Deducing Poe's RSA Mystery
Edgar Allen Poe, the first American master of the macabre, provides the theme of this year's RSA Conference-the largest gathering of security vendors, resellers and professionals-which opens today in San Francisco.
What does a writer who plied stories about ghouls and madness have to do with security? His classic poem "The Raven" is hardly a parable for computer threats or network security (although you could make the case that it may reflect the madness and futility often felt by security professionals).
Poe is the perfect icon for information security, since he had a gift for obscurity and an uncanny ability to perfectly piece together tiles to a puzzle long before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle conjured Sherlock Holmes. Simply put, he was a master of both deception and deduction.
While my personal Poe favorite is "The Cast of the Amontillado," his "The Purloined Letter" is a more apt story for the RSA Conference. Not to ruin the story, "The Purloined Letter" has a wonderful subtext about not looking too closely for clues for fear of missing the big picture. I say this is a more apt reflection of security because the RSA Conference is replete with vendors hocking wares that are often smaller details in the fabric of security.