrence Block's Burglar series, comments on how his uncle lifted a sign by pretending to be maintenance. Bernie himself often uses the clipboard routine.
  • The security of Jurassic Park was showcased to be pretty poor in the first novel, but Isla Sorna/"Site B" on The Lost World (1995) has it beat in sheer awfulness. The only true measure the place has against human intrusion is its isolation — when the protagonists have to use a computer in a fashion similar to the previous novel, the system actually allows them to create a new user profile (with full access privileges) after several failed login attempts.
  • Gregory McDonald uses a variety of methods to get Fletch in where he needs to be, and Fletch and Flynn discuss Flynn's methods of spying as a child in Nazi Germany.
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible. Supervillain Dr. Impossible actually steals a Plot Coupon out of the New Champions headquarters. He reflects on the lousy security, saying it's because heroes rely on their own reputation to keep villains away. If someone gets in anyway it'll just mean a fight — as most heroes are Blood Knight types they've no objection.
  • In The Outfit, Parker is incredulous about how easy it is to break in the mansion of Bronson: a mob boss he has come to kill. He eventually theorizes that Bronson must be so confident in his cover in Buffalo that he doesn't feel the need to have obvious (or efficient) security.
  • Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive): Referenced when Hoid visits Kaladin, but technically not an example since Hoid has more supernatural powers than the rest of the planet put together. Still gets a pass since no one knows that.
    Kaladin: The guards let you in?
    Hoid: Technically? Yes.
  • In Mostly Harmless, Ford nicks a single identity card from the Guide's new boss Vann Harl, and it means that all the building's computers recognise him as being Vann Harl for any purpose. This is explained as being because the galaxy's biometric security systems are so involved and complicated that many people can't be bothered with them, and so carry an Ident-I-Eaze card that makes the systems believe they've already been through all that, and represents technology's greatest triumph over itself and common sense.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The number of times people have managed to invade, hack, or subvert the Andromeda Ascendant is more than a little disconcerting. It can be hand waved a bit with the fact that the ship normally has a crew of thousands instead of 6 and that the people on board haven't had enough training to properly run it, but still.
  • The Mayberry Bank in The Andy Griffith Show. The sole guard is an 80-year-old half-deaf geezer who spends all his time sleeping heavily and whose ancient WWI pistol falls to pieces if he takes it out. The teller and manager allow customers free reign of the place even when they're in the other room. People can waltz through the half-gate between the counter from the lobby without being stopped. The cash register drawers stand wide open with bundles of cash in full sight, as does the safe. And the safe can be entered by kicking a hole in the plaster wall of the hairdresser's shop adjacent to the bank. Of course, Mayberry doesn't need any effective bank security, what with its rock-bottom crime rate and genial, honest community — in fact, the only reason it was robbed in the first place was because an out-of-town robber overheard Barney ranting about the lax security in specific detail.
    • The Bank has a second attempted robbery later on where two crooks stage an elaborate awards ceremony that engages the whole town. Then another crook sneaks into the bank and opens the vault by listening to the combination. Once inside the Vault, the crook is greeted by Andy who is sitting on a chair calmly reading a paper. The crook demands to know how Andy got in, only for Andy to point out the back door to the vault that the town put in after they forgot the combination to the vault.
  • Angel regularly lampshades how easily intruders can get into Wolfram & Hart without (immediate) notice. Indeed, after abusing this lax security for years when Wolfram & Hart was the opposition, Angel then discovered that their security didn't improve much even after he and his friends were put in charge of the W&H LA branch office.
    Angel: Call security, put 'em on red alert. Nobody gets in this building without clearance from me. I want a guard at every entrance, every elevator, every stairwell. Cover the whole building.
    Harmony: Okay, but you know how that never works?
    Angel: Harmony!
    • A further irony is when we're first introduced to Wolfram & Hart, it involves a full-on Caper episode to get past their excessive security, everything from stake-wielding guards to psychic vampire detectors.
  • Parodied (like everything else) in the Angie Tribeca episode "The Thumb Affair", when a velvet rope and a "Do Not Touch" sign are revered by art gallery visitors as though they were a high-tech security system. The thief is considered brilliant for unhooking the rope and crossing out the word "Not" to change the meaning of the sign.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow: It's a Running Gag that highly trained covert operatives can stroll into whatever heavily-secured location they want because people keep leaving the doors unlocked.
    • The Flash (2014):
      • STAR Labs appears to have an "open door policy" for anyone who wants to come in. Partly justified by the fact that the lab no longer employs security personnel (in fact, it employs less than half-a-dozen people now, none of whom have any security training). Captain Cold ends up just strolling in without Cisco's alarm even going off. He is, however, supposed to be a master thief.
      • In Season 2, Cisco claims to have upgraded the security system to keep anyone from coming in. Two seconds later, Jay Garrick walks in with no explanation though he turns out he's actually the season's Big Bad, which could possibly justify it. Cisco's supposed "security system" constantly fails throughout the season, frequently not even warning anyone that someone is coming. During a cross-over episode, Team Arrow asks Cisco if he's finally gotten rid of that "revolving door" at STAR Labs. Cisco counters by pointing out that both Team Arrow headquarters have been broken into. The point is proven when Merlyn keeps randomly appearing there with a Stealth Hi/Bye (not just by himself, but with over a dozen League assassins), surprising even Barry.
        Malcolm: Honestly, Oliver, this place is even easier to break into than your last lair.
      • The show has casually Lampshaded S.T.A.R. Lab's lax security enough that it has become one of its Running Gags by the third season.
    • Supergirl:
      • Quietly subverted. It seems like practically anyone can walk into the DEO's top-secret base whenever they want, but they are always accompanied by armed guards, even though no one ever draws attention to them. The one time someone got in without permission was when Supergirl let in the Flash, which is justified because they both have superspeed (and she'd have any necessary codes). Even then, the guards showed up within a minute.
      • In season 3, the mother of an agent is brought into the DEO for her protection. The problem is that she is able to walk right into the armory, steal a weapon, and leave again without anyone noticing. In a later episode it's mentioned that they put a lock on the door after that embarrassment.
      • Another subversion, this time Played for Laughs, in season 3. M'yrnn J'onzz, father of the DEO director J'onn J'onzz, ordered a pizza. When the delivery guy showed up at the top-secret government facility, the guards immediately tackled him. J'onn only finds out when M'yrnn asks him for some money, because he feels like the delivery guy deserves a really big tip.
      • In season 4, Supergirl shows up in the Oval Office waiting for the President. While of course she has superpowers and could easily dodge any guards, none are seen or even mentioned.
    • Batwoman:
      • In one episode, Mary just waltzes into her stepsister Kate's office unescorted (as opposed to an earlier episode, where she was accompanied by security). When asked how she got in, she heavily implies that she bribed Carl, the guy at the front desk, with a double-whipped frappucino, to which Kate implies that he'll be making them soon. This turns out to be true in a later episode, as an alternate-universe version of Alice also appears in Kate's office, asking why Carl is no longer working the front desk. Clearly, Kate had carried out her promise to fire him, but must have either not replaced him yet, or replaced him with an even less competent guard, because Beth got all the way to the office without being stopped despite looking exactly like Gotham's most wanted criminal (other than the different hair colour).
