back to article Security guru Bruce Schneier to leave employer BT

Noted security guru Bruce Schneier, who has spent a great deal of energy publicly analysing the Edward Snowden leaks into the activities of the NSA and allied spy agencies, is to leave UK telco BT. A spokesman for BT said: “We can confirm that Bruce Schneier, BT’s security futurologist, is leaving BT at the end of December …


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  1. mhoneywell

    writing for you

    He's the best, you should sign him up at all costs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: writing for you


      "Bruce Schneier knows the state of schroedinger's cat" -

      1. VinceH

        Re: writing for you



        But it leaves me wondering... who wins out of Bruce Schneier or Chuck Norris?

        (I'm not telling. Find out for yourselves!)

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: writing for you

          Big deal, Christopher Lee kicks Chuck Norris's ass!

          As if there was any doubt, Mr. Lee rules!

        2. Oh Homer

          Writing for Cryptome too

          Bruce also seems to have been responsible for Cryptome's recent Full Disclosure leak, ostensibly authored by "The Adversaries", which is almost entirely about BT, its HomeHub routers and its cosy relationship with GCHQ/NSA.

          Having read it, I can now see why his position at BT was untenable. Even if he didn't write that document, he must surely have contributed the highly detailed information upon which it's based. My guess would be that BT and its cohorts are spitting blood.

          The proposed solution comprises various security hardening techniques, including never, ever using BT-supplied hardware, using open firmware like OpenWRT, and something that I hadn't heard of before called Tcpcrypt.

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: writing for you

          who wins out of Bruce Schneier or Chuck Norris?

          Didn't we tell you not to cross the streams?

    2. lurker

      Re: writing for you

      No offence to El Reg, but I doubt they could afford him.

    3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: BS writing for you

      He's the best, you should sign him up at all costs....... mhoneywell Posted Monday 16th December 2013 11:46 GMT

      Methinks if he was of any future use he would be still be invaluable in leading thoughts for BT, ergo ....... El Reg doesn't surely need any old school dead wood. I'm sure there are enough burdens they be carrying in these times of rapidly evolving tales that be virtual realities for presentation/future event promotions and global productions.

      Which is surely a position, with lot of available posts, that BT should be definitely leading, if they are to be considered in any way worthy of being a trusted and competent international and internetional communications carrier, rather than just going through the motions as if a sprog cog in the machine.

      Hi, mhoneywell,

      Is that you, Bruce?

      1. h4rm0ny


        Seriously? You think that's Bruce Schneier posting under a pseudonym suggesting El Reg hire him? Have you ANY idea who Bruce Schneier is and how influential and respected he is? Calling him "dead wood" has single-handedly relegated any future posts by you to the "probably doesn't know what he's talking about" pile, in my mind.

        Go read his website for a little while and then admit you don't know what you're talking about.

      2. uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh494

        Re: BS writing for you

        Bruce Schneier "dead wood"? DEAD WOOD????? Um... You are, apologies for being blunt, an idiot. Have you been reading ANY security-related news during the last six months? P.S. You're not an idiot for not knowing who Schneier is; you're an idiot for running your MOUTH about things you clearly know ABSOLUTELY nothing about. P.P.S. "Methinks"???

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Tomorrows always bring something else to tempt and discourage you from thinking too much

          BT and GCHQ are joined at the hip with the latter unable to even try to function secretly and efficiently without the compliance and conspiring of the former in the best stealthy interests of …. well, they probably like y’all to not think too deeply when in IT and it be country, but you need to morph that thought into something personal with human faces on it, for such dumb ass myopic patriotic nationalism is that which blinds y’all to vast personal fortunes able to be readily made at great public expense and future general population indebtedness to …… well, y’all tell me what mad phantom has you all fired up and ready to go and do anything and everything. There’s some real crazy clever folk into communicating with man and machines out there, and they have your sad and sorry asses in a sling and your life in their hands, hearts and minds to play with, and your ignorance is making it with IT, so easy for them. Although hanging on to Future IT Command and Control with Media Mogul Support is one of those Enigmatic MetaDataBase Problems which Defy and Deny Stupid Solution with Risky Resolutions.

          So why would such a valuable security voice like what Bruce Schneier apparently supposedly is according to his fans, be walking the long lonely walk down the road and kicking stones rather than leading with thoughts that build commands that control the future with telecommunicating giants?

          Are you telling me that BT and GCHQ can’t handle a little speculative flack ack ack/prime[s]d[/s] sub-prime comment from one of their own camping within the puzzle palace gates, without drawing any/so much attention to themselves.

