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Schneier on Security Hardcover – 26 Sep 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (26 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470395354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470395356
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Bruce Schneier is the go-to security expert for business leaders and policy makers. His breakthrough book Applied Cryptography (1994, 1998) explained how the arcane science of secret codes actually works, and was described by Wired as "the book the National Security Agency wanted never to be published." His business-oriented bestseller Secrets and Lies (2000) was called by Fortune "[a] jewel box of little surprises you can actually use." Best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator, he has appeared in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as on NPR, CNN, and the major networks. He has also testified on security before the United States Congress.

Product Description


"...the timing of the release...could hardly be′s certainly convenient to have [Schneier′s columns] collected in one place." (, October 22nd 2008) "His conclusions are insightful and often provocative...A fascination read." (.Net, January 2008) "...refreshing common–sense approach...indispensable for anyone in the security industry and a thought–provoking read for anyone else." (Information Age, November 2008) " easy book to dip into...thought provoking, showing clear logic and real world examples...a highly accessible introduction to "security thinking"." (PC Pro, March 2009) "Thought provoking and refreshingly honest, this is a fascinating reading...rivetingread throughout...A compelling digest" (Linux Format, April 2009) "We could very well do with more Bruce Schneiers to advance that passionate cause for rational thinking" (Infosecurity, April 2009)

From the Inside Flap

You take off your shoes in the airport. You scan the supermarket′s "preferred customer" card to get the sale price. You claw your way through tamper–resistant packaging for a couple of aspirin. You accept all these inconveniences in the name of security. But are you any safer? Bruce Schneier, arguably the world′s foremost authority on computer security, has explored security issues ranging from protecting your password to illegal wiretapping. This collection of Schneier′s best op–ed pieces, columns, and blog posts goes beyond technology, offering his insight into everything from the risk of identity theft (vastly overrated) to the long–range security threat of unchecked presidential power and the surprisingly simple way to tamper–proof elections. You′ll discover: Why data mining will never protect us from terrorists How your stone–age brain affects what you fear and what security measures you accept Why computer security is fundamentally an economic problem Whether you can really trust a Trusted Traveler If sacrificing your privacy has made you more secure Why refusing driver′s licenses to illegal immigrants actually reduces security The industry power struggle over controlling your computer Why we overestimate some risks and underestimate others Why national ID cards won′t make us safer, only poorer . . . and much more This book will challenge your illusions of security at every level. Think it′s okay to give up your privacy if you′re doing nothing wrong? What happens when "wrong" gets redefined? How much power over your personal life are you willing to concede to the person you least want to see as president? What′s the acceptable trade–off between security and convenience? In this ruthless, comprehensive, and thought–provoking analysis, Schneier shows us what we should be worrying about and how to get our national fingers off the panic button.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Siraj A. Shaikh on 27 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
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 in 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, summarising the entire book as it were, cuts across the various domains covered by the essays 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 that has emerged between the two disciplines, economics and information security, one which explains why economic motivation is important if security is to improve. Chapter 5 on identity cards and chapter 9 on the psychology of security are other chapters that I enjoyed reading the most.

The author's writing style is captivating. Every essay is succinct, mostly focussing 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 so the professionals of tomorrow can learn from the mistakes of the past.

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Penman on 5 Nov 2009
Format: Hardcover
If it succeeds in no other way than to make you think, then this book fulfils its task. Given that we live in paranoid times when it comes to security, this book strips away so much of the rubbish that is touted by so-called experts and ill-informed politicians.

The author rants on a bit like an IT version of Michael Moore, but neveretheless makes valid points when examining security in the light of reason and logic. I work in IT and welcome a questioning attitude - this book certainly helps you to question accepted methods of security.

The only minor criticism is that the chronology of the articles reproduced in the book jumps around a bit. However, this is a great volume to dip in and out of and is well worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Hickman on 11 Jun 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting and thought provoking book... and a good place to start for anyone wanting to be a "security expert". Get the philosophy right BEFORE discussing how to achieve national, physical, personal or cyber security.

Well written and engaging style. Book is essentially drawn from a series of blog posts written by the author over his many years of security (book is organized by topic, rather than date written).

Note the cyber security chapters are well well worth reading - though this is just a high level introduction to this very complex topic.
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