John Viega is CTO of the SaaS Business Unit at McAfee, his second stint at McAfee. Previously, he was their Chief Security Architect, after which he founded and served as CEO of Stonewall Software, which focused on making anti-virus technology faster, better and cheaper. John was also the founder of Secure Software (now part of Fortify).
John is author of many security books, including Building Secure Software (Addison-Wesley), Network Security with OpenSSL (O'Reilly), and the forthcoming Myths of Security (O'Reilly). He is responsible for numerous software security tools and is the original author of Mailman, the GNU mailing list manager. He has done extensive standards work in the IEEE and IETF and co-invented GCM, a cryptographic algorithm that NIST has standardized. John is also an active advisor to several security companies, including Fortify and Bit9. He holds a MS and BA from the University of Virginia.
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January 20 2012Today was a shameful day for the Internet security industry, as researchers disclosed information about numerous vulnerabilities in critical US infrastructure systems produced by five different vendors, demonstrating that they are happy to make the world a riskier place in order to market themselves. read more
February 16 2009On Valentine's Day, I found myself 500 miles away from my two daughters (10 and 7). I'd already decided to get them a gift certificate from Amazon, with an e-greeting. Amazon has so much stuff, both kids could easily get... read more
January 23 2009I was pretty amused recently when two people I respect went at each other over vulnerability disclosure, quickly devolving into name-calling. It's always fun to watch a flame war (nobody got compared to Hitler, but one person did get compared... read more
January 12 2009There's no doubt who the world's leading IT security expert is, Bruce Schneier. Sure, Bruce Schneier may not be a household name on the lips of every man woman and child, but he's certainly far better known than anyone else... read more
January 01 2009Every CA that was potentially vulnerable to this week's problem with public key infrastructure has phased out MD5-based signatures, meaning it is now impossible to launch the attack that the researchers described. But, despite plenty of experts assuring people there's... read more
December 30 2008In my last post I talked about how anybody with enough money (a small 6-figure sum) could create a rogue certification authority (CA). This would allow them to generate certificates for any web site that seem to be genuine. That... read more
December 30 2008About three years ago I was having breakfast with a friend of mine, who was talking about a particular appliance product that claimed to be able to transparently/silently intercept all SSL/TLS traffic, so that it could be inspected. He was... read more
December 26 2008The biggest problem with host-based security has always been what happens when your protection fails. And yes, all traditional host-based protections will have the potential for failure, especially when you consider that it's generally easy to trick users into installing... read more
December 18 2008Traditionally when security experts talk about snake oil products (i.e., security products that don't actually offer any security), they are usually only brave enough to call out products from dubious companies that make claims that are obviously false... almost always... read more
December 04 2008The IT security industry is filled with plenty of technologies that work, but not very well. Technologies that sell, even if they're not particularly cost effective. One of the most pervasive security technologies that doesn't work very well is the... read more
December 01 2008OS X Security is a pretty fun topic for me, because I love watching the carnage when people fight. Before I register my opinion, I need to be clear that I've been operating almost exclusively on a Mac since OS... read more
November 24 2008At 7:30 eastern this morning, one of my brothers called to tell me that he is, "being attacked by hackers. My computer has hackers on it, and over 100 viruses, spywares and password stealing Trojans, and I don't even know... read more
November 20 2008Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that they're going to stop selling their consumer security product OneCare, and instead they're going to give away for free an AV product based on the same technology. I've had several people ask me questions... read more
November 19 2008When you look at the average, non-technical user, they probably should be running AV, because it is pretty unobtrusive, it does catch some things (even if it's not many), and they don't have the same sense of what the real risks are as I do. But, many technical people are… read more
November 17 2008This is my first blog post on O'Reilly. I thought I would start out with some background on myself, and then give a high level overview of the kinds of things I'm going to be blogging about. When I was... read more
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"This is an essential read for anyone in the field, and it should be a companion read for anyone designing secure software."
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"Overall I found the book a very fascinating and enjoyable read, and since no jargon is used it should be accessible to any audience. If you want to find out what the cyber criminals are up to and what security professionals are doing to counteract, then this is a very good place to start."
"Right from the beginning, this book offers a startlingly fresh perspective on the realm of computer security...This work is a must for anyone investigating security on a professional or cursory level."
"This book was a lot of fun to read even if I did not agree with some of his opinions. It is well-written, has light writing style and touches most if not all controversial issues in security; the book also has a lot of fun novel ideas for the future to think about."
"Beautiful Security is an enjoyable book that answers many questions and does so in a simple, yet effective way. It is particularly suitable for all those people who have been around the net for a while and have learned many terms and phrases concerning information security, but they have still only a vague idea of the notion they represent."
"Overall this book was a very fast (you could read it on a short flight), but very good read. It may not challenge your perspective as I had previously thought, but it is a good refresher as to why some of us work in the Information Security industry. "
"...an interesting and thought-provoking book."
"...a great read which, whether you agree with his points or not, should make you re-evaluate how you look at security."
"As with any good security book, theres plenty of well-done content which will likely scare you in to re-thinking how you and your company approach security. Beautiful Security can help you identify practices, problems, and mindsets which leave you, your company, or your clients at risk."
"Beautiful Security goes well beyond the confines of traditional security books that dive into technical minutia and bore you to tears. Yes there is technical jargon to be seen throughout, but the real hook
to this collection of ideas and best practices is the thinking and logic the various contributors gracefully convey through the pages within. "
"...a required read. For those that have an interest in information security or those that are frustrated by it, Beautiful Security is an eye-opening book that will challenge you, and change the way you think about information security."
"The preface states that the purpose of the book is to convince the reader that security is not bureaucratic drudgery but is an exciting career, and I think the book is successful at this."
"In Beautiful Security, experienced insiders share some rarely spoken truths about the real problems in information security today, and point the way towards how the situation could or should be improved. The challenges we face in security and personal privacy are not always purely technical--in fact they rarely are. Instead, they
are social, geo-political, legacy, or simply when interests are not in alignment. Taking into account all the external factors, the authors behind Beautiful Security explore more modern and practical information security approaches, with a healthy skepticism for conventional wisdom."
"There is no doubt that the way we manage information security in the future will need to evolve as significantly and swiftly as the technology itself and adapt to the new ways we choose to embrace it. Information security plays a critical role in enabling a secure and reliable business that earns the trust of our customers. The thoughts and ideas shared by the authors in this book can shape the
security "cogs and levers" of tomorrow."
"Whereas a lot of books are either narrowly focused (and convinced that their focus is all that matters), or too wide to be useful, Beautiful Security draws a wide net and collects a representative view of the state of the problem in infosecurity today."
"Computer security is quite possibly the most intellectually
challenging field today, an interdisciplinary and rapidly evolving arena that straddles the realms of people and technology. Hacking, both positive and negative, is simply the activity of smart people stretching the limits and repurposing what a computer can do for their own objectives. Beautiful Security gives us a window into the minds of the passionate people who defend us by out-thinking and staying one step ahead of our black hat adversaries.
"Any project that undertakes to get students and professionals interested in security issues is laudable. This book is no exception. I found Jim Routh's chapter on 'Forcing Firms to Focus' to be profound. It is not often we get to look under the hood with leaders actually doing the work--rather than listening to vendors and experts talk about what 'might' work."
"This collection of thoughtful essays catapults the reader well beyond deceptively shiny security FUD (the drum major of the bug parade) toward the more subtle beauty of building security in. Security is an essential emergent property for all modern systems--something that most people implicitly expect and few people explicitly enjoy. This
book demonstrates the yin and the yang of security, and the
fundamental creative tension between the spectacularly destructive and the brilliantly constructive. Read. Learn. Emulate."
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