Bruce Schneier

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Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier (born January 15, 1963) is an American cryptographer, computer security expert, and writer. He is the author of several books on computer security and cryptography, and is the founder and chief technology officer of Counterpane Internet Security.

Originally from New York, Schneier currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Karen Cooper. Schneier has a Master's in computer science degree from American University and a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Rochester. Before Counterpane, he worked at the United States Department of Defense and then Bell Labs.

Schneier's Applied Cryptography is a popular and widely regarded reference work for cryptography. Schneier has designed or co-designed several cryptographic algorithms, including the Blowfish, Twofish and MacGuffin block ciphers, and the Yarrow and Fortuna (PRNG) cryptographically secure pseudo-random number generators. Solitaire is a cryptographic algorithm developed by Schneier for use by people without access to a computer, called Pontifex in Neal Stephenson's novel Cryptonomicon.

However, Schneier now denounces his early success as a naive, mathematical, ivory tower view of what is inherently a people problem. Applied Cryptography premises that technology and algorithms can promise safety and secrecy. Schneier argues that the incontrovertible mathematical guarantees (i.e., regardless of others' behavior in the system, as long as I follow the protocol, the protocol will guarantee my safety) are actually beside the point (i.e., my RSA encryption is not very useful when my employees are leaking the keys and the implementation is on, as described in Secrets & Lies, a "complex, unstable, buggy" computer). An actual security solution, though it of course includes technology, must also take into account vagaries of hardware, software, networks, people, economics, and business. Schneier is now referring people trying to implement actually secure systems to his new book with Niels Ferguson, Practical Cryptography.

Schneier writes a freely available monthly Internet newsletter on computer and other security issues, Crypto-Gram, as well as a security blog [1] (http://www.schneier.com/blog/) . He is frequently quoted in the press on computer and other security issues, pointing out flaws in security and cryptographic implementations ranging from biometrics to the post-September 11 airline security measures.

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