Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World

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Springer Science & Business Media, Jul 28, 2003 - Computers - 295 pages
3 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gallifrey - LibraryThing

This is one of the best books for all audiences wondering what they can or should do to prepare for contingencies. The author is easily understood and explains the difference between genuine threats and sensible responses, and the foolish and wasteful responses that usually follow a crisis. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TimothyBurke - LibraryThing

Sensible to the point of making you wonder why his advice is very clearly not the guiding principle behind most security regimes in the world. Even when his specifics strike me as at least arguable ... Read full review

Contents

All Security Involves Tradeoffs
3
Security Tradeoffs Are Subjective 33
17
How Security Works 47 4 Systems and How They Fail
47
Knowing the Attackers
59
Attackers Never Change Their Tunes Just Their Instruments
73
Technology Creates Security Imbalances 103
87
Security Is a WeakestLink Problem 119
103
Brittleness Makes for Bad Security
119
Detection Is Useless Without Response
167
Identification Authentication and Authorization 14 All Countermeasures Have Some Value 207 But No Countermeasure Is Perfect 233
207
257
240
Negotiating for Security
257
Security Demystified
271
Authors Note
282
Acknowledgments
283
Index
285

Security Revolves Around People
133
Detection Works Where Prevention Fails 167
147

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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.