Morris’s Three Golden Rules of Computer Security

“Do not own a computer;
Do not power it on;
and do not use one.”

Since you are reading this post, you’ve already broken the rules as I have.

You’re probably wondering who Morris is, and if he’s a total nut.

I can’t tell you if he’s a nut, but I can tell you that he is a cryptographer and very significant figure in computer history.

The first time I remember hearing of the “three golden rules” was back in my high school computer science class… but I forgot all about them. I found them again yesterday while reading the novel, Freedom™ (more on that when I finish the book).

The book explains them about as well as my comp sci teacher did:

“It wasn’t meant as a surrender. It was a meditation on risk versus benefit. Did these systems give us more than they took from us? It was an admission that we will never be fully secure. We must instead strive for survivability.”

When I first learned the concept years ago, it wasn’t that big of an issue. In the late 90’s, there wasn’t a lot of personal information on the Internet, but it was clear that things were about to change… and they did. Today is another story.

I’ve written a bit on privacy and security, but I suspect that I will be writing more in the near future.

If you’re interested in security in a more philosophical sense, I strongly recommend you read the work of Adriana Lukas.

If tangible security (with a little philosophy) is more to your liking, check out Alec Muffett.

Be mindful of what you enter into a data-field.

Practice safe computing.

2 thoughts on “Morris’s Three Golden Rules of Computer Security

  1. Nice! I love repeating the three golden rules to people who ask me if computers are really that insecure, just to see their reaction.

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