"Fairy Dust, Secrets and the Real World"
IEEE Security and Privacy..
1:89-93. Jan/Feb 2003.
One of these critical assumptions is that secrets remain secret.
In the premier of this department (Threats Perspectives, January/February 2003, p. 89) I used a "fairy dust" metaphor for cryptography (we hope that it magically makes the protocol work), and cited a talk by an anonymous member of our field's old guard. The old-guard member I had in mind was Roger Schell, whose invited talk "Information Security: Science, Pseudoscience, and Flying Pigs" (at the 2001 ACSA/ACM Annual Computer Security Applications Conference) skewered many aspects of modern security work. I had not felt an explicit citation was appropriate because it was an off-the-cuff remark and the metaphor did not appear in his accompanying paper. In the interest of completeness, I must point out that the earliest published record of this metaphor is Bruce Schneier's discussion of "magic security dust" on page xii of Secrets and Lies (John Wiley, 2000). It's a good metaphor; my kudos to Bruce for thinking it up.
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