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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Finally in paperback: what may be the world’s most thoughtful guide to computer and network security. Bruce Schneier’s Secrets and Lies is for anyone who needs to address security: businesspeople and technical people alike.
Schneier begins with a paradox: “Even as we learn more about security... we build things with less security.” This book explains why -- and what can (and can’t) be done about it.
The problem starts with systems. They’re complex. They interact. They’re buggy. And they have “emergent” properties their creators never anticipated. The best (if imperfect) response: prevention, detection, and reaction. (Most networks rely primarily on prevention. Not enough.)
Schneier then explains why attacks are becoming more frequent, widespread, automated, and difficult to track. What to do? Working from the premise that technology isn’t nearly everything, he carefully explains today’s key security technologies. Never expected to understand public-key encryption or digital signatures? You finally will.
Today’s most common attacks are covered; so are the best available responses (often far from foolproof). There’s also a brutally realistic chapter on the human side of computer security: how people perceive risks, the futility of asking them to make intelligent security decisions, and the dangers of “social engineering.”
Part III is dedicated to high-level response strategies -- including Schneier’s own “attack trees” technique, the first systematic way to describe threats, countermeasures, and overall security.
Schneier’s updated this edition with a new introduction: “What Has Changed Since 9-11.” Like the rest of this book -- and his many public writings on homeland security -- it’s very much worth reading. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2003 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.