Essays in the Category "Computer and Information Security"

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'Fire Walls' Stand as a Protectant Between Trouble and the Network.

  • Bruce Schneier
  • MacWEEK
  • June 8, 1992

Large buildings are often built with fire walls — fire-resistant barriers between vital parts. A fire may burn out one section of the building, but the fire wall will stop it from spreading. The same philosophy can protect Macintosh networks from unauthorized access and network faults.

A network fire wall usually is nothing more than a router configured to prevent certain network packets from traveling between parts of the network. For instance, a router can partition off the machines in the R&D department, so other network users can’t access secret information. Some routers can be programmed to transfer electronic mail but restrict remote-terminal log-ons. And the chairman of the board’s laser printer could be hidden from the rest of the network, so the average user can’t print on that machine…

Sharing Secrets Among Friends

Whether you're protecting a nuclear missile or your new recipe for burger sauce, polynomial encryption can prevent people from stealing your secrets.

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Computer Language
  • April 1992

Let’s say you’ve invented a new, extra-gooey, extra-sweet, creme filling; or a burger sauce that is even more tasteless than before. This stuff is important; you have to keep the recipe secret. You can tell only your most trusted employees the exact mixture of ingredients, but what if one of them defects to the competition? Before, long every grease palace on the block would be making burgers as tasteless as yours. That just wouldn’t do.

You can take a message and divide it up into secure pieces. Each of the pieces by itself means nothing, but put them all together and the message appears. If each employee has a piece of the recipe, then only together can they make the sauce (employees could type their portion into a central sauce-making computer or something). If any employee jumps ship with a piece of the recipe, the portion is useless by itself…

Computer Security: Key Management Issue

MacWEEK Special Report: Emerging Technologies

  • Bruce Schneier
  • MacWEEK
  • March 16, 1992

Back when computers stood alone on desks, unconnected to the rest of the world, computer security was simply a matter of locking an office door, putting a lock on the power supply or installing a security software package. Today, the rules of computer security are changing, and in years to come, it’s going to be a whole new ball game.

What used to be the concern solely of the military is required by more and more companies. “Between LANs, file servers and dial-up connections, it’s hard to regulate who has access to what,” said Steven Bass, principal software engineer at Codex Corp., a division of Motorola Inc. in Canton, Mass…

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.