Alternative Medicine for Security


November 25, 2015

By Steve Hunt

Let's make a correlation between medicine and security. Many people rely on Western medicine for health and wellness. We purchase pharmaceuticals from the major producers, and go to doctors when we want more medicine. Many of us, though, seek out alternatives to Western drugs.

At El Ateneo bookstore in Buenos Aires this week I found hundreds of books on traditional and non-traditional healing and wellness. These books reminded me that there are time-honored techniques for curing ills that reach far beyond western medicine--with centuries of practice. Ayurvedic healing, yoga, nutrition, and countless other methods are being used in our own families--and by many of you, dear readers.

So why not look beyond traditional Western "medicine" for security solutions. That was the message I heard, more or less, when I spoke again to the clever startup, Secret Double Octopus. Forget about keys for authentication. Forget about encryption for securing communications.

There are time-honored alternatives that actually are more scalable, especially in light of the mobile banking and Internet of Things transactions, for which traditional keys and public key infrastructure are poorly equipped.

Companies have been hacked again and again, yet critical business communications are still being secured the same way as they’ve been for years. And now with new Mobile Apps, the Cloud, and the Internet of Things businesses are even more at risk.

The alternative is secret sharing, and in theory it is much more reliable (and less breakable) than the traditional medicine of keys and encryption. I'm enticed by the idea of living more simply, and of communing with the world around me in a more natural way, less encumbered by technology. I even closed my Facebook account! So I love the idea of simplifying a security infrastructure so that it has few moving parts.

Speaking of simplifying, and to draw a different analogy, when I stopped into a Tesla showroom to ogle at the beautiful cars there (I plan to buy one soon), the representative made it a point to explain that there are vastly fewer moving pieces in a Tesla automobile than in a traditional combustion-fuel vehicle. "Fewer pieces to break, and fewer things to go wrong."

I feel I get the same results from my "holistic living" choices, like eating right, practicing yoga, and so forth. I spend less money on medicine and have a more resilient, less vulnerable body.

Translate that to security and it is very attractive--reducing the attack surface and simultaneously reducing the complexity of the security infrastructure. Better security at lower cost. Now that's a choice for healthy living!

 

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