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Computer Security 2nd Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470862933
ISBN-10: 0470862939
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Today, security is no longer only a topic of interest for specialists, but a concern for all end users, systems administrators, and software developers.

The development of new kinds of IT applications means that unique security threats continue to emerge. These new challenges may require novel solutions, and traditional security solutions can actually exacerbate the problem rather than solve it.

Dieter Gollmann's popular text continues to offer a comprehensive yet concise overview of the subject that will help the reader think about security at every level. Beginning with basic definitions and concepts and going on to outline the mechanisms at the heart of the computer system, this book covers security issues in networks, operating systems and databases, and shows how to evaluate and tackle security problems.

Updated throughout, the second edition includes brand new chapters on software security, authentication in distributed systems, new paradigms in access control, and mobility. Also included are brief introductions to security management and cryptography.

Computer Security is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students on a variety of introductory and advanced security courses in computer science, engineering and related disciplines. Technical and project managers will also find that this book offers a great starting point for dealing with complex security challenges.

Designed for use on courses or self study, additional resources such as lecture slides and suggested solutions to end of chapter exercises can be found at www.wiley.com/go/gollmann

Comments on the first edition

"...a very useful book for those involved in the thorny issues of Computer Security. I recommend it to my students."
—Antonia Jones, Cardiff University

More comments on the first edition

"...highly readable and contains clear explanations and examples.... I found myself wishing I had had this book when I started working in this area."
—N. R. Mead, New York Review

"...an excellent textbook either for higher education or for advanced training programmes on computer security."
—Jianying Zhou, Computer Communications

"...the book I have been looking for for years..."
—Viiveke Fak, Linkoping University

"Mandatory reading for aspiring system managers"
—Antonia Jones, Cardiff University

About the Author

Dieter Gollmann is Professor for Security in Distributed Applications at Hamburg University of Technology. He is also a visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London and Adjunct Professor at the Technical University of Denmark. Previously he was a researcher in Information Security at Microsoft Research in Cambridge.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (January 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470862939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470862933
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,579,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First of all, the book's title is not quite correct. "Some Technical Aspects of Computer Security" would be closer to the truth. It does not cover many important areas of Computer Security, such as IS organization, physical security etc. The book was written based on university lecture notes and it shows. It is quite obvious that Mr. Gollmann has never been in charge of the security of a corporate network (I doubt that he had SEEN one), so his knowledge regarding the real-life issues is rather limited. There are hardly any case studies in the book. Consequently, the usefulness of the book depends on the audience. If you are a university professor, trying to "entertain" your students with theories that they can forget as soon as they graduate, look no further, buy this book NOW. The same thing applies if you are a student wanting to survive such a course. (The back cover of the book quotes someone from Linköping University: "...the book I have been looking for for years". I can easily believe that.) On the other hand, if you are an IS security expert, a security manager or an auditor, I doubt that you will be fired if you know nothing about, say, the Harrison-Ruzzo-Ullmann Model. However, if your knowledge about security policies is limited to what's written in the book, you may be in trouble soon. Those topics that are covered are descriptive and not action-oriented. For example, there is ample information about the types of viruses and anti-virus software that exist, but practically nothing about the controls that should be in place to prevent viruses from spreading. Still, I think everyone interested in computer security will find SOME information in the book that they can use some day.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Without doubt, this is the worst textbook I've ever had the misfortune to encounter. Even before the actual text starts, there's a discrepancy which bodes ill. Specifically, the back cover says:

"Written for SELF-STUDY and course use, this book will suit a variety of INTRODUCTORY and more advanced security programs for students of computer science, engineering and related disciplines."

However, the Preface states:

"This book grew out of my lecture notes for courses taught on a one-year POSTGRADUATE programme on information security."

The back cover is false and the Preface is much closer to what you can expect in the book: no person at a Computer Science/Computer Security introductory level will be able to get anything out of this book. The reader MUST already be fully knowledgeable about Unix, NT, Multics, and various computer security models and jargon. There's no way around that. If you don't meet those requirements, don't even think about picking up this book.

The biggest problem with the book is that it's written from the viewpoint of someone talking to a group of people who are already familiar with the subject: the author is merely pointing out things that those already-knowledgeable people should know. Instead of writing to teach people the topic, the author just synthesizes his own knowledge to focus on the subject. Also, he uses words not to explain and enlighten, but to confuse and obfuscate. For instance, his standard writing behavior is to use obscure technical terms well before he defines them.
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Format: Paperback
Dieter Gollmann's "Computer Security" provides an excellent survey of the fundamental science relating to the book's title. As stated in the Editorial Review, it is intended as a graduate Computer Science textbook. While this may be true, it is also valuable for anyone tasked with designing security into an application or distributed system.
The book provides a macro-level introduction to the primary subject areas involved in securing operating, network, and database systems, with varying levels of exposure to theoretical foundations, architectural tradeoffs, and practical implementations. These "varying levels" are perhaps the one difficulty I have with the book, because the treatment of some topic left me with an uneven understanding with respect to other important topics. For example:
In PART 1 FUNDAMENTALS, Chapter 3 (Access Control) lays thorough conceptual groundwork for understanding Chapter 4 (Security Models) which covers the theoretical development (Set Theory and Partial Order Relations) of formal Access Control Models.
These subjects are "bread and butter" to operating/database system securdesigners and receive very robust treatment given the overall dimensions of the book. However, other primary security topics (e.g. Cryptography) do not get enough fundamental explanation to leave an uninitiated reader with a sense of understanding. Perhaps, this dilemma is endemic to computer security itself - a paradigm that requires deep multi-disciplinary subject understanding to master. However, "Computer Security" does mitigate this apparent deficiency by providing a comprehensive Bibliography complete with 163 separate entries.
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