      • Throughout Season 2, Alice regularly breaks into the Crows' private garage and people's cars. When Jacob shuts the Crows done for rampant corruption late in the season and finds Alice waiting for him, having done this yet again, she quips that with the number of times she's pulled it off, maybe the Crows were never that good at their jobs to begin with.
  • Blake's 7: On the prison ship in which the convicts are being transported, a guard has been stationed inside the cell where the prisoners are. When he's inevitably overpowered, they then force him to open the door with his palm print (which, of course, opens from the inside).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Frequently featured and lampshaded, often attributed to the villain's inability to find competent minions for security.
      Spike: Do I have anyone on watch here? It's called security, people, are you all asleep?! Or did we finally find a restaurant that delivers...?
    • Nobody in Sunnydale ever locks any doors.
  • Burn Notice:
    • Subverted whenever Michael needs to get somewhere. They almost always show (or at least reference) how Michael gets to where he needs to be and it's usually acting like he's supposed to be there.
    • One Season Two episode has him walk into a government contractor with a friend claiming he lost his security badge. After he's inside, he further 'sneaks' into the high security area... by taking a soda can out of the trash and lifting a handprint.
    • A later episode has Michael again trying to get into a government building in order to obtain something. He walks in pretending to be the weekend cleaning crew. However, getting what he needs requires him to trigger an alarm. How does he get out? He allows himself to get caught by security, pretends he's drunk (and cuts himself on the window he had to break), and begs security not to report it since he really needs the job or his wife will take away the kids. Security pities him, reports a false alarm, and escorts him to the front door while suggesting he take the rest of the day off to get clean & sober.
    • Another episode has Michael once again triggering an alarm while already having gotten what he wanted inside a high-security building (specifically, a Police building). He slips on a Police jacket and starts yelling at people to find the intruder. It's specifically mentioned that new recruits are trained to follow higher ups' orders without question, so all he had to do was act like one.
    • Essentially, the show takes great lengths to avert this with the point it always makes being that getting somewhere is generally very easy. Ultimately, all security has some sort of weak spot whether it's a keycard, a person, or what not. It's getting into the right position to enter or leave without anyone thinking you're not supposed to be there that poses the problem.
  • The titular building of Dollhouse was originally impossible to find, let alone break into or escape from, until the end of the first season. After that, characters seem to be able to get in and out whenever the plot demands it.
  • The Farscape three-parter "Look at the Princess" is full of this. Despite endless comments about how tight the security is in the lead-up to the Royal wedding, the various protagonists and antagonists have no problem carrying out various kidnappings, assaults and assassination attempts on each other. Partially justified since the members of the royal family were in on some of the kidnappings and assassination attempts to begin with.
  • Most of the big mansions in Port Charles of General Hospital have this type of security. It gets ridiculous with Greystone Manor, the home of mob kingpin Sonny Corinthos. That many people who want to kill him, and pretty much anyone who wants to can just waltz onto the premises?
  • The Handmaid's Tale:
    • Overlapping with The Guards Must Be Crazy, Gilead security appears to be struck with this at times. Despite the northern border with Canada crawling with Drones with attack forces intercepting various refugees attempting to cross into Canada, many of them successfully make it across, including Luke, Erin, Moira, and Emily (carrying Nichole). Not to mention Mark Tuello infiltrating Gilead and returning with the Waterfords, and Gilead allowing a plane full of children to leave Gilead.
    • This may have been enforced by Canada during the Waterford's visit in Season 2. No active guards were present around the Waterfords, considering the visitors were responsible for murdering and enslaving hundreds of thousands of relatives of people who were forced to flee up north. Plus Luke being allowed to nearly an arm’s length of the man who has enslaved and is systematically raping his wife. On the other hand, perhaps that’s what the Canadians wanted, eh?
  • A running joke on Sara M's House recaps is how useless the hospital security is, only being able to catch a gunman in House's hallucinations and not in real life.
  • In iZombie characters frequently show up at the Seattle police morgue unannounced and unaccompanied. Generally they're just there to visit Liv and no one is too bothered by the intrusion, even when it's Blaine, but security seems very lax on who they give access to the police station.
  • On Las Vegas, The Montecito gets robbed in just about every other episode despite supposedly having the most sophisticated security in the world.
  • The Leverage team is very good in getting past security but they usually have studied the target extensively and do a lot of prep work first. However, in one episode when they are forced to improvise, they are able to lie, steal and bluff their way through three layers of security so Hardison can infiltrate the control tower of an airport. Hardison is allowed in even though the security badge he is using belongs to a female employee and the guards verify the picture on the badge against Hardison's face. They do not want to be politically incorrect to someone who just had a sex-change operation so they let him in. The consequences of this type of failed security are quickly lampshaded when Hardison almost causes an airliner to crash.
  • In The Librarians, multiple bad (and not always bad) guys have been able to infiltrate the supposedly most secure and secret location in the world. Partly justified by the fact that the Library only has a few employees and is huge. However, there is a limited number of entry points. Some of them, at least, can be justified by someone inside letting the invaders in. Other times it's simply unexplained, such as when Nicole got into the Library near the end of Season 4.
    Eve Baird: Again?! This is the third time this place has been attacked since I started working here. We need to have a serious talk about the so-called security.
  • For all that Merlin's Camelot is meant to be impenetrable it is invaded constantly; even in the first episode. Merlin himself is able to go anywhere he wants. It gets even worse in the fourth season. You know it's really bad when the villain says: "taking the castle was the easy part".
  • In Mutant X, seemingly every time Mutant X wanted into Genomex (the Big Bad), they waltzed right in with basically nothing to stop them. Unless the plot called for one of them to get captured, of course. It's partially justified since one of their members does have the ability to phase through walls and the Sixth Ranger who joins in the third season has invisibility as her main power.
  • In The New Avengers, enemy agents seem to wander into Steed's house every other episode.
  • Nip/Tuck season 5 is a major offender especially because the series is quite level headed and grounded in (to a point) reality. Colleen harassed Sean throughout half of the season, and in this time (from the point she is discovered to be an impostor) she managed to break into: the studio Sean was working in, his apartment to try to kill herself and die in his arms, his clinic (although it does have a flimsy security at best) in order to beg that he fixes her pulse, the Studio AGAIN, and this time presumably knocking out another minor cast member of the series he was part of since she took the role of an assisting medic within and in dangerous proximity to a blade, his apartment AGAIN to plant a BODY of a "rival" agent (she wasn't a real agent to begin with), and finally at his clinic AGAIN to try and murder him. That's made worse by the fact that she is an ordinary (albeit crazy) middle-aged woman. Not only does she break into 3 locations that ought to have some sort of security, she does so again in the SAME ORDER with apparently no difficulty whatsoever.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • In the Season 1 flashbacks, Rumpelstiltskin's cell is guarded by a grand total of one palace guard, allowing easy entrance and exit by Regina (who simply transformed herself into a rat). However, this is justified because, as far as Snow White and Prince Charming know, Rumpelstiltskin's powers are sealed and he can't escape. He actually does have a means of escape, but he doesn't use it because his plan is working perfectly without him being free (and he needs his escape plan to be there so the heroes can use it later).
