"Bruce Schneier has long been known as the author of Applied
Cryptography, the definitive nuts-and-bolts guide to how
cryptographic algorithms work and their implementation. That book
became a bible for aspiring cypherpunks everywhere, both for its
technical information and for its enthusiasm for what cryptography
can do. Cryptography was the answer to many of the world's
"Mr. Schneier has changed his perspective somewhat in the years
since Applied Cryptography came out, which is why Secrets &
Lies begins with: "I have written this book partly to correct a
mistake.... It's just not true. Cryptography can't do any of that."
Has he lost his belief in cryptography?"
"A number of people have described Secrets & Lies as a dark
book. Certainly much of it comes off that way. It describes
numerous cryptographic and security techniques, and how vulnerable
they all are. Cryptography may seem unbreakable mathematically, but
that doesn't help much. The implementation of a cryptographic
algorithm is certainly buggy, the computer the code runs on may be
compromised, the keyboard could be bugged, and the user will
probably simply tell you his or her key if you call up and pretend
to be somebody with a right to know."
"What this book tells us is that we've been trying to fix
the wrong threats. Cryptography is great, firewalls are great, and
so on, but the bad guys will probably just find a way to go around
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