News: 2002 Archives
Tech entrepreneur Bruce Schneier is one of America's best-known computer security experts. His testimony before Congress helped defeat legal restrictions on cryptography sought by the FBI and the National Security Agency when an appellate court ruled in 1999 that crypto algorithms were a form of speech covered by the First Amendment.
Schneier co-founded security services company Counterpane Internet Security, where he serves as chief technologist. Arguing that constant vigilance, not technology, is the best defense against computer break-ins, Schneier believes security breaches are nonetheless fated to increase as networking systems become more complex.
A top expert says America's approach to protecting itself will only make matters worse. Forget "foolproof" technology—we need systems designed to fail smartly
- To stop the rampant theft of expensive cars, manufacturers in the 1990s began to make ignitions very difficult to hot-wire. This reduced the likelihood that cars would be stolen from parking lots—but apparently contributed to the sudden appearance of a new and more dangerous crime, carjacking.
- After a vote against management Vivendi Universal announced earlier this year that its electronic shareholder-voting system, which it had adopted to tabulate votes efficiently and securely, had been broken into by hackers. Because the new system eliminated the old paper ballots, recounting the votes—or even independently verifying that the attack had occurred—was impossible.
- To help merchants verify and protect the identity of their customers, marketing firms and financial institutions have created large computerized databases of personal information: Social Security numbers, credit-card numbers, telephone numbers, home addresses, and the like. With these databases being increasingly interconnected by means of the Internet, they have become irresistible targets for criminals.
Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.
Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of IBM Resilient.