- Paperback: 640 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (January 22, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471389226
- ISBN-13: 978-0471389224
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 62 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,842,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems 1st Edition
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Gigantically comprehensive and carefully researched, Security Engineering makes it clear just how difficult it is to protect information systems from corruption, eavesdropping, unauthorized use, and general malice. Better, Ross Anderson offers a lot of thoughts on how information can be made more secure (though probably not absolutely secure, at least not forever) with the help of both technologies and management strategies. His work makes fascinating reading and will no doubt inspire considerable doubt--fear is probably a better choice of words--in anyone with information to gather, protect, or make decisions about.
Be aware: This is absolutely not a book solely about computers, with yet another explanation of Alice and Bob and how they exchange public keys in order to exchange messages in secret. Anderson explores, for example, the ingenious ways in which European truck drivers defeat their vehicles' speed-logging equipment. In another section, he shows how the end of the cold war brought on a decline in defenses against radio-frequency monitoring (radio frequencies can be used to determine, at a distance, what's going on in systems--bank teller machines, say), and how similar technology can be used to reverse-engineer the calculations that go on inside smart cards. In almost 600 pages of riveting detail, Anderson warns us not to be seduced by the latest defensive technologies, never to underestimate human ingenuity, and always use common sense in defending valuables. A terrific read for security professionals and general readers alike. --David Wall
Topics covered: How some people go about protecting valuable things (particularly, but not exclusively, information) and how other people go about getting it anyway. Mostly, this takes the form of essays (about, for example, how the U.S. Air Force keeps its nukes out of the wrong hands) and stories (one of which tells of an art thief who defeated the latest technology by hiding in a closet). Sections deal with technologies, policies, psychology, and legal matters.
"While many of the chapter topics may sound unexciting, Anderson has a wonderful writing style and at times reads almost like a Tom Clancy thriller with its details of military command and control systems and other similar topics. Anyone responsible for information security should read Security Engineering." (UnixReview.com, July 2001)
"an eminently readable yet comprehensive book" (Network News, 12 September 2001)
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I especially like all the examples. If you already work in the space, you already know WHY any of this is important. If you don't, then leaving those stories out really makes the subject matter dry and irrelevant. Including it really hits home as to why security is so important to all of us, and it makes the solutions much more intriguing.
The author explains things in layman's terms, so although this is a very broad and complex topic, it's very accessible through this book. I also love the author's approach of introducing you to *all* the relevant concerns of security, and then giving you references if you want to learn more (including problems that haven't been solved yet).
One thing I found interesting was that having the advantage of living 10 years beyond the end of the book, it becomes clear that many of the current hot topics in security have been predicted by security experts for years. For example, Google just found the first SHA-1 collision, and in the book, Ross reported that an algorithm has been developed to find a collision in 2^69 steps, but it was predicted that it should be possible in 2^60 steps. 10 years later, as I'm reading the book, Google reports they did it with 2^63 computations.
If you're a professional, you probably already know all the important stuff from this book. So depending on what you're looking for, it might not be the book for you. If security is this mysterious, complex thing that feels like it's beyond your reach, you'll love this book. It's not like "heads first" security where it just flies by. You may find yourself slogging through the thousand or so pages over a series of eye-straining months. Your husband might get used to seeing you making pained faces around the house while looking at the ceiling as you try to understand something. But it's still fun. Oh also sometimes the author is unexpectedly sarcastic, and that's really fun, too.
While studying for the CISSP exam I was forced to familiarize myself in many areas of security I had previously skirted – thus it was grueling work. Few of the CISSP level exam questions require in-depth knowledge; overall the CISSP requires an eye-in-the-sky view of the entire security field, and how different concepts fit together. At the level of the CISSP there are many good resources and it only took me two weeks of study to prep for a passing score.
Studying for the CISSP-ISSAP has been more challenging. Not only is the training availability extremely limited, there are few good study resources for the exam. I understand the ISSAP concentration requires detailed knowledge of the inner workings of many technical systems (and not just those normally administered by security professionals). To pass this exam you not only need to retain that knowledge, but know how it all works in minute detail.
A long foreword, but the point being stumbling across this book has been a lucky break. Ross dives into security engineering at the street level and comes up for air only to relate real world cases of security failure and how they can be avoided. Not only does he get down to the detail level required on much of the CISSP-ISSAP curriculum, his book is heavily weighted in the technical control fields that are core to the ISSAP exam.
If you’re tasked with engineering security controls in any information system or joining me in studying for the ISSAP concentration I highly recommend this read.
This book was published in 2010 making it currently 7 years old. This means there are some glaring exemptions from his review of historical security failures and a bit of weakness in mobile, social and cloud. It should be noted that. Despite being 10 years out of date many of his observations seem eerily prescient given what has occurred during the intervening interval and although lacking in examples pertaining to Social Mobile Analytics and Cloud – he accurately predicted the systemic issues encountered in these areas proving good fundamental coverage still useful in 2017.
Trailing note. This is 1080 pages - if you're expecting a casual read look elsewhere, while Ross does an excellent job of keeping this digestible be prepared for some focused attention on every passage.