Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dark Reading - Desktop Security - Schneier: In Touch With Security's Sensitive Side - Security News Analysis:

Schneier says the goal of his talk at RSA is not to discuss security technologies or tactics, but to explain how people think, and feel, about security. "A lot of the time at RSA, we are just puzzled why people don't secure their computers, and why they behave irrationally. Psychology has a way of explaining this," he says. "If we in the [security] industry expect to build products, we need to understand our customers."

The focus of Schneier's latest research -- which he says could culminate in his next book -- is brain heuristics and perceptions of security. He says security is both a reality and a feeling, with reality based on probability and risk, and feeling based on your psychological reaction to risk and "countermeasures" to security threats.

Often, our perception of risk doesn't match reality, and neuroscience can help explain this, he says. Perception of risk is often seared into our brains. Schneier says people are typically more afraid of flying than driving, for instance, even though statistically it's safer to take the plane. The brain's two systems of assessing risk -- the amygdala (in charge of processing senses like anger, avoidance, fear), and the neocortex, which gives us analytical processing -- don't really work in concert when it comes to perception versus reality of security.

8:08 PM