    • In an alternate reality in Season 4, the island where Emma is being held prisoner has only one knight guarding it. However, in a subversion, this knight is Maleficent's daughter Lily, who can turn herself into a dragon. In other words, that one knight is all the security the place needs.
  • Chris and the crew from Overhaulin' once discovered that the car's owner (Mark) equipped the car they were supposed to take with "The Club" anti-theft device. However, they're still able to easily make off with the car because Mark forgot an important step.
    Chris: See, Mark, when you put the Club on your car, it helps usually to lock it.
  • In Prison Break one of the characters finds the President's brother in a house in the middle of nowhere. After going to a lot of trouble to fake his death, he doesn't even bother to lock the doors of his safehouse and Robin Tunney's character just walks straight in. Though they try to excuse this in the next episode by revealing that once in, nobody can open the doors out again. Though surely it would have been easier to just lock the doors from the inside.
  • In the 2006 series of Robin Hood, the Merry Men seem able to waltz into Nottingham Castle any time they feel like it. When Alan A Dale does one of his Face Heel Turns, he shows the Sheriff and Guy the passageways they use to get in. The Sheriff has them closed off. A few episodes later, this is forgotten.
  • Seinfeld has an inversion: Jerry would not let one of his own neighbors into his apartment building.
  • On Smallville, virtually any character on the show is prone to showing up at Luthor's mansion unannounced to have a chat with Lex in his office, steal something, beat him up, etc. Hence the original title being Lex Luthor Security. The wiki actually had a page on it. Not that any other supposedly secure location is any better. If a secret government base or LuthorCorp installation is mentioned, it's practically guaranteed that someone is going to break in, super-powered or not. Lex himself once mentioned that he really needs to improve his security. (Fanatic) Apparently, he never got around to doing that. One of Tess' minions also lampshades how cheap the security is.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In "Shades of Grey", Jack O'Neill (who has been forced to resign from the Air Force in order to avoid criminal prosecution) is able to waltz into Stargate Command and straight into General Hammond's office, without security apparently noticing his presence at all. Now, he is a former Black Ops veteran and ex-second-in-command of the base, but it still stretches the bounds of plausibility quite a bit. In fact, all secret bases in Stargate SG-1 seem to qualify, from Goa'uld strongholds to the SGC to NID prisons. The incident in "Shades of Grey" is actually more or less justified, as the entire thing was a Gambit Roulette organized by Hammond and O'Neill, and the latter may have been secretly given means to bypass security and slip into Hammond's office undetected. Besides, O'Neill never actually resigned his commission.
    • In "Prometheus", Major Carter and Quinn escort a news crew into a top secret prototype spaceship without checking their equipment for weapons (They even had a Zat!) and with only two guards as escorts.
  • Star Trek:
    • This happened with the Enterprise on TNG a LOT. One episode of DS9 even had Odo tease Worf about it. Seriously, in TNG only the bad guys ever enacted IT security pertaining to anything except the self-destruct. Forget circuit breakers, surge suppressors, seat belts, where were the PASSWORDS?
    • Deep Space Nine has nothing to brag about. The turbolift is apparently unrestricted, very often people who shouldn't be allowed in Ops unescorted (like Quark) stroll right in. Then again, Quark has proven he has security chips granting him security clearance even higher than Odo. He's just that good. In addition, Ops isn't so much a bridge like on the Enterprise as it is the manager's office (technically, a combination of the two). People are supposed to come up there with grievances and such (especially Quark, who is head of the station's business union).
    • Voyager had perhaps the worst security in the history of Starfleet, considering how often enemies were able to steal shuttles or hack their computer. One episode ended with two unarmed Ferengi overpowering their guards, getting to the shuttlebay, stealing their own ship, and escaping through a wormhole.
    • And of course, there was the time in which Tom Paris and Neelix fell victim to a pair of con artists who downloaded their entire computer library...while the two had their eyes closed.
    • TOS was no better. A group of "space hippies" managed to divert the ship by taking out the one guy manning Auxiliary Control.
    • Even the best episodes had this problem. Just how much info on the Enterprise did they give Khan Freakin' Noonien Singh as bedside reading to allow him to run complex ships' systems and get into highly secure areas like Engineering, and to override the one security system the ship apparently had, knockout gas flooding all decks?
    • TNG averted it in "Brothers", given the extensive effort and skill Data requires to hijack the Enterprise. At the same time, some basic safeguards are overlooked, such as the computer accepting commands from "Picard" on the bridge when it knows for a fact he's in Main Engineering. Pay attention, Voyager...
    • Another TNG examples was in "The Neutral Zone". Either these three civilians from the 20th century that the officers treat as loose cannons have been given special clearance, or anyone on the Enterprise can simply wander onto the bridge just by asking to see the Captain.
  • Stranger Things:
    • Despite spending no doubt millions on their underground lair, the Soviets fail to put an additional guard or security camera on the cargo bay door and its corridor. This allows the Scoops Troop to enter it.
    • Despite the fact that the base is very secret, nobody bothers to check Hopper, Joyce, or Murray's credentials.
  • Supernatural: In "Hollywood Babylon", Hollywood studios apparently have this, based on how Sam and Dean can leave a studio tour, walk onto the set of a shooting movie, and have no problem getting back on the same stage later.
  • On the satirical Sitcom That's My Bush!, the Drop-In Character Larry is able to waltz right in the front door. At the White House.
  • V (2009) plays this trope completely straight in the first season finale when Erica is able to waltz into the Visitor soldier gestation pool and destroy almost all of the soldier eggs with impunity. Why weren't any of the other fully grown soldiers guarding the chamber?
    • That can be justified, since the Big Bad was keeping it secret, and was worried about security breaches. But why wasn't there at least a lock?
  • White Collar has Neal walk into a bank dressed as a maintenance guy, insert fake credentials for himself into their mail system, change into a suit and walk up to a bank employee and pretend to be a freshly hired new accounts manager. The employee finds the 'new employee' package he planted and assumes that HR simply failed to call ahead. When his security badge fails to work, she uses her own since new badges tend to glitch out. With access to the inner offices, Neal easily swipes a real badge, walks into the vault, packs his briefcase full of cash and then walks out. However, this is a security test orchestrated by the FBI and Peter later shows the money to a conference room full of bank managers to prove to them how lousy their bank security is. He also pretends to be a sportscar salesman to get into the dealership's computer system, and actually makes a sale. The implication is that he could've a)stolen a car b)gotten lots of people's banking records, or c)done both.
  • Whoniverse:
    • Doctor Who: The amount of times that the Doctor has managed to wander into some top secret laboratory armed only with a smile and immediately start ordering people around belongs here.
      • Lampshaded when the Doctor and Ace found themselves wandering around Windsor Castle — walking towards the Queen:
        The Doctor: Act as if you own the place.
        Ace: What?!
