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Communications of the ACM

The profession of IT

An Interview with Andrew Odlyzko on Cyber Security

mathematician Andrew Odlyzko

Credit: University of Minnesota

The cyber insecurities of the Internet are widely touted as precursors of a "Cyber Pearl Harbor," that could by some reckonings mark the end of civilization. What if this is not a grave risk at all? What if the systems aspects we point at most frequently as the sources of vulnerabilities are actually assets in tamping down the risk? What if we spent more time developing our ability to be resilient rather than to provide absolute security?

Andrew Odlyzko—mathematician, cryptographer, author, and information technology analyst—has been asking these questions and has provided a thorough analysis. His contrarian ideas have provoked controversy.


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