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Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World. 1st ed. 2003. Corr. 2nd printing 2006 Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387026206
ISBN-10: 0387026207
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World.
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  • Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World
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  • Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive
Total price: $49.89
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Does arming pilots make flying safer? Computer security guru Schneier applies his analytical skills to real-world threats like terrorists, hijackers, and counterfeiters. BEYOND FEAR may come across as the dry, meticulous prose of a scientist, but that's actually Schneier's strength. Are you at risk or just afraid? Only by cutting away emotional issues to examine the facts, he says, will we reduce our risks enough to stop being scared." -- Wired

"Schneier provides an interesting view of the notion of security, outlining a simple five-step process that can be applied to deliver effective and sensible security decisions. These steps are addressed in detail throughout the book, and applied to various scenarios to show how simple, yet effective they can be....Overall, this book is an entertaining read, written in layman's terms, with a diverse range of examples and anecdotes that reinforce the notion of security as a process." --Computing Reviews

"Schneier is a rare creature... Although he made his name as an alpha geek in cryptography... [he] can also speak to laypeople about the general security matters that increasingly touch all of our lives." -- Business Week

"Once again Schneier proves that he is the one of few people who indeed understands security, and what is more important and more difficult, can explain complex concepts to people not specializing in security. Whatever your trade and whatever your background, go ahead and read it ..." -- itsecurity.com

 "In his new book, 'Beyond Fear', Bruce Schneier -- one of the world's leading authorities on security trade-offs -- completes the metamorphosis from cryptographer to pragmatist that began with Secrets and Lies, published in 2000." -- infoworld.com

Review

"Does arming pilots make flying safer? Computer security guru Schneier applies his analytical skills to real-world threats like terrorists, hijackers, and counterfeiters. BEYOND FEAR may come across as the dry, meticulous prose of a scientist, but that's actually Schneier's strength. Are you at risk or just afraid? Only by cutting away emotional issues to examine the facts, he says, will we reduce our risks enough to stop being scared." -- Wired "Schneier provides an interesting view of the notion of security, outlining a simple five-step process that can be applied to deliver effective and sensible security decisions. These steps are addressed in detail throughout the book, and applied to various scenarios to show how simple, yet effective they can be...Overall, this book is an entertaining read, written in layman's terms, with a diverse range of examples and anecdotes that reinforce the notion of security as a process." --Computing Reviews "Schneier is a rare creature... Although he made his name as an alpha geek in cryptography... [he] can also speak to laypeople about the general security matters that increasingly touch all of our lives." -- Business Week "Once again Schneier proves that he is the one of few people who indeed understands security, and what is more important and more difficult, can explain complex concepts to people not specializing in security. Whatever your trade and whatever your background, go ahead and read it ..." -- itsecurity.com "In his new book, 'Beyond Fear', Bruce Schneier -- one of the world's leading authorities on security trade-offs -- completes the metamorphosis from cryptographer to pragmatist that began with Secrets and Lies, published in 2000." -- infoworld.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 1st ed. 2003. Corr. 2nd printing 2006 edition (May 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387026207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387026206
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I first read about Bruce Schneier in an eye-opening article by Charles Mann in the September, 2002 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. It seems that you don't have to make the false choice everyone is agonizing over between security and liberty. You can have both.

Schneier's book expands on the ideas in the article. Although Schneier is a technology fan and it is his livelihood, he realizes that sometimes a live security guard can provide better security than cutting-edge (but still fallible) face-recognition scanners, for instance. He explains why national ID cards are not a good idea, and how iris-scanners can be fooled.

These are ideas for security on a large scale, for airports, nuclear and other power plants, and government websites. For security on an individual or small business scale, try Art of the Steal by Frank Abagnale. But even if you don't run a government, Beyond Fear is a fascinating read about how your government is making choices (and how they SHOULD be making choices about your security and about your rights.
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By A Customer on August 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Bruce's greatest strength is in the role of Evangelist -- he translates the complex aspects of security into a vocabulary suitable for common consumption. If you're a sociologist, a risk management officer, or a cultural psychologist, you'll be familiar with a lot of the upstream references from which Bruce draws his examples. Conversely, if you're working in an office where "solving that security problem" is one of your many tasks, you won't have the time or inclination to dig out the esoteric sources. Consider this book as an alternative, far less onerous choice.
The book is easy reading -- it flows quickly and keeps returning to a common set of themes. These are set against many contexts so you're sure to find something familiar. You won't find any math or greek notation in here, to the disappointment of "Applied Cryptography" die-hards but the relief of everyone else.
The underlying message, seeing beyond the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) propagated by mass media and the government, is a key one to understanding why it's OK to question this hyper-security-conscious world we find ourselves in. Airline security is an arena familiar to most business travelers, and we as passengers are expected not only to accept increasingly invasive measures, but welcome them without hesitation. Bruce teaches us how to evaluate the efficacy of these schemes both individually and in the aggregate. The results will surprise all but the most cynical among you.
That said, this is not the textbook of a conspiracy theorist. Bruce willingly admits that improving security correctly is a worthwhile pursuit, and even teaches us how to do it. You won't find the rantings of an ill-informed libertarian crackpot.
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Format: Hardcover
Not quite what I'd expected. I'd read & enjoyed 'Secrets & Lies', and I thought this would be more of the same. This book is really a discussion about what actions have been taken post 9/11, and in parts it's a criticism of the overreaction that there has been.
However, its not overtly political, and gives dozens (perhaps a 100) practical worked examples of good & bad, effective & ineffective, responses to security issues, whether it be physical, electronic etc.
There is a 5-step process which I found useful to apply to everyday situations; and (in highly abbreviated form) these are : what are you trying to protect; what are the risks; risk mitigation; risks caused by the solution; trade-offs
The core message is : "as both individuals and a society, we can make choices about our security", and this book helps you understand how to make those informed decisions.
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Format: Hardcover
The title of the book refers to the steps to take after fear is sensed. To move beyond fear is to understand it, how it affects you and why, and what you can do about it. And that is what the book addresses - what things do we need to secure, from our personal interests, to national interests.

Schneier addresses this in the framework of a five questions to ask about security. Although the process seems crude, it does touch the heart of security issue - what are we trying to protect, why, and what happens if we don't protect it?

I particularly like his idea of brittle versus flexible security. When a brittle security system fails, you asset is screwed. A (poor) example would be burying your money in your back yard. If this is compromised (someone finds it), then you loose all your money, and that's the end of it. Compare this to a baking account. If someone robs the bank, or fraudulently takes your money, the bank is obliged to get you your money back. (So maybe you should bury your bank account number and password in yuor back yard!)

Although much of the discussion is on the level of national security, he also has gems of wisdom like suggesting that you leave the bathroom light on while you're away to deter burglars. And he points out yuor identity is more likely to be stolen from your discarded papers than from someone stealing your info on the internet.

I really appreciate the last part of the book where he lists the most-likely causes of death among Americans. What I got from that was not that I should avoid international airports, or dig a fallout shelter, but simply that I should make sure that I and my family are securely buckled up when we drive. Now that's putting 9/11 into perspective.
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