Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World

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Springer Science & Business Media, Jul 28, 2003 - Computers - 295 pages
37 Reviews

Many of us, especially since 9/11, have become personally concerned about issues of security, and this is no surprise. Security is near the top of government and corporate agendas around the globe. Security-related stories appear on the front page everyday. How well though, do any of us truly understand what achieving real security involves?

In Beyond Fear, Bruce Schneier invites us to take a critical look at not just the threats to our security, but the ways in which we're encouraged to think about security by law enforcement agencies, businesses of all shapes and sizes, and our national governments and militaries. Schneier believes we all can and should be better security consumers, and that the trade-offs we make in the name of security - in terms of cash outlays, taxes, inconvenience, and diminished freedoms - should be part of an ongoing negotiation in our personal, professional, and civic lives, and the subject of an open and informed national discussion.

With a well-deserved reputation for original and sometimes iconoclastic thought, Schneier has a lot to say that is provocative, counter-intuitive, and just plain good sense. He explains in detail, for example, why we need to design security systems that don't just work well, but fail well, and why secrecy on the part of government often undermines security. He also believes, for instance, that national ID cards are an exceptionally bad idea: technically unsound, and even destructive of security. And, contrary to a lot of current nay-sayers, he thinks online shopping is fundamentally safe, and that many of the new airline security measure (though by no means all) are actually quite effective. A skeptic of much that's promised by highly touted technologies like biometrics, Schneier is also a refreshingly positive, problem-solving force in the often self-dramatizing and fear-mongering world of security pundits.

Schneier helps the reader to understand the issues at stake, and how to best come to one's own conclusions, including the vast infrastructure we already have in place, and the vaster systems--some useful, others useless or worse--that we're being asked to submit to and pay for.

Bruce Schneier is the author of seven books, including Applied Cryptography (which Wired called "the one book the National Security Agency wanted never to be published") and Secrets and Lies (described in Fortune as "startlingly lively...[a] jewel box of little surprises you can actually use."). He is also Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Counterpane Internet Security, Inc., and publishes Crypto-Gram, one of the most widely read newsletters in the field of online security.

  

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Review: Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World

User Review  - Dave Peticolas - Goodreads

Schneier analyzes the concept of security by breaking it down into five concrete questions that must be answered in any security situation (computer or otherwise). With clear exposition he draws on all aspects of life for his examples, with a somewhat heightened focus on terrorism. Read full review

Review: Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World

User Review  - Euan_b - Goodreads

Excellent book that breaks down in layman's terms what really matters about security and hwo to think about it. Read full review

Contents

All Security Involves Tradeoffs
3
Security Tradeoffs Are Subjective
17
Security Tradeoffs Depend on Power and Agenda
33
How Security Works
45
Systems and How They Fail
47
Knowing the Attackers
59
Attackers Never Change Their Tunes Just Their Instruments
73
Technology Creates Security Imbalances
87
Detection Is Useless Without Response
167
Identification Authentication and Authorization
181
All Countermeasures Have Some Value But No Countermeasure Is Perfect
207
Fighting Terrorism
233
The Game of Security
255
Negotiating for Security
257
Security Demystified
271
Authors Note
282

Security Is a WeakestLink Problem
103
Brittleness Makes for Bad Security
119
Security Revolves Around People
133
Detection Works Where Prevention Fails
147
Acknowledgments
283
Index
285
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Bruce Schneier is the author of seven books, including Applied Cryptography which Wired called "the one book the National Security Agency wanted never to be published" and Secrets and Lies, described in Fortune as a "startlingly lively jewel box of little surprises you can actually use." He is also founder and Chief Technology Officer of Counterpane Internet Security, Inc., and publishes Crypto-Gram, one of the most widely read newsletters in the field of online security.