Book of the Month: Schneier on Security
This has to be one of the most interesting, absorbing books I have read in a long time. Bruce Schneier, undoubtedly the world’s leading expert on the subject, presents this remarkable collection of essays on computer security. The book divides the collection of essays into 12 chapters on topics ranging from national security policy and privacy to economics and psychology.
It is refreshing to see a commonsense perspective on technological and security matters. Schneier sets the scene right from the start in an introduction to say all security involves trade-offs’. The theme cuts across the various domains covered by the essays in the entire book and in fact presents a very practical guiding principle for security researchers and practitioners.
Chapter 8 on the economics of security is my favourite. It covers an exciting intersection between the two disciplines, economics and information security, which explains why economic motivation is important if security is to improve.
The author’s writing style is captivating. Every essay is succinct, mostly focusing on a problem and bringing out the often subtle issues immediately. The author manages to express complex ideas in simple words and draws clear conclusions at the end of every essay.
For those teaching the subject, this book is full of interesting case studies and discussions to be shared amongst students. I would recommend bringing in such insightful perspectives into the curriculum.
Think of this book as a form of Schneier’s vast experience and intelligence distilled into little chunks of wisdom each conveying the message simply one by one. This is priceless.