        The Doctor: It always works!
      • The psychic paper helps too, although not against places that are actually prepared for that.
      • It also doesn't hurt that the sonic screwdriver can open any lock (except a deadlock seal), and disable pretty much any other security device, or that the TARDIS isn't exactly inhibited by walls. In fact, the sonic screwdriver was so convenient for getting the Doctor out of danger that the showrunners wrote it out entirely for the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors' tenures.
      • This comes up in "The Impossible Astronaut", where the TARDIS landed in the Oval Office.
      Canton: Mr. President, that man just walked in here with three of his friends and a great big blue box... [points at the Secret Service head] and that's the man he walked past. One of them is worth listening to.
    • Played with in Torchwood. Gwen Cooper traces the location of Torchwood by talking to a local pizza delivery place and had no problem entering their secret compound. The Torchwood staff finally admit they wanted to talk to her after they nearly bust up laughing at her "covert" entrance. It's later proven to be very difficult to get into (or out of) Torchwood Institute.
  • Y: The Last Man (2021):
    • Despite the Pentagon limiting people coming in, the people already inside seem to have free reign to wander wherever they want. The Secret Service is mentioned as being in short supply but no one seems to be actively protecting the President from internal threats, which are obviously gathering steam by episode 3.
    • The former first lady waltzes into the President's office/bedroom, interrupting her without a problem.
    • The President should have a guard posted outside her quarters 24 hours a day, but Yorick is able to leave and wander the Pentagon freely despite being the most secret object in the building.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • WSU had fairly decent security. The Midwest Militia was able to run roughshod over the company but when Jessicka Havok actually started doing damage that cost them money she was restrained. When Beyond stripped the budget and, later, when CZW, which has none, took over, the new owners realized they had no way to stop Havok once she decided she wasn't recognizing her ban.
  • Defied by Ring of Honor match maker Nigel McGuinness when Bullet Club, which had pretty much been on its best behavior when working for the promotion, started their trademark attacks at the 2016 Global Wars. He found ROH security needed quadrupling but he paid for it by fining Bullet Club.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout 2 has the Navarro Enclave Base, whose beyond laughable security measures consist of a guy who merely checks you for a password, and, with some modest BS skills, you can get almost total access to the entire facility (which barely has any locks, ID Scanners, or any other security measure you'd expect from a high tech base), whereupon you can loot pretty much everything and walk out with no one blinking an eye, even if you're walking out in one of their Powered Armor suits and toting over half their now depleted armory on your person.
  • Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis take place in a zombie-filled city that's been barricaded by the US government. Despite this, people, vehicles, and attack helicopters regularly pass in and out without even seeing the blockade.
  • In Touch Detective 2, during the visit at the department store's exhibition for a prized object, The Cornstalker sends a message that he will steal it. Immediately later, Mackenzie finds a disconnected plug, which turns out to be for the security system of the whole store, and Daria, only officer at the scene, sprains her back just as the object was stolen.
  • City of Heroes:
    • Although several semi-destroyed parts of Paragon City are sealed and only heroes above certain levels are allowed to enter, you can still find unpowered civilians — not ragged refugees, but people in obvious good clothes — constantly wandering around the ruins and cornered by gangs of superpowered thugs. Similarly, every door in the city will open to random passers-by, but heroes are not permitted entry unless they have a specific mission in the building.
    • Even more amusing when the civilian you had just rescued on the street enters the same building you were about to enter to clear it of bad guys.
    • And of course the same rules apply in City of Villains. Yup, you may be a psychopathic mass-murdering supervillain who eats people's souls for fun and profit, but trespassing... well, even you have standards, right?
  • In Mega Man games, this trope is played with. In some games you are able to just walk into Dr. Wily's fortress (some of the Mega Man X games actually teleport you into the final base). Some games avert this by requiring you to use your weapons to get inside and navigate some of the rooms. The "Magnet Beam" room from the first game and the platform hopping sequence to get in Sigma's front door in the first X series game are prime examples.
    • Gets particularly overdone in the Mega Man Battle Network series, as pretty much anyone can stroll into a secret base if they so desired. Sure, there is security, but unlocking it doesn't seem to be a hard task. Even after it's been shown people can actually lock a terminal from access. Only issue is the viruses. MMBN could be considered the ultimate how-not-to guide for Internet security.
  • Super Paper Mario: Mario and Luigi are able to sneak waltz into Bowser's castle just before he begins his invasion on the Mushroom Kingdom because he his minions forgot to lock the front gate. Whoopsie. And that isn't the only Mario game where Mario is able to make it to Bowser's throne room with only minimal effort at the beginning of the game.
  • Golden Sun:
    • At one point: The man who built the wall that's supposed to stop you had to take a few shortcuts in building the wall (and you can read his mind to find out how to get past it).
    • In Lunpa, you have an invisibility spell, and in the second game's Kibombo Mountain sequence, it's indicated that Piers took out a lot of the guards before you arrived. Golden Sun was generally pretty good about that.
  • Splinter Cell: Sam manages to sneak into the CIA. The Cut Scene shows him using a fake ID and regular clothes before shedding it for his stealth suit. For some reason, the CIA has plenty of dark areas for him to lurk in. In the PC version, he sneaks in from the lawn, using big, obvious fan vents. One of them he can simply slide up. The other one somebody left open.
  • Team Fortress 2: many of the capture-the-flag maps are basically military outposts disguised as lumber mills or grain silos and, minus the multitude of mercenaries, they have the worst security measures ever. Besides having all the doors left wide open (including one that looks like it could withstand a missile blast) and the intelligence just sitting on a desk in an empty room, there are lit-up signs pointing towards the intelligence. It's like they WANT it to get stolen.
    • Let's not forget the indestructible rail tracks and elevators that appear to be designed just for the purpose of letting the attacking team escort a bomb into an empty missile bay.
    • The fan-made map CP-Steel mostly avoids this trope by making the base capturable by opening the outer doors and eventually extending bridges, or being able to jump a bottomless pit.
  • Played for Laughs in Breath of Fire III at the McNeil Mansion. When trying to sneak in, you find a broken wall that they just fixed... poorly enough that when Rei leans on it, it falls over. Half the guards are either scared stiff or total screwoffs who don't care if you sneak in, same with the servants... one of whom even lets you use his bed as a Trauma Inn. Rei even lampshades this at one point.
  • In World of Warcraft, want to assassinate the leader of a major faction? Get forty or so buddies and just bum rush right at him. There are guards flying on their own mounts that can demount you, but they're also very bad at it. The main security feature is that it's even easier for the other faction's players to show up and start trying to murder you, and that the faction leader is a Damage-Sponge Boss.
  • In Star Wars: Battlefront, on Hoth. If the Empire tries to take Echo Base with a frontal assault, they're in for a fight. If a trooper takes a couple of minutes to circle around and enter from the hangar, he can often capture the entire base without firing a shot.
    • Conversely, a Rebel player on the same map can grab a snowspeeder from the hangar, fly to the Empire's furthest stationary command post (the other command post is a proper base, and there are two AT-ATs that count, as well), and take it over within minutes of the battle starting. The command post has only a single trench for cover and a few turrets (which the Rebel player can then use to destroy the AT-ATs once the command post is taken over), and generally, the AI will do practically nothing to defend it.
