Beyond Fear

Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World

$25, Copernicus Books (September 2003)

TALKING ABOUT SECURITY CAN LEAD TO ANXIETY, PANIC, AND DREAD... OR COOL ASSESSMENTS, COMMON SENSE AND PRACTICAL PLANNING.

Over the last two years we've become obsessed with security, and put in place a whole host of policies and procedures that will do... exactly what? In his latest book, BEYOND FEAR, security expert Bruce Schneier explains how security really works. The key is to think of security not in absolutes, but in terms of sensible trade-offs, whether on a personal or global scale. Schneier's practical approach to problem-solving is a refreshing antidote to today's doomsday pessimism and anxiety. With the technical know-how and common sense that have made him one of the world's top security experts, Schneier shows how we can move beyond fear to start thinking sensibly and creatively about security.

"Schneier is a rare creature... Although he made his name as an alpha geek in cryptography... [he] can also speak to laypeople about the general security matters that increasingly touch all of our lives."

- Business Week

"The questions in this book are not Left, or Right--they are important. Schneier avoids the politics to get to a truth. This extraordinarily clear and powerful analysis by the leading thinker in security of our time gives everyone--from policymakers to citizens--a way of understanding, and resolving, one of the most important issues facing society today."

- Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law School

"Once again Schneier proves that he is the one of few people who indeed understands security, and what is more important and more difficult, can explain complex concepts to people not specializing in security. Whatever your trade and whatever your background, go ahead and read it ..."

- itsecurity.com

"With a combination of funny yet pointed anecdotes, clear statistics and the occasional Harry Potter reference, Schneier uses his talent for cogent, rational explanation to show how people can think about security in the modern world, instead of simply panicking at every ominous news report."

- slashdot.org

"What are we getting in exchange for the liberties that the authorities have taken away from us in the name of security? This is possibly the most important question of this decade, and that makes Schneier's book one of the most important texts of the decade. This should be required reading for every American...."

- boingboing.net

From the Book Cover

Does arming pilots make flying safer?

Will computerized voting machines make election results more accurate?

Is online shopping with credit cards especially risky?

Will a national ID card better protect us from terrorism?

If you read the newspapers or listen to the pundits you might answer "yes" to these questions, but the truth will surprise you. Security expert Bruce Schneier has spent his entire career figuring out how security actually works, and he explains it all in this entertaining and readable book. Beyond Fear goes beyond the hype, and explains how we all can think sensibly about security. In today's uncertain world, security is too important to be left to others. Drawing from his experience advising world business and political leaders, Schneier demonstrates the practical -- and surprisingly simple -- steps we can all take to address the real threats faced by our families, our communities, and our nation.

Security is not mysterious, Bruce Schneier tells us, and contrary to popular belief, it is not hard. What is hard is separating the hype from what really matters. You already make security choices every day of your life, from what side of the street you walk on to whether you park your car under a streetlight. You do it naturally. This book guides you, step by step, through the process of making all your security choices just as natural.

Schneier invites us all to move beyond fear and to start thinking sensibly about security. He tells us why security is much more than cameras, guards, and photo IDs, and why expensive gadgets and technological cure-alls often obscure the real security issues. Using anecdotes from history, science, sports, movies, and the evening news, Beyond Fear explains basic rules of thought and action that anyone can understand and, most important of all, anyone can use. The benefits of Schneier's non-alarmist, common-sense approach to analyzing security will be immediate. You'll have more confidence about the security decisions you make, and new insights into security decisions that others make on your behalf. Whether your goal is to enhance security at home, at the office, and on the road, or to participate more knowledgeably and confidently in the current debates about security in our communities and the nation at large, this book will change the way you think about security for the rest of your life.

More Reviews

"Beyond Fear is a tour de force, stuffed with more ideas than I have room to talk about here. It is a timely contribution to our national debate."

- News & Observer

"Bruce Schneier has a machine that enables him to turn out good books with amazing regularly. Applied Cryptography (now in a second edition) and Secrets & Lies have been reviewed by me previously. Bruce's Beyond Fear is, quite simply, in a class by itself. This is not 'merely' a book about computer security, it's a book about just how ineffective those waits in airports are. It's about why ID cards will be absurd encumbrances and why ID checks are just worthless. Beyond Fear is a must by and a must read. If only there were a way to get someone like Tom Ridge and W to read it."