          Wow, if that be the case they both need new leading lights to show them the new directions they need to be taking, and tout de fcuking suite, mate. Check.

          And yes, I do read Bruce’s blog but have never imagined the words shared there be capable of ensuring and insuring and assuring others it be of secure futurologistic leading thought.

          So, the earlier post stands in all of its undoubted ugliness and brutal truth and probable virtual reality.

          And is ”Hi, mhoneywell, Is that you, Bruce?” idiotic sarcasm for those who would recognise fools in the gallery?

          P.S. How very wise of you methinks, uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh494 [who posted Monday 16th December 2013 18:23 GMT] to have hedged all of those bets, for idiots would surely have no desire for anything El Reg spends time and resources on sourcing and reporting and even less interest in providing commentary on it and IT too.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tomorrows always bring something else to tempt and discourage you from thinking too much

            You're sounding very tired Graham.

            I think you should get some fresh air, maybe take a walk in the woods.

            These two gentleman in white coats and their friends in military uniform and dark glasses are here to help you.

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              Everybody looks forward to a woody walk on the wild side .... it's so exciting and invigorating

              They certainly took their time, AC. Were they sleeping on duty and letting the side down? Hold on a moment and I'll grab my coat and laptop just in case they be needed.

              Proper Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance Permitting Prime Prize Penetration and Perfect Pursuit of Project Parameters, don't you know, old bean.

              And bean counters just love that for it excuses them having to make implausible excuses for regular expensive catastrophic failures which always dog dodgy deeds and perverse subversive feeds with corrupt and impotent seeds.

        2. Peter Galbavy

          Re: BS writing for you

          Six months? Make that about 20 years and I second your comment ;)

          Applied Cryptography is still pretty much the definitive work, and from 1996 in it's current form. And that was before Blowfish etc.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BS writing for you

        @aman - You'll get flack for this, but I agree. I personally prefer Ross Anderson - he is really independent, and is not that interested in self marketing. This doesn't mean that I don't acknowledge his contribution to security (especially his books are good), but for raw credentials I think Ross trumps..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BS writing for you

          "for raw credentials I think Ross trumps.."

          Absolutely agree, though I am pleased that both of them exist.

          I can only imagine those downvoting you haven't read Anderson's (and/or his team's?) work on e.g. smartmeters or more recently on electronic tagging. Not to mention his stuff on payment card security and the like. Real day to day stuff. It needs to be read.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: BS writing for you

          for raw credentials I think Ross trumps

          It's not a fucking contest. Anyone with an ounce of sense and an interest in the subject is familiar with the work of both. There's no need to denigrate one in favor of the other.

      4. Someone Else Silver badge

        Rarely downvote amanfromMars1

        ...even when I can't decipher him. But really, Mars?...Really?!? Someone must have gotten up on the wrong side of the planet today, eh?

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Sir Runcible Spoon

    Leaving BT

    Coming from one who left BT because of Phorm, I'd be surprised if this was down to Bruce's comments.

    Bruce has always taken a pragmatic approach to comments that involve BT, everyone knows he was working for them and had to toe the line up to a point - but, BUT - he would always make a personal comment about this stuff in general and you could usually take what he says to the bank.

    I have no idea what kind of NDA he might still be under after leaving BT, but I am *really* looking forward to hearing from him.

    If you're reading this Bruce, have a great Christmas, and get busy writing!! (Any old pseudonym will do!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leaving BT

      "get busy writing"

      I'd use snailmail if I were you.

  4. Dave Harris 1


    "...the telecoms giant was no different from any other large private sector firm in the UK."

    Triple distilled bullshit. Many BT exchanges used to (and I suspect still do) have classified compartments, mostly in basements, sometimes lower basements that are themselves, ummm... hard to get into. BT carries all government comms and had (has?) crews security cleared to high levels in order to service this.

    Of course - Hughes may actually be telling the truth, as in: all the major UK telcos now have the same relationships with government security services.

    1. phil dude

      Re: B3

      i was told a similar story by "bloke what installed my virgin cable" in my first flat in Oxford...

      Didn't sound outrageous then....


    2. djack

      Re: B3

      "..Many BT exchanges used to (and I suspect still do) have classified compartments"

      Quite true. However, it does not set them apart from other large companies. For example, it's no secret that Vodafone runs the GSI network, which deals with a lot of the classified data traffic in the UK. Most large players in the managed datacentre field have secured DCs that can be used to house classified services and data.

      So what was your point?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: B3

        For the former official state owned government telecoms provider who were privatised to become the unofficial government telecoms provider to claim that its relationship with GCHQ is no different from Tesco's is a little disingenuous. It's like QuintiQ claiming it is just another software company.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: B3

      I thought the GCF (formally GSx) type networks were operated by Cable & Wireless? With them moving to the PSN this will be even less reliant on BT than they already are...

