Interview- Bruce Schneier - The Security Mindset

دوره: Capstone- Retrieving, Processing, and Visualizing Data with Python / فصل: Exploring Data Sources (Project) / درس 1

Interview- Bruce Schneier - The Security Mindset

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And it's going to be embedded code, interacting with the real world in a way that involves people and society and I can teach all that. I'm often asked, should I study forensics, or cryptography, or network security, or protocols, or embedded devices, or SCADA systems? My book Liars and Outliers, how to think about security as a way to enable trust.

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I think computer security is the most exciting part of computing right now, because it has something that nothing else has. It has an adversarial relationship. When you do graphics or operating systems or anything, there’s no one trying to thwart you at every turn. And that’s what you have in security. That’s what makes it exciting and interesting and that’s what makes it something that’s forever changing and involves psychology and economics and computing and law and policy and so many things. So I think it’s a great area to be in, to work in. I think it’s not going away. Right? As long as we have adversaries, as long as we have human beings and ne’er-do-wells and evildoers we are going to need security. So it’s always going to be like that. You know, preparing is interesting. In a lot of ways, security is a mindset. It’s a way of thinking about the world. And if you think about the original definition of a hacker, as someone who sort of cobbles stuff together. You hack this tool and it works. And you put this piece together and this here and that. And it all works. And it’s a great hack. But I’m a security guy. I’m going to say, well turn this like that, and it doesn’t work anymore. And you’ll say, but don’t do that. And I’ll say well no, no, no, I’m the attacker. I get to do that. I get to do that whenever I want. I get to do it at the most inopportune time. Get to do that in a way that makes your system fail as badly as possible. And you have to think that way. Not about how to build something, not how to make it work, but how to make it fail. And how to make it fail in precisely the right way to do precisely the right sort of damage. And that’s a way of thinking. I mean, there are some people who go through their lives looking at systems and figuring out, oh, I can break that. Oh, here’s how to break that. And you walk into a store and you see the purchasing system. Oh I can steal something, here’s how. You walk into a voting booth. Oh I can, sort of defeat this, here’s how. You might not do it, because of course that would be illegal, but you think that way. And that mindset, I think, is essential for security. Once you have that mindset, then it’s a matter of just learning the domain. Learning the systems. And whether it’s a self-driving car or a voting system or a medical device. And it’s going to be embedded code, interacting with the real world in a way that involves people and society and I can teach all that. You can learn all that. So I remember a class in security. I forget who did this. One of the assignments was, come in tomorrow and write down the first thousand digits of pi. Okay, so two things about this test. One, you can’t memorize a thousand digits of pi, you have to cheat. And actually the students were were expected to cheat. But if they were caught cheating, they would fail. Okay. That’s interesting, right? That teaches that mindset. It allows you to think outside the box. But how am I going to do this? Am I going, and there are lots of ways people cheated, and I sort of urge people watching to go Google this, and to look at some of the stuff written. It’s a great way of trying to stimulate the mindset. Can you teach it formally? I don’t know. It’s kind of like, it’s a way of thinking. And I think the more security classes you take, the more you exercise that mindset. A lot of the hacker conferences will have capture the flag contests. I remember an early one where they had to build their own private network to cut down on both network latency and federal violations. That’s why you do it. But you’re going to learn a lot by breaking other people’s systems. And yeah, that’s probably going to involve illegal activity. And agreed, this isn’t the best way, or maybe it is the best way, it’s not the most socially acceptable way. But here we have this clash between the tech imperative and what society wants. So many of our systems are black boxes. You can go and try to hack this, your smart phone or your computer, and there’s a lot of stuff you can learn. But really it’s going to be more fun if you can hack somebody else’s cell phone or somebody else’s computer. I want it to be open-ended. I want it to be follow whatever it is you’re interested in. The neat thing about security is it can go wherever you want. There’s so many different subdisciplines. I’m often asked, should I study forensics, or cryptography, or network security, or protocols, or embedded devices, or SCADA systems? Study what you want. And whatever interests you, follow that. Because really what you’re learning is how to think like a security expert. And honestly, if you get a job, and they make you do VPNs, you can pick up VPNs. That’s easy. It’s the way to think. So do what you want. And what we’re learning right now is that demand is greatly outstripping supply. Right? That people with expertise in security have a guaranteed career, because there is such a demand for it, and there’s such a lack of supply. Have you written any of your books kind of aimed at those kind of pre-computer science students or early computer science students that would sort of be a good read? I tend to write my books for a general audience. So I think of my parents, my friends. So computer experts, yes, but really for a more general audience. So going back to something like Secrets and Lies I wrote in 2000. It’s about how network security works. Fifteen years out of date, but it’s still a good introduction on the basic concepts of how to think about security, You know, later, cryptography engineering, how to engineer crypto systems. My book Liars and Outliers, how to think about security as a way to enable trust. Very non-technical, but very much, here’s how security is embedded in society. Now my latest book is about surveillance. And David and Goliath talks about what’s going on in the world of surveillance and how we can regain security. So to me all of these books are for someone who might be interested in this field. because what they’re going to do is spark interest in different directions. They’re going to give people ideas that they’re going to go and research further. And that’s how you get your passion. That’s how you get your calling. It’s not that someone gives it to you. That you notice it going by and say, hey, that’s kind of neat. I want to do more there.

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