- ;login:

"Once again Schneier proves that he is the one of few people who indeed understands security, and what is more important and more difficult, that he can explain complex security concepts to people not specializing in security. Whatever your trade and whatever your background, go ahead and read it because security affects your life."

- itsecurity.com

"With a combination of funny yet pointed anecdotes, clear statistics and the occasional Harry Potter reference, Schneier uses his talent for cogent, rational explanation to show how people can think about security in the modern world, instead of simply panicking at every ominous news report."

- slashdot.org

"Bruce Schneier is one of the world's best known and most pragmatic security experts. He is also a man of considerable breadth of knowledge... What Schneier could have chosen to do in this book was to create a treatise for experts. He has the expertise to do it, is eminently qualified to do so, and would be taken seriously if he did. Instead, he has chosen to cater to the masses and written what is, in my opinion, the best primer on security...."

- Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

"...one of the U.S.'s premiere security experts... 'homeland security' will continue to be a major political lever used to introduce more government control and oversight into our lives... perhaps Bruce's new book will at least inject some common sense into the discussion."

- Aldoblog

"The big frustration for security professionals is that most people--including those making security decisions at all levels of our society--simply don't get it.... Bruce Schneier gets it, and this shows clearly in his new book. If you could only read one book about security, the book you should read is Beyond Fear."

- The Business and Security e-Journal

"In his new book ... Schneier--one of the world's leading authorities on security trade-offs--completes the metamorphosis from cryptographer to pragmatist..."

- InfoWorld

" Schneier has utterly demystified the idea of security with a text aimed squarely at nontechnical individuals. He takes his legendary skill at applying common sense and lucidity to information-security problems and applies it to all the bogeymen of the post-9/11 world, and asks the vital question: What are we getting in exchange for the liberties that the Ashcroftian authorities have taken away from us in the name of security? This is possibly the most important question of this decade, and that makes Schneier's book one of the most important texts of the decade. This should be required reading for every American...

- boingboing.net

"From terrorism to computer viruses, it's obvious that security is everyone's concern now. Bruce Schneier tells us how."

- IEEE Spectrum

"Once again, Schneier manages to describe complex security concepts and interdependencies without a word of technical jargon...and once again proves he is the one of few who indeed understand security."

- The IT Security Encyclopaedia

"Straight talk from one of the world's foremost security experts."

- Jay Walker, Founder,U.S. HomeGuard

"A lot of security experts try to cow you with fear, uncertainty, and doubt. What's refreshing about Schneier is his clarity, directness, and honesty. You don't come away from reading him with the feeling you've been sold a bill of goods."

- Philip Kamaras,Former District Attorney,Kings County, New York

"Bruce Schneier believes that real security involves not just legislators, police, and the military. He convincingly demonstrates that we all need to take an active, intelligent role in making ourselves secure."

- Jerome D. Cohen, Former Justice, New York State Supreme Court

Ordering signed copies

Signed copies are available for $31 shipped to U.S. addresses, $47 to addresses in Canada, and $50 to the rest of the world. (Yes, buying it from an online bookstore is cheaper -- and you can always find me at a conference and ask me to sign the book.)

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Publication Details

ISBN 0-387-02620-7
Springer-Verlag
Hardcover - 296 pages
Sep 2003 - $25.00

"He is one of the world's leading experts on computer security, and arguably the most articulate.... Mr. Schneier's book is no anti-authoritarian tract.... Nor, despite its subject matter, is it gloomy. It is often surprisingly entertaining.... Mr. Schneier's aim is to demystify security for a general readership and provide the tools to evaluate and challenge badly designed and pointless security measures. With security an increasingly obtrusive part of everyday life, Beyond Fear deserves to be widely read."

- The Economist

"...intriguing and thought-provoking..."

- Computerworld

"...unquestionably the world's foremost security technologist...."

- Connections, Canadian Information Processing Society

"Bruce is the first person I call when I need to understand a hard security question."

- Elinor Abreu, Reuters

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