    • Played with on Endor with the Rebels. If you take a speeder and travel all the way around the map, and as long as no one sees you, you can pretty much waltz right into their shield generator building.
  • In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's Highrise map (depending on how skilled your opponents are), few people pay attention to the lower levels; this makes it somewhat easy to slip into the opponents' base and start gunning down snipers focused on the map's center. There are a few points in other maps like this, but this is the most prominent.
  • In BlazBlue, pretty much anyone who ends up getting lost seems to find their way into Rachel Alucard's mansion. Despite her claims it should be much harder to find/access. "How did you get in here?" is practically her catchphrase.
  • The Penny Arcade comic used to illustrate the trope refers to Mass Effect, and it's actually rather justified. Any and all secure locks and computers can be hacked either by playing a "Simon Says" Mini-Game or by slathering the aforementioned slime onto it, a paste of nanomachines known in the game as omni-gel produced by breaking down unneeded armor and weapons. This simulates the process of doing some mental gymnastics to hotwire the device or using some gel to craft a perfectly suited "tool" - and characters can't even attempt to do either without the prerequisite L33t electronic or decryption skills.
    • It's played straight yet again in Mass Effect 2, using two different types of matching games to hack things. It's also lampshaded in the Downloadable Content Lair Of The Shadow Broker.
    Shepard: "Remember the good old days when you could just slap omni-gel on everything?"
    Liara: "That security upgrade made a lot of people unhappy. "
  • Many times in the Pokémon series. It's understandable, given the capabilities of the villainous teams, but it gets ridiculous sometimes. Hell, it gets even more ridiculous with Team Galactic, as not only do they not make any attempts whatsoever to conceal the location of their bases, nor make them discreet, but the receptionists and all the other Mooks in the main lobby won't even act like you're slightly out of the ordinary. Hell, there's a locked door with a guard next to it, and once you find the key card and open the door that is clearly to remain closed off to outsiders, the guard continues to just sit there.
    • A particularly bad example in X and Y, where when defeating a pair of Mooks when searching for the entrance to their secret base, one of them loudly talk herself hoping that you don't find a secret door hidden in the room, while another loudly talks to himself hoping you don't figure out the password by openly reciting the password.
  • In Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Human Revolution most enemy bases are properly guarded. But somehow they always let some Data Cube or PDA with the passwords to their security systems lay around.
    • Truth in Television: Ask anyone who has to work with IT security, and they'll tell you that some people really are careless with their passwords. One example in Human Revolution has an irate lab worker on the phone with security, demanding a new access card immediately, seemingly oblivious to the obvious danger there is in having a loose card out for a high-security lab.
    • And justified in one case. The Security guy at one base in the third game is so fed up with one man forgetting the code to his bunk that he flat out prints it out and give it to the guy. The rant accompanying the keycode admits it's a security issue but he doesn't care any more.
  • Ninth Rock begins with Spencer "sneaking" into MASA, even though the door isn't locked. There are guards in the inner parts of the building, but they're crazy Fat Idiots and are hardly a hassle.
  • In the Civil War quest line of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can eventually rise to the second-highest ranked officer in all of Skyrim in either the Stormcloaks or the Imperial Legion and become notorious for being a super-elite soldier who wins pivotal battles nearly single-handed, and you can still waltz right into the enemy's capitol— in your uniform, if you want— high-fiving enemy soldiers and guardsmen the whole way in, and have a friendly chat with the enemy high commander.
  • Grand Theft Auto V has an early mission where Michael has to sneak into a software development place as it's preparing a massive public relations event. He uses the 'stand by door' method described in the Real Life section of this article to get in.
    • As expensive as Michael's mansion looks, it doesn't appear to have any sort of security system. Both Franklin and Trevor are able to gain unannounced access to the interior of the house without much effort. This also explains how Merryweather could easily infiltrate Michael's house later in the game.
    • The NOOSE base off Palomino Highway. It has security guards and electric gates, but no one will stop someone (even someone who looks like Trevor) from wandering in, climbing onto the roof, and stealing the attack chopper on the helipad.
  • The military bases in Beyond Good & Evil, an old food factory and an old slaughterhouse, have some legendary bad security. Highlights includes:
    • Electrical boxes that just shut down the electricity if you kick them.
    • Mobile high voltage defenses, placed at key security checkpoints... Guarded by robots that explode when pushed into them, destroying not only the robot (the only way to destroy some of them), but also the defense.
    • Buttons that can be pushed from a long distance with some high tech shuriken.
    • Drainage canals where humans can hide.
    • And that's before we get started on the sentinels...
  • As part of the plot of Hacknet, new "invoiability error" security is produced, which renders your Hollywood Hacking useless on those machines. The solution? Poke around in less-secure areas for the usernames and passwords needed for the secure terminal, often left strewn about in unencrypted text files. As mentioned under the Deus Ex example above, anyone in IT security will tell you this is the most realistic way of getting access to secure servers - people really will leave secure codes in files like "prometheus PW.txt".
  • The manual of James Pond 2: RoboCod explains that Dr. Maybe bought an "el-cheapo security system" that doesn't work properly in Arctic environments, which makes it possible for RoboCod to freely progress through the Hub Level in order.
  • Wing Commander: The Kilrathi Saga: In Wing Commander II, a saboteur manages to disable flight operations twice on the Concordia by planting an Incredibly Obvious Bomb on the flight deck on two separate occasions. Amazingly, the bombs are shown placed in the same position on the flight deck both times. That spot might has have a sign above it stating "plant bomb here".
  • Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom: When Blair asks for permission to land on the Black Lance star base while flying a captured Black Lance fighter, the base crew allows him to land without attempting to contact him to determine who he is or what mission he was returning from. The flight deck is nearly empty when he lands, and no one is sent to debrief him.
  • Mortal Kombat X: Shinnok's Amulet is stated by Sonya to be heavily guarded by both the Special Forces and Shaolin, and yet, Mileena was able to steal it and use it against Kotal Kahn without anyone in Earthrealm noticing until a group of Outworld refugees inform them.
  • The Starship Damrey focuses on the titular starship which has an internal computer network with the crew being assigned user accounts. In a far cry from real life network security protocols, it still allows the creation of guest accounts which have access to quite a few programs and systems they really shouldn't. This comes to a head during the plot of the game, as a Keplarian, an antagonistic alien the crew has imprisoned, is granted a guest account and uses its functions to free himself.
  • Sticky notes with passwords are all over the place in Prey (2017), and people casually exchange passwords or keycodes over email. The first safe you come across once had its code written on a whiteboard right next to it; while it's since been erased, you can find a video clip that clearly shows the still-intact code. There's also an unusual example with the Huntress toy crossbow. The darts it fires have conductive tips and fly with enough force to press buttons, so it's possible to, say, open doors to security booths by shooting into the booth and hitting the right buttons on the computer's touchscreen to unlock the door.
