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RSA Europe 2012: Too much security would be bad for us, says Bruce Schneier

Security expert declares that too much security is no fun
Wed Oct 10 2012, 14:03
Security Expert Bruce Schneier

TOO MUCH SECURITY IS NO FUN, computer security expert Bruce Schneier has declared.

Speaking at the RSA Europe security conference in London today, Schneier said that society needs "defectors" - those people who don't follow the societal norms - because "too much security means we would be living in a police state".

Saying that no matter how much security you employ, cyber attacks will always be a problem due to "the balance of societal pressures", Schneier added, "A little bit of wriggle room makes people happy."

In Schneier's keynote speech he discussed the societal pressures and balances of security in our age where technology is at its greatest.

"Technology is changing how social systems work. For example, credit card fraud changed because of technology," Schneier said. "Technology upsets the balance of societal pressures and in response society has to rebalance somehow, perhaps with some new societal pressures or with new laws."

He continued, "The problem is attackers have a natural advantage. And it's more than just a basic first mover advantage. Attackers generally can make use of innovations faster," he added.

Using an example of how the police took a long time to employ the automobile when it was first developed due to "the institutional procurement process", Schneier said, "A bank robber just used it immediately."

"The Internet bred a new type of criminal, meanwhile police who are trained on Agatha Christie novels have five or ten years of catching up," he added. "Because of that we have this delay in rebalancing."

Using this theory, Schneier made it clear in his keynote that he thinks there's a fundamental gap between attackers and defenders, and it's getting increasingly difficult to get the "societal pressures" right. µ


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