And that is the reason why Schneier enjoys the reputatio he does - because like the few true intellectuals around, he is a fount of wisdom, not just knowledge.
Schneier gave the keynote address on the opening day of the main part of Australia's national Linux conference today; his topic was "Reconceptualising Security", something on which he is eminently qualified to speak.
As usual, he came to the point: "Security is both a feeling and a reality. You can feel secure without actually being secure and you can be secure even though you don't feel secure."
And how does one bridge the gap between people both knowing they are secure and feeling the same way? Once again, it's very basic: information is the only way.
With this as the central tenet of his talk, Schneier set out to illustrate it and did so with simple examples.
He said that within the industry people tended to discount the feeling in favour of the reality but the difference between the two was important. It explained why there was much of what he called "security theatre" that did not work and why so many smart solutions were never implemented.
By security theatre he said he meant the various "snake oil" solutions that addressed feelings and were no good in reality.
Citing the example of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in September 2001, Schneier said that shortly after the incident he had been asked by a journalist how the US could ensure that such an event never recurred.
He said his answer was very short: "Take all the planes out of the sky."
FREE CLOUD BACKUPS MANAGEMENT WEBINARAre your technicians spending too much time just managing your clients cloud backups?
Backups are an important part of any IT business but they should not consume more than their fair share of time and money.
Discover how to reduce the amount of time & money spent managing your Cloud Backups during this Free Webinar.
FREE NETWORKING SERVICES CASE STUDYAs one of the world’s largest social networking services, Facebook handles a lot of user information, and requires input from an astounding range of stakeholders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — from both inside and outside the business.
Discover how Facebook was helped to connect remote employees, vendors, consultants, and partners to applications and web services quickly and reliably - without risking sensitive data.
GET THE IT BUDGET YOU WANTExplore your Network Treasure Trove to get the IT Budget you want
With Australian businesses projected to spend over $78.7 Billion why does it feel like you can never get the budget you need?.
In most cases your budget will get approved because the proposals are not only technically correct, but also provide good, credible evidence on how the spend aligns with key business objectives.
Did you know that your Network Monitoring tool can help you build a comprehensive business case without an MBA?
HERE ARE 8 TIPS TO GET THE IT BUDGET YOU WANT.
A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.