Thoughtful write-up concerning airport security failure

Here’s a good article by Bruce Schneier concerning how bad airport security is.  In particular, good security systems fail gracefully.  Airport security fails catastrophically.  What does this mean?  Well, when airport security fails, entire terminals have to be evacuated and re-screened.  I’m not saying I have a better solution, but it’s clear that this isn’t a good failure method.

Security systems can fail in two ways. They can fail to defend against an attack. And they can fail when there is no attack to defend. The latter failure is often more important, because false alarms are more common than real attacks.

Aside from the obvious security failure — how did this person manage to disappear into the crowd, anyway — it’s painfully obvious that the overall security system did not fail well. Well-designed security systems fail gracefully, without affecting the entire airport terminal. That the only thing the TSA could do after the failure was evacuate the entire terminal and rescreen everyone is a testament to how badly designed the security system is.

[tags]Schneier, security, airport security[/tags]