  • Similar password security is common in Crusader. Whenever there's a door with a combination lock, it can be taken for granted that somewhere nearby will be an unsecured computer displaying an email to the effect of "In accordance with our security policies, the access code to the lab has been changed. The new code is 372."
  • The Space Pirates in the Metroid games do try to secure their bases, but their technology is hilariously outmatched by Samus' Chozo-tech Powered Armor which effortlessly hacks their systems and undoes their best encryptions. They also never think of perhaps making their ventilation shafts smaller than morphball-sized, despite then knowing that Samus uses this technique. The human Federation tends not to do much better though when Samus needs to enter one of their facilities.
  • Both the Grineer and the Corpus of Warframe are not especially good at keeping Tenno out, as despite their best attempts, Tenno always manage to break in via Air-Vent Passageway or even being hot-dropped uncontested at their facilities. More hilarious are the situations where players can see their landing craft waiting at the evac, without any Grineer or Corpus so much as reporting them. You'd think someone would watch those landing zones...
  • In Yakuza 4, this holds true for one of the playable characters. Shun Akiyama keeps 100 billion yen stashed away in a secret vault attached to his office. The door's lock is hidden behind some books in his bookcase, but beyond that it's just a button. The guy who ends up robbing him wasn't even planning to do so when he came into the office. He just happened to come in when nobody was around, and found the button by complete accident.

    Visual Novels 
  • Daughter for Dessert:
    • The protagonist is able to break into a detective’s office and search the place without any police officer ever walking in.
    • Inverted with Cecilia’s hotel. The protagonist can’t even get past the door before a giant security guard who looks like a nightclub bouncer blocks his path. He has to rent a room just to get in.
  • Double Homework:
    • The protagonist, Henry, and the girls break into Dennis’s apartment, but it’s not clear how they get inside the building. A luxury apartment building has a lot of security; also, when the protagonist previously visits Dennis, Dennis has to buzz him in.
    • If he chooses Amy over the other girls, the protagonist can stroll up to the royal palace and knock on the door when he wants to visit without being accosted by security. Possibly justified by his relationship with Amy; after all, Amy’s mom knows who he is when they first come face-to-face.
  • In Melody, two fake crew members who nobody else saw before go backstage at the title character's concert, cut the power to her performance, and walk off with one of her instruments.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • When the doctor calls the mayor's office, only to be told the mayor is out and unavailable to talk, he reminds the receptionist that he can just walk in whenever he wants. "Your security means nothing to me."
    • McNinja, due to wearing a ninja mask at all times, isn't exactly allowed through airport security. So he lets his friend go on ahead, then just appears in the seat next to him.
    • When the doctor's father (also a ninja) needs to take Judy (a gorilla) to a small town in Germany, they have some problem with security on the plane. So they hijack the plane.
      Dan McNinja: Oh don't give me that look. We wouldn't have had to do this if you hadn't made such a big deal about the gorilla! Honestly, so rude.
  • El Goonish Shive: Elliot had no trouble breaking into the facility holding the Dewitchery Diamond. Much later in the comic, this gets retroactively justified: the facility is a trap for thieves filled with useless or very niche magical artifacts. Getting in is easy. Getting out with any magical artifacts is another matter. Ellen got out with no trouble, and Elliot and Tedd with only moderate trouble, simply because they did not attempt to take any magical artifacts with them.
  • Played for laughs in Freefall. Sam knows that often the most effective security doesn't rely on trying to keep people away, but on making people want to stay away. Need perimeter security for an unguarded ship? Surround it with signs saying "Come in! Let's talk AMWAY!" Want to have a private conversation without raising suspicion? Set up a booth marked "Want more e-mail? Sign up here for SPAM!"
    Sam: Don't laugh. It works.
    Florence: I know I wouldn't go any further.
  • Molten Blade. Sure, they had a universal card key, but they were also shown bluffing their way past at least three checkpoints. Somebody really needs to be fired.
  • Nodwick: The title character gets the party into an enemy fortress by claiming that they are maintenance people. He comments that the Thieves Guild would be unstoppable if they invested in coveralls with 'Al' stenciled on them.
  • Nukees: At one point Gav breaks into a military base by claiming to be a pizza delivery boy.
  • Skin Horse: Annex One has a single guard, Ira, who is mind-wiped so regularly that he doesn't remember anyone who works in the building (which might be an attempt by their superiors to make them remember their passes). On the other hand, the maintenance hatches are state of the art biometric locks that require matches on dozens of security criteria... which is a pain, so the maintenance guys just stick a comb in the latch to hold it open.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Puss invites the Riddling Sphinx to guard the gates of San Lorenzo to protect its treasure from thieves, but she's often sleeping, away, or simply lets thieves in because they solved her riddle.
  • In Archer, the password to the ISIS mainframe is "guest". Anytime this is found out, the character discovering it is usually appalled. All passwords everywhere are always "guest".
  • There are no examples of Batman's many hideout break-ins in the DC Animated Universe because he's Batman, so flimsy or top-notch security is all the same.
    • Although, break-ins to the Batcave (when not being used to just set up the new Robin) happen infrequently enough to be used to point out someone being a serious threat, without having devolved to the point of The Worf Effect quite yet.
      • But played straight in the pilot of Batman Beyond. Terry finds the Batcave just by fiddling with the clock that hides the entrance (a bat had gotten stuck in the clock face). For someone so paranoid about his identity, that was a severe lapse in competence. Possibly justified, since this is an elderly Bruce Wayne who retired from being Batman decades ago.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head: In "Drones", the military compound's drone control center was left unlocked and unguarded for the duo to access it.
  • Dexter's Laboratory was always open to DeeDee, no matter how much security Dexter installed. At least he tries. In one episode he did manage to seal it off completely... but locked himself out in the process.
  • Lampshaded in The Emperor's New School where it sometimes seemed that Yzma had more trouble getting into her secret lab than anyone else.
  • In Exo Squad, a TV reporter has unescorted access to the bridge of the fleet's capital ship during military operations against Space Pirates. Geraldo Rivera has nothing on this guy. Fortunately Admiral Winfield spots the guy and angrily throws him off the bridge as soon as Winfield sees him.
  • One cutaway in Family Guy has Peter talk about being a security guard for George Harrison. An intruder manages to sneak past Peter and break into Harrison's house to attack him because Peter was focused on watching Charles in Charge. When he hears the screams and crashes coming from Harrison's house. he just yells at Harrison to "keep it down."
  • Futurama has the Cryogenics Lab. Characters that have entered in the third millennium include Fry (multiple times), Nibbler, Bender (multiple times), and basically anyone who wants to be frozen for a thousand years or so (or wants that to happen to someone else). No one even seems to notice.
  • The Gargoyles were able to access David Xanatos' castle on top of the Erie Building seemingly at will, though he probably could have stopped them if he wanted to. Sometimes, that was the point. While the Gargoyles come and go as they please (since they can fly), Eliza was denied access to the castle at least once when she was on foot.
  • Lampshaded in the I Am Not an Animal episode 'Home'. When the animals are trying to break back into the vivisection laboratory they are told that:
    A klaxon sounds and all the security systems turn off, just as the guards all take a twenty minute break. For some reason.
