Beyond Fear – Take 2

Some good quotes from “Beyond Fear” by Bruce Schneier…


… Society continually demands more options, greater convenience, and new features in products. The economic incentive, then, is for greater complexity. Technological systems are naturally complex. The more technology, the more complexity. Newer systems are, by their nature, less secure than older systems. Often technology requires complexity, but that doesn’t mean simplicity shouldn’t be a security goal. Albert Einstein supposedly said: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” He could have been talking about security.


Modern systems are constantly evolving, which affects security. The weakest link doesn’t stay weakest for long….

Someone might think “I am worried about car theft, so I will buy an expensive security device that makes ignitions impossible to hotwire.” That seems a reasonable thought, but counties such as Russia, where these security devices are commonplace, have seen an increase in carjackings.

And (p276) for our crazily litigious world:

Finding blame or fault is a perfectly human reaction, but it’s important to accept that sometimes failures simply happen. Not all grievances can be redressed. Not all wrongs can be righted. Not all things can be fixed. This fact can be tremendously serious and heartbreaking. When a sniper attack makes the front page or a rare surgical accident debilitates someone you know, it’s natural to demand safeguards so the problem won’t happen again. But in a country of XXX million people, even incredibly unlikely events will occur once in a while. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the system is flawed, someone is at fault, or retribution is deserved. Too often people image all sorts of horrific scenarios and then demand to be protected from them. Lawyers exploit this misconception, as do politicians. Even warning labels on the products we buy (seen on a Dominos Pizza box: “Caution! Contents hot!”) imply that somehow we can avoid the risks inherent in life.

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