“Security Engineering” now available free online

February 4th, 2013 at 17:50 UTC by Ross Anderson

I’m delighted to announce that my book Security Engineering – A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems is now available free online in its entirety. You may download any or all of the chapters from the book’s web page.

I’ve long been an advocate of open science and open publishing; all my scientific papers go online and I no longer even referee for publications that sit behind a paywall. But some people think books are different. I don’t agree.

The first edition of my book was also put online four years after publication by agreement with the publishers. That took some argument but we found that sales actually increased; for serious books, free online copies and paid-for paper copies can be complements, not substitutes. We are all grateful to authors like David MacKay for pioneering this. So when I wrote the second edition I agreed with Wiley that we’d treat it the same way, and here it is. Enjoy!

Entry filed under: News coverage, Security economics, Security engineering, Security psychology

21 comments Add your own

  • 1. Luke  |  February 4th, 2013 at 19:35 UTC

    Hi Ross, thanks for this excellent work and sharing this. One little issue: chapter 21 is missing?

  • 2. Luke  |  February 4th, 2013 at 19:41 UTC

    Sorry, I mean chapter 22 is missing, chapter 21 is used twice?

  • 3. DaveD  |  February 4th, 2013 at 19:43 UTC

    Thanks making this available. Its really nice to have a electronic copy.

    FYI, chapter 22 has the link for chapter 21. Chapter 22 is there just not linked from main page.

  • 4. Ross Anderson  |  February 4th, 2013 at 20:05 UTC

    Sorry guys – fixed now


  • 5. Eduardo  |  February 5th, 2013 at 04:03 UTC

    Thank you so much for your great work Ross.

  • 6. Aron  |  February 5th, 2013 at 05:54 UTC

    Very helpful to make this available electronically. Is there any way to download the text as a single PDF instead of 32 separate files?

  • 7. Sleeper  |  