Until recently, security was a backwater in the world of computing.
Many people cite Albert Einstein’s aphorism “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Only a handful, however, have had the opportunity to discuss the concept with the physicist over breakfast.
As an applied-mathematics student at Harvard, Dr. Neumann had a two-hour breakfast with Einstein on Nov. 8, 1952. What the young math student took away was a deeply held philosophy of design that has remained with him for six decades and has been his governing principle of computing and computer security.
For many of those years, Dr. Neumann (pronounced NOY-man) has remained a voice in the wilderness, tirelessly pointing out that the computer industry has a penchant for repeating the mistakes of the past. He has long been one of the nation’s leading specialists in computer security, and early on he predicted that the security flaws that have accompanied the pell-mell explosion of the computer and Internet industries would have disastrous consequences.
“His biggest contribution is to stress the ‘systems’ nature of the security and reliability problems,” said Steven M. Bellovin, chief technology officer of the Federal Trade Commission. “That is, trouble occurs not because of one failure, but because of the way many different pieces interact.”
Dr. Bellovin said that it was Dr. Neumann who originally gave him the insight that “complex systems break in complex ways” — that the increasing complexity of modern hardware and software has made it virtually impossible to identify the flaws and vulnerabilities in computer systems and ensure that they are secure and trustworthy.
The consequence has come to pass in the form of an epidemic of computer malware and rising concerns about cyberwarfare as a threat to global security, voiced alarmingly this month by the defense secretary, Leon E. Panetta, who warned of a possible “cyber-Pearl Harbor” attack on the United States.
It is remarkable, then, that years after most of his contemporaries have retired, Dr. Neumann is still at it and has seized the opportunity to start over and redesign computers and software from a “clean slate.”
He is leading a team of researchers in an effort to completely rethink how to make computers and networks secure, in a five-year project financed by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, with Robert N. Watson, a computer security researcher at Cambridge University’s Computer Laboratory.
“I’ve been tilting at the same windmills for basically 40 years,” said Dr. Neumann recently during a lunchtime interview at a Chinese restaurant near his art-filled home in Palo Alto, Calif. “And I get the impression that most of the folks who are responsible don’t want to hear about complexity. They are interested in quick and dirty solutions.”
This might be of interest also: Cyberwarfare statistics: A decade of geopolitical attacks
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Cloud Security Market Competitive Insights And Precise Outlook 2019 to 2025on January 24, 2020 at 5:02 am
The Cloud Security Market research report 2019 includes analysis of factual data that provides research results, vital recommendations, conclusions, and other important information to the readers, who ...
- This Week in Computer Securityon January 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm
While there is certainly a self-serving angle to consider, it’s much better for iOS and consumers if flaws are fixed and publicized, rather than kept secret and sold to an offensive security vendor.
- Here’s How Homomorphic Encryption Will Bring A Revolution In Computer Securityon January 11, 2020 at 12:57 am
Data at rest – which is “data that is temporarily held in computer memory ... whilst simultaneously protecting privacy and security. Homomorphic encryption makes it possible to analyze ...
- Worldwide Computer Security Market Boosting the Growth, Efficiencies Forecast to 2025on January 6, 2020 at 2:51 am
The Computer Security Market Report provides a comprehensive analysis of growth trends prevailing in the global business domain. This report also provides definitive data concerning market, size, ...
- Computer security team warns Filipinos of malicious e-greetings on messengerson December 29, 2019 at 10:27 pm
A non-profit computer security team warned Filipinos to be wary of seasonal greetings sent to them through popular messengers as it may redirect them to suspicious links that will prompt them to ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- The global railway cybersecurity market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 9.8% from USD 6.0 billion in 2019 to USD 12.6 billion by 2027on January 24, 2020 at 4:28 pm
New York, Jan. 24, 2020 -- Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report "Railway Cybersecurity Market by Type, Solutions and Services, Security Type And Region - Global.
- Wyden calls on NSA to examine White House cybersecurity following Bezos hackon January 24, 2020 at 12:10 pm
- Top nonprofit technology and cybersecurity resourceson January 24, 2020 at 9:20 am
President of Kraft Technology Group, responsible for delivering virtual CIO services for clients and leading the strategic direction of KTG. As the executive director or manager of a nonprofit, you ...
- How AI Is Improving Omnichannel CyberSecurity In 2020on January 24, 2020 at 6:12 am
42% of digital businesses that consider themselves technologically advanced are finding fraud is restraining their ability to grow and adopt new digital innovation strategies.
- The Cybersecurity 202: Disinformation threat pushes Doomsday Clock closer to midnighton January 24, 2020 at 5:04 am
This year, the board moved the clock another 20 seconds closer. You are reading The Cybersecurity 202, our must-read newsletter on cybersecurity policy news. Not a regular subscriber? Cybersecurity ...