The illusion of security

There are entire industries that capitalize on our insecurity about security. These companies prey on our fears as a society by exaggerating both the probability of an attack and the effectiveness of their solution. we need an illusion of security.

It always amazes me how often people assume that they’ve been hit by a virus. In actuality, these “virii” are usually user error, corrupted critical files or random chance. Hanlon’s Razor seems to apply quite well here: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

A deadbolt provides a couple of things. First, it increases the level of physical difficulty of entering a house against the owner’s will. Slightly. It might even be enough dissuade a thief from trying. But the primary purpose of a deadbolt is to give the owner an illusion of physical security.

Computer security is almost the same. People buy firewalls that will prevent most automated attacks. They pay for security suites for their inherently unsecure Windows computers. This doesn’t give them any real protection against a dedicated attacker.

These supposed security measures merely give peace of mind. And this is enough for most people.