Winn Schwartau

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Winn Schwartau
Winn Schwartau (7704691738).jpg
Schwartau in 2012
Born (1952-07-01) July 1, 1952 (age 68)
New York City
OccupationComputer Security Expert
TitleChief Visionary Officer, SAC Labs, (A Div. of KnowBe4)
WebsiteSchwartau's personal website

Winn Schwartau (born July 1, 1952 in New York City) is an expert on security, privacy, infowar, cyber-terrorism and related topics.

Schwartau coined the term “Electronic Pearl Harbor” while testifying before Congress in 1991,[1] explaining how and why massive identify theft, cyber-espionage, nation-state hacking and cyber-terrorism would be an integral part of our future.

Dubbed by the Tampa Bay Times as "Computer Security's Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer,"[1] Schwartau is a published author with several books to his name. His latest work, Analogue Network Security (2018), is a mathematically based approach to provable security, which offers a "completely new, provable suite of techniques to design cyber, human and physical systems with more security than you ever thought possible."[2]

In 2002, Schwartau was honored as a “Power Thinker” and one of the 50 most powerful people in networking by Network World.[3] In 2008, he was voted one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Security Industry by Security Magazine.[3]

Early Life[edit]

Winn is the son of audio engineer and producer Bill Schwartau and Mary Caroline Bell, the first female audio engineer at NBC during World War II. At 16, he began his professional audio-video career and worked at studios including Mirasound Studios in New York, A&R Recording with Phil Ramone, The Hit Factory, Electric Lady Studios, while building others. His specialty was live rock and roll tour recording including engineering 96 live concert broadcasts from The Lone Star Cafe 1978-1981. As a geek, he collected and refurbished vintage audio equipment.

Written work[edit]

His early cyber-terrorism book, 1991, "Terminal Compromise" outlines a cyber-terrorist attack on the U.S. using 1980s technology. It was updated in 2001 to Pearl Harbor Dot Com <and is often compared to Die Hard IV

His first non-fiction book, Information Warfare: Chaos on the Electronic Superhighway (1994, 1996, 1997) introduces the concepts of cyberterrorism to the public and began the conversation about cyberwar with governments and the private sector. Cybershock (2000, 2001), is a non-technical look at hackers, information warriors, hacking technologies, and offensive cyber capabilities in general, to emphasize the importance of computer security for non-technical users as well as experts. In Time Based Security, Schwartau added math and outlines the principles of using time as a prime security metric.[4]

As a parent of children growing up with technology, he wrote Internet and Computer Ethics for Kids (and Parents and Teachers Without a Clue) (2001/2002).[5] Dr. Fred Cohen, from, described this book as “The best security book ever written”.[6]

His latest work, Analogue Network Security, formalized the mathematics and principles of creating provably secure cyber and physical environments.[7] On February 15, 2021, It was named "The Best CyberSecurity Book of all Time" by Cyber Defense Magazine.

Entrepreneurial career[edit]

In 1996, Wired covered Winn's work in cyber war and information warfare in an interview called Information Warrior

In 2001, Winn was labeled one of the Network World major "Power Thinkers" by Network World.[8] In 2007, SC Magazine labeled him one of the Top 5 Security Thinkers.[9]

He has been called the "civilian architect of information warfare"[10] and has been identified as one of the 25 most influential people in the security industry.[11]

Schwartau was the Chairman of the Board of Mobile Active Defense, specializing in security and compliance for smartphones and tablets,[12] and was president and founder of The Security Awareness Company (formerly known as Interpact, Inc. sold to KnowBe4 in 2017),[13] which develops security awareness programs for private and public organisations.

Currently, Schwartau is the Chief Visionary Officer for SAC Labs, a division of KnowBe4. He also founded InfowarCon (1994)[14] and Trusted Learning (2003),[15] and co-founded SCIPP International (2007)[16]


  1. ^ a b Trigaux, Robert (1998-06-15). "Computer Security's Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  2. ^ Schwartau, Winn (2018). "Analogue Network Security: Time, Broken Stuff, Engineering, Systems, My Audio Career, and Other Musings on Six Decades of Thinking about It All". Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  3. ^ a b "Winn Schwartau, author, chairman at Mobile Active Defense". SC Media. 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  4. ^ Winn Schwartau (Author). "Time Based Security". Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  5. ^ "Internet Ethics For Kids". Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  6. ^ "The Security Awareness Company Biography: Winn Schwartau" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-05-27. Retrieved September 10, 2016., retrieved 2009-01-05
  7. ^ url=
  8. ^ Network World Archived December 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "SC Magazine". 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  10. ^ "Industry Pioneers". 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  11. ^ "Security Magazine". Security Magazine. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  12. ^ Mobile Active Defense Archived October 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "The Security Awareness Company". The Security Awareness Company. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Trusted Learning". Trusted Learning. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ url=
  18. ^ url=

External links[edit]

Media related to Winn Schwartau at Wikimedia Commons