      1. Martin Taylor 1

        Re: B3

        Cable & Wireless Worldwide became part of Vodafone in April this year.

        1. djack

          Re: B3

          "Cable & Wireless Worldwide became part of Vodafone in April this year."

          Yep. C&W have run those networks for many years. A few years back, they lost the contract to Energis - remeber them? They won the gov contract and were then quickly bought by .. Cable and Wireless .. odd, that ;)

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: B3

        Vodafone own Cable & Wireless

    4. Blain Hamon

      Re: B3

      "Of course - Hughes may actually be telling the truth, as in: all the major UK telcos now have the same relationships with government security services."

      The best way to lie is to hide it in the truth.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Good in parts

    It was always with hope that we heard that Schneier had joined BT, to provide some clue to them about the issues on which he is expert, but a slim hope, given BT's reputation in IT circles. It says much for him that he remained a reliable source of security thought in the years since 2006 (golly - that long ago) in spite of the BT taint.

    Tux - 'cos maybe now he can ditch windows

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "natural end", "great asset"

    Geez, those ties can't really speak real, can they ?

    I was once called a "valuable asset" after I left from a soon to be driven to the ground firm, by a moron near Aix-en-Provence, so all my sympathy goes to M. Scheiner, whose "Applied Cryptography" I still have somewhere, of course amongst other notable publications.

    Also kudos for the papers on Snowden leaks, very interesting ...

    AC, cos' morons can read. Sometimes.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "natural end", "great asset"

      His US consulting company got bought by BT in 2006 when it (BT) was trying to pretend to be a world player.

      They are now either annoyed at the Chuck Norris of crypto, or have abandoned the US business or having his company made an internal report go onto a second page and it was easier to get rid of them than reformat it.

      Either way it's not like they marched him from the desk with a bin-liner of his stuff.

      He will probably get more work now he isn't associated with BT.

  7. thomas k.

    'thought leadership'?

    Is this a commonly used phrase in England (but which might perplex us 'merkins) or is it actually just what it sounds like - fatuous, management blathering.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'thought leadership'?

      Inside BT this mean someone (an expert) who can tell them what they should be doing, so that the management can ignore it and jump in to bed with the nearest politician anyway.

      1. Vimes

        Re: 'thought leadership'?

        so that the management can ignore it and jump in to bed with the nearest politician anyway.

        Remember Patricia Hewitt? First she was secretary of state for trade and industry, then she ended up being a non-executive director at BT.

        There seems to be a lot of quid quo pro going on in both directions...

      2. Mike Pellatt

        Re: 'thought leadership'?

        Yeah, Dr. Peter Cochrane OBE suffered the same fate. If he'd been listened to, we'd have FTTP and picocells nationally by now.

        But, as ever, the visionaries were ignored.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'thought leadership'?

      It's been spreading relentlessly after metastasising at the heart of the BBC; it can usually be found beating up the English language in conjunction with the chilling phrases 'blue skies thinking' and 'innovative leadership'.

    3. RISC OS

      Re: 'thought leadership'?

      My boss is trying to become a "thought leader" in "enterprise feedback management (EFM)"... basically you become a thought leader by blogging and commenting on subjects and having other people blog about your blogging and comments, like your facebook posts, and retweet your twits - eventually you get invited to give speeches at conferences because you are now recognised as a "thought leader" on the subject the conference is about, as you have produced so much web 2.0ish crap and social guff.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: 'thought leadership'?

        @RISC OS

        You forgot to add "It helps if you don't have the faintest idea what your organisation actually does'

      2. Someone Else Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @RISC OS Re: 'thought leadership'?

        +1 Insightful

        +2 A well-needed chuckle

    4. Hollerith 1

      Re: 'thought leadership'?

      My company is trying to position themselves as a 'thought leader' -- they are hiring old hacks who freelance for the magazines catering to our business niche to churn out the bleedin' obvious and package it as 'white papers' and 'thought leadership releases.' The true thought leaders are the ones actually thinking and sharing new ideas, and they don't need to market themselves as 'though leaders', because they natural accrue followers.

      I think the idea was that 'thought leadership' would be cheaper than massive advertising -- sort of like viral marketing. But it turns out to be pretty expensive, at least when you have to hire brains to do your thinking for you and, no, I don't think anyone is taken in by our posturing.

  8. Tom_


    Looking forward to reading all about it in this month's Cryptogram.

    1. smudge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Cryptogram

      ....which I normally receive on the 15th.

      It's the 16th now, and no sign of it.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: Cryptogram

        Mine arrived Sunday. Nothing about leaving BT in it. It does say that he has changed the mailing list server:

        "Crypto-Gram Has Moved

        "The Crypto-Gram mailing list has moved to a new server and new software (Mailman). Most of you won't notice any difference -- except that this month's newsletter should get to you much faster than last month's. However, if you've saved any old subscribe/unsubscribe instructions that involve sending e-mail or visiting, those will no longer work.If you want to unsubscribe, the easiest thing is to use the personalized unsubscribe link at the bottom of this e-mail. And you can always find the current instructions here:"

        Don't know if that helps.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately, he will probably be constrained

    by a gagging clause in his BT contract conflating with "Commercial Confidentiality".

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: Unfortunately, he will probably be constrained

      But haven't BT just dissolved that very contract?

  10. mike acker

    favorite terms

    one of my favorite terms is "sophisticated attack". it seems to be a favorite of the media.

    and when you get info on the issue they always seem to be the same old crap. after a while one would begin to think this stuff is just so much propaganda: some elements of the industry want us to think security is not possible. that would indeed be propaganda. has anything Bruce has written dispelled this concept?

    articles around the net late last week and this morning report that google yanked the app control feature out of their android. yeah, go figure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: favorite terms

      Well a "dumb attack" is just a DDOS surely?

      So a sophisticated one is an attack that isn't a brute force style attack.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given The Big "E"

    Given the big elbow, as BT can't have Bruce Schneier criticising one of their biggest customer with deep never ending pockets, namely GCHQ !

  12. RISC OS

    I thought an ology gave you a job for life? BT claimed it did

    You got a c in sociology? You get an ology, you have a job for life - except futureology it seems

  13. Bob Hoskins


    bruce is an insufferable twat as anyone who's ever had to work him will know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sigh.

      Not as insufferable as Stanton.

      1. Bob Hoskins

        Re: Sigh.

        That's faint praise!

    2. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Sigh.

      Annoying when people like that are *right*, isn't it?

      I found Bruce stimulating when I met him.

      1. Bob Hoskins

        Re: Sigh.

        Yeah - I'll bet he 'stimulated' you.

  14. The Cogito


    Bet he never seen this coming !!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to announce...

    Well, go on then.

    I'd like to thank him...

    So what's stopping you?

    All good, old-fashioned-English-teacher stuff.

    1. dynamight

      Re: I'd like to announce...

      Par for the course for that outfit I'd say.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: old-fashioned-English-teacher stuff

      I don't think that's allowed anymore. Sarcasm in the teaching profession was banned in 1986 because it damages the little flowers' sense of self-importance.

      A shame, really, since I heard some cracking put-downs when I were a lad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What, you mean no more...

        Child, "Miss, can I go to the toilet?"

        Teacher: "If you can't, you should see a doctor."

        Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I, myself, personally, consider all that stuff to be good ways to simply learn to get our language right.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If there is anyone in the world whose speeches should constantly be seen delivered via giant screen TVs strategically placed throughout grey, hopeless metropolises (metropoli?), it's Schneier. Every time I read one of the for-public-consumption columns he does for major general-interest outlets, I feel like running around with a big sign screaming about how everyone should bloody well read it NOW. He is literally the ONLY writer or commentator I've seen since 2001 who has had the balls to come out and say, "We'd be better off without this kind of security even *if it does work*" - everyone else adds an ass-covering line about "of course, security is important", or, "We all value safety, but".

    Schneier says the shit that everyone knows but nobody else will say, and he says it in a non-alarmist, non-paranoid, incredibly clear way. He ought to be required reading for, well, pretty much everybody.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "As to the future: answer, cloudy; ask again later."

    I see what you did there.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Giz a job

    The People's Liberation Army Unit 61398 is hiring.

  19. Forget It

    The Future arrives

    The Futurologist departs

    logical no?

  20. chiller

    Respect, but Movember is over dude.

  21. toffer99

    Maybe its something to do with the Network World report accusing BT of supplying backdoors for GCHQ and NSA.

  22. codeusirae
    Big Brother

    BT Security?

    "Mark Hughes, CEO, BT Security"

    Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron in that, as the Snowden leaks have patently demonstrated, the major telecom providers are plugged directly into GCHQ ..

  23. Someone Else Silver badge

    Convince me...

    Remarks including the words "check, "mail" and "mouth" come to mind.

  24. Philip Virgo

    Why are you all thinking negatively. Perhaps one of the insurance companies looking to underwrite well-managed cyber risk (and thus dictate the future) made him an offer he could not afford to refuse.

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