  • In one episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius goes through an elaborate, booby-trapped hall to a room guarded by a robotic hand that requires a complicated handshake to get past. Upon entering, Beezy walks in and gets a soda from the fridge.
    Lucius: What is the point of having all this security if you just ignore it?!
  • The Johnny Test episode "Johnny Mint Chip" relies on this for the entire plot. The only person seen working at the ice cream factory the group visits is the tour guide, who they easily slip away from to explore the rest of the factory. Lampshaded by Susan late in the episode, when she quips "Security in this place is horrible" while they're speeding across the factory on a stolen golf cart.
  • Happens a lot in Kim Possible. The hardest part is usually actually getting to the secret lair; once there, getting inside is cake.
  • There's the Looney Tunes version, in which you barricade the door with everything you've got, and then the creature you were trying to keep out appears behind you, with no clue of how it got in. "The Cat Came Back" sort of deal.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has an odd example in the episode "It's About Time". Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, and Spike sneak into the Canterlot archives to seek a particular spell. While they make an effort to avoid the guards, Twilight forgets that as Celestia's personal student, she's already allowed entrance. So, when one finally spots Twilight and her friends, he helpfully unlocks the door. Later, Twilight's mentor Princess Celestia simply passes right by her and wishes her a "Happy Tuesday." Lampshaded by Twilight.
    Twilight Sparkle: Why isn't anypony surprised to see me sneaking around in here?
    • Potentially justified by the episode's Aesop being about Twilight getting herself worked up over nothing.
  • In the Rugrats episode "Toy Palace" where Tommy and Chuckie are left behind in a toy store, Stu and Chaz go to the security guard for help looking for them. The guard doubts the babies could be in the store because the security system is top of the range and would have picked them up. He is right about the security system being top of the range and it actually does spot them several times. The problem was the guard wasn't paying attention to the monitors.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: The guards at Bright Moon are not very good at their jobs. While their inability to keep out Shadow Weaver is probably justified, since Shadow Weaver is a sorceress of some skill, and Bow and Glimmer know how to sneak people in and out, their failure with Scorpia and Emily in the fourth season is a bit more mind-boggling; neither of the above have magical powers or have ever been there before, Emily is a quirkily programmed robot that acts like a dog, and Scorpia is built like a linebacker and can have a hard time handling objects quietly given that she has pincers instead of hands. They even manage to find the right room before anyone notices them!
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "Realty Bites", one item at a police auction is a pair of wrought-iron security gates confiscated from a drug kingpin named Johnny D. The gates are bulletproof, bombproof, and battering ram-resistant. How did Johnny D. get caught? He forgot to lock them.
    • In "Last Exit to Springfield", Mr. Burns and Smithers have to get to the nuclear plant's control room by going through multiple security doors and passing various authentication tests such as a face scanner. Upon reaching the control room, Burns has to shoo out a stray dog. A stray dog that had gotten in through the old, broken screen door leading out to the parking lot. Overlaps with Dungeon Bypass.
    • All the way back in the first season, "The Crepes Of Wrath" had a kid spy from Albania named Adil stay with the Simpsons as a foreign exchange student. When Adil asked for a tour of the power plant so he could take pictures of restricted areas, Homer said he could do it even if he had to "pull a few strings with the boys in security."
    • The episode "I Married Marge", which is set in the 1980s, shows that the plant's security was just as bad back then. Homer manages to get a job at the plant by marching right past a guard who's lazing around watching TV. He manages to get all the way into Mr. Burns's office to personally demand a job, apparently without any security trying to stop him.
  • Lampshaded in the South Park "Imaginationland" three-parter:
    "Why is it so easy for children to get inside the Pentagon?!"
  • Tombstone, who in The Spectacular Spider Man fills the Diabolical Mastermind crime lord role of the Kingpin, has a problem with Spider-Man (and later Venom) entering his office through the window. After this happens several times in succession, he deadpans, "I really should start locking those windows."
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Good Neighbors", Squidward has enough of SpongeBob and Patrick ruining his day and installs a security system that will dispose of any threat to his home, but the two walk into Squid's house without any problems. Justified because, while Squidward sees them as a threat, that doesn't mean the system does.
  • Steven Universe: Lampshaded in "The Trial"; Steven's lawyer Zircon points out that it should have been essentially impossible for Rose Quartz to have gotten close enough to Pink Diamond to shatter her. Pink Diamond was surrounded by attendants, including precognitive Sapphires, Agate bodyguards, and her personal Pearl. Moreover, Rose Quartz had been a known public enemy for centuries and all other Rose Quartz gems had been bubbled, so she would have been instantly recognizable. So how could Rose Quartz have possibly gotten close enough to shatter Pink Diamond without anyone trying to fight her off, or at least sound the alarm? We're given the answer later that season: Rose Quartz was actually Pink Diamond, who collaborated with her Pearl (the 'Rose Quartz' witnesses saw) to fake her death. Understandably, the guards didn't see that one coming.
  • Teen Titans Go!: In "Sidekick", the Teen Titans are able to just waltz right into the Batcave, Batman's top-secret lair, simply because Robin left the door open on his way in.
  • The Transformers:
    • The Autobots are able to stow away on the Decepticon spacebridge pretty much whenever they want, since the guards always have remarkably bad aim with their weapons.
    • Laserbeak is often able to sneak onto the Ark undetected to spy on the Autobots by virtue of being on the small side; in one case, he hitches a ride in on an Autobot while in tape mode. His boss Soundwave manages to get himself carried in just as often.

    Real Life 
  • Worst real-life example ever: Michael Fagan, who not only sneaked into Buckingham Palace in 1982 but managed to get all the way to the Queen's bedroom and chat with her for a while while security finally came. Apparently the palace security was so used to the oversensitive alarms going off all the time that they had stopped taking them seriously ...
  • Many chain stores don't put near as much effort into preventing shoplifting as they could, the reason being it would actually cost them more money than they lose to theft to take the preventative measures. Stores put a lot of effort into monitoring "shrinkage" (How much product is lost to theft, damage, etc) and have a value that, as long as the shrink is less than that value, everything is a-okay.
  • Social Engineering.
    • Just ask Kevin Mitnick, a famous hacker. For example, need to get inside a door that can only be opened with a card key? Just stand outside, wait for someone to come by, say something along the lines of "I'm new here" or "I'm having a bad day, my card was destroyed..." People are nice enough to open doors with no questions asked. That is just one example.
    • A particularly devious method is standing next to the door while holding a bunch of (seemingly) heavy boxes, or folders, etc. Not only will people be willing to help you, but will most likely assume you have the card and just can't reach it. Many places where card access is given to people who haven't had any kind of security instruction have large signs actually instructing you to close the door in front of the next person. They don't work, of course (the real solution would be to actually train people). Most companies very specifically warn their employees against this, but people rarely cooperate. No one wants to be the Jerkass who wouldn't let the poor new guy in. It's bad enough companies have had to make not making the person behind you use their own card a termination-level offense.
  • Passwords:
    • Similar to the above examples, the easiest way to get a password is to ring the building and say "This is Tech Support - can I have your Username and Password?" Despite the fact that Tech Support will never say this (they'll usually have an Admin Password that allows them into all accounts) and that people are warned never to give this info out, it still works a lot of the time.
    • Some people will actually volunteer this information unprompted when they call tech support. The average person does not understand electronic security very well.
    • It doesn't help that companies frequently require employees to remember passwords to several different systems and set up expiration periods, forcing people to create new passwords every X number of days. An average person is more likely to use the same exact password for all those systems, only changing a digit or two when creating a new one. Additionally, despite companies forbidding people from writing those passwords down, people do, since it's a hassle to call tech support every time they forget a password. It's amazing what you can find taped under people's desks.
    • Speaking of passwords, the practice of masking password input fields continues despite contributing greatly to password weaknesses. Masking was developed when the only possible access was from public terminals to prevent the password from being seen over the shoulder of the typist. Now this is rarely possible since computers are usually used in where someone reading over your shoulder is unlikely. Masked passwords must be short and hence easy to crack since any typo won't be spotted until the password is entered. Where this practiced ended considerably longer and more secure passwords could be used since the user could spot any typos while entering it.
    • Password security questions. Some services (usually email) will require you to pick from a set of pre-written questions and write answers to them, and if you forget your password, you're to answer this question in order to reset your password. Most of these pre-written questions will ask for answers that can easily be obtained through Social Engineering such as "What city did you grow up in?" or "What's your mother's maiden name?" (which for many is their own middle name); worse, most of the time you can't just make up your own questions. Granted, the next step after answering one of these questions is usually to then have a password reset link emailed to you and you'll need to be able to access your email account to use the link (thus security questions simply prevent random folks from spamming your email account), but if the question is the only thing guarding your account from a password change, the answer is effectively an extremely weak alternative password in practice, unless you get crafty and make a password-grade answer that doesn't actually answer the question (some password managers will even offer to create such an "answer" for you in a manner similar to proper passwords if it detects security questions). Of course, you can always lie, if you can remember your specific answer, such as a pet of a species or type you never had.
  • A white hard hat, an ID that looks appropriate on a lanyard, and a Clipboard of Authority will get you in anywhere.
  • An event in which a couple crashed a White House party pointed out this. The White House actually used to be like this regularly, up until after the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. It was how the Prez kept in touch with the people. It was still pretty easy to get into the White House after the Lincoln assassination, too. Charles Guiteau, the future assassin of President James Garfield, was able to get several meetings with the President to discuss his supposed pending appointing as Ambassador to France, even though Garfield didn't know him from Adam. Garfield's shooting was itself an example, as it happened in public when he'd entered a train station (without guards, to boot). Guiteau (along with everyone else) was able to simply walk right up. This applies to Lincoln (his bodyguard, a chronic alcoholic, left for a nearby bar, with no one stopping Booth from entering his box at the theater, albeit he was an actor who'd performed at it, thus his presence didn't arouse suspicion) and McKinley (shot while greeting people at the Pan-American Expedition in Buffalo, NY (Leon Czolgosz simply wrapping his hand and pistol in bandages, faking an injury to cover it). Security still wasn't really amplified before JFK was shot in an open-top automobile. In the wake of that, Presidential security is very tight, and none have been assassinated since (though there have been a couple near misses and a non-fatal shooting).
  • Several Russian officials caught a lot of flak when a group of students revealed that they had broken into a Russian nuclear facility with almost zero effort. Once they got past the fences, they had free run of the place and took photos of everything they came across. Apparently there were no guards stationed at the facility or they all just decided to go on break.
  • While lobby guards keep an eye on who's coming into the lobby of a building, the building's employees and/or residents usually will politely hold the door open for anyone coming up behind who looks like they are coming in, too.
  • Steve Gibson explains in episode 530 of Security Now that the public address system at most target stores is simply a three digit extension on a telephone. This is how someone was able to play porn over the loudspeaker.
  • In fact, this is the whole objective of the Security Now podcast.
  • In 2011 the U.S. government conducted an experiment by leaving unmarked USB sticks around the parking lots of government and contractor facilities, to test how many people would just pick up the stick and slot it in their machine to see what's on it, without any kind of security precautions. The result was 60%, which went up to 90% simply by having the logo of the place on the stick.
  • Anyone who's done any sort of delivery service such as UPS or pizza delivery eventually encounters a gate requiring a code. Oftentimes, they'll be given a list of gate codes for their area or are allowed to ask. Thing is, now they have the code and can give it to anyone they want, including burglars, solicitors, or even just hacks who want to harass the people behind the gates. This is why most gates have "call" features these days which serve a dual purpose: keep the code safe, and also provide a convenient way for the person to reach a given address should they not know the code or another vehicle isn't driving in that they can just tail behind. The homeowner will only let people in on official business, and since they already know you're coming and have official business it isn't an issue... theoretically speaking, as the homeowner may be out and about, either having forgotten about the delivery or assumed the driver will somehow finagle their way in. Or the delivery is not under any name on the directory.
  • From 1968-1985, US Navy Warrant Officer John Anthony Walker acted as a spy for the Soviet Union, handing over thousands of pages of classified documents in exchange for millions of dollars in cash payments. Despite two decades of espionage, Walker was never even suspected of criminal activity by authorities. He received an honorable retirement from the navy in 1976 and continued his spying even after leaving service, getting his son (who was also in the navy) involved in his activities as well. Walker's downfall and arrest only happened as a result of his estranged ex-wife turning him in. When asked how he was able to get away with espionage for so long without being detected, he said, "K-Mart has better security than the Navy".
  • Versailles before The French Revolution. It was bad enough that Marie-Antoinette had additional bodyguards, and dodged Jeanne Valois's attempt at scamming her because she herself knew Jeanne's fame and face and instructed her guards to keep her away the moment she spotted her.
  • According to this Tumblr user, their boss once used this trope to demonstrate to her boss how easy it was to steal a set of original Churchill documents, worth millions, in the museum they worked at. The room housing them had no security guards or cameras, and the only thing protecting them was a sheet of glass secured by four screws. When she initially pointed out the security concern, she was ignored. So she bought a ticket, pretended to be a guest, wore a clearly visible drill on her belt, used it to unscrew the glass, brought the documents to her boss's office, and said, "I just stole these in 15 minutes." Once he was done being mad at her, he increased security for the documents.
  • Android phones have an "unlock pattern" as one of the phone unlocking options, which is very popular amongst users. Rather than tapping numerical keys, you instead trace a pattern on a grid of nine dots. The problem is, many users who use unlock patterns have the blatantly visible unlock trail enabled (which is the default, and in older versions of Android it was a thick bright green trail), allowing anyone who is next to them (like a family member, a classmate, or a coworker) to easily see the pattern. Failing that, because users tend to press somewhat firmly to enter the pattern, they may leave a fingerprint trail that makes it still obvious what the pattern is, reducing the maximum number of times one needs to guess to two (one for each directon).

Alternative Title(s): No Locked Doors And No Guards