biography: Brian SNOW
Security bibliography - Biographies
Full Name: Brian D. SNOW A picture of Brian Snow
Former job title: Technical Director of the Information Assurance Directorate of the United States National Security Agency (NSA).
Current activity: - Security and Ethics Consultant. 
Member, US National Academy of Sciences Committee on Future Research Goals and Directions for Foundational Science in Cybersecurity.
Personal webpage: LinkedIn
Personal email: briansnow at
Personal phone: +1-301-854-3255
Statement: Brian Snow, "Statement on Synaptic Labs." (2011)
Streaming Video: "Our Cyber Security Status is Grim (and the way ahead will be hard)", free streaming video, 23 minutes long, November 2011. 
Streaming Video: See more free videos by Brian Snow below.
Best known for:  

Brian Snow is now a “Distinguished Member of the Cryptomathematics Institute (CMI)” at the NSA (2011)


Mathematician/computer scientist, Brian taught mathematics and helped lay the groundwork for a computer science department at Ohio University in the late 1960’s. He joined the National Security Agency in 1971 where he became a cryptologic designer and security systems architect.

Brian spent his first 20 years at NSA doing and directing research that developed cryptographic components and secure systems. Many cryptographic systems serving the U.S. government and military use his algorithms; they provide capabilities not previously available and span a range from nuclear command and control to tactical radios for the battlefield. Computer Security, Network Security and strong Assurance were major aspects for these systems. He created and managed NSA’s Secure Systems Design division in the 1980s. He has many patents, awards, and honors attesting to his creativity.

His later years at NSA were the model for what it means to be a senior Technical Director at NSA (similar to a Chief Scientist or Senior Technical Fellow in industry); he served in that capacity in three major mission components –

  • The Research Directorate (1994-1995),
  • The Information Assurance Directorate (1996-2002), and
  • The Directorate for Education and Training -- NSA’s Corporate University (2003-2006)

He was the first Technical Director appointed at the “Key Component” level at NSA, and the only “techie” at NSA to serve in such a role across three different Directorates. Throughout those years, his Credo was:

Managers are responsible for doing things right;
Technical Directors are responsible for finding the right things to do.

In all of his positions, he insisted that the actions NSA took to provide intelligence for our national and military leaders should not put U.S. persons or their rights at risk. He was a leading voice for always assessing the unintended consequences of both success and failure prior to taking action.

Brian retired in 2006 and is now a Security Consultant and Ethics Advisor.

B.A. mathematics 1965 -- University of Colorado


"He who gets to the interface first, wins."

Publication: Brian Snow, "Our Cyber Security Status is Grim (and the way ahead will be hard)", Malta Internationl Cyber Awareness Seminar, free streaming video, 23 minutes long, November 2011.  This video complements and expands the material discussed in the video by PaulDotCom!
Publication: Brian Snow Interview on PaulDotCom!, 2013
Publication: Brian Snow, "The Importance of Implementation", World Science Festival 2011, (Courtesy of
Publication: Brian Snow, "Cyber-Terrorism: A Question of Intent", World Science Festival 2011, (Courtesy of
Publication: Brian Snow, Clinton Brooks, "Privacy and security: An ethics code for U.S. intelligence officers", August 2009
Publication: Steven J. Greenwald, Steven J. Greenwald, Brian D. Snow, Richard Thieme, Richard Ford, "Towards an Ethical Code for Information Security?", 2008
Publication: Brian Snow, "We Need Assurance!" (see our bibliography page for PDF, MP3) also see: Streaming video of his presentation in 2008.
Publication: Brian Snow, "It's not lovely code, it's an ugly monkey", AusCert 2008, (Courtesy of
See recommended Personal Software Process bib entry, Capability Maturity Module CMMI Level 5 (overview), ISO 9000 on Wikipedia.
Publication: Brian Snow, "How encryption can go bad", AusCert 2008, (Courtesy of
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