It's been over three years since the first edition of Secrets and Lies was published. Reading through it again after all this time, the most amazing thing is how little things have changed. Today, two years after 9/11 and in the middle of the worst spate of computer worms and viruses the world has ever seen, the book is just as relevant as it was when I wrote it.
The attackers and attacks are the same. The targets and the risks are the same. The security tools to defend ourselves are the same, and they're just as ineffective as they were three years ago. If anything, the problems have gotten worse. It's the hacking tools that are more effective and more efficient. It's the ever-more-virulent worms and viruses that are infecting more computers faster. Fraud is more common. Identity theft is an epidemic. Wholesale information theft—of credit card numbers and worse—is happening more often. Financial losses are on the rise. The only good news is that cyberterrorism, the post-9/11 bugaboo that's scaring far too many people, is no closer to reality than it was three years ago.
The reasons haven't changed. In Chapter 23, I discuss the problems of complexity. Simply put, complexity is the worst enemy of security. As systems get more complex, they necessarily get less secure. Today's computer and network systems are far more complex than they were when I wrote the first edition of this book, and they'll be more complex still in another three years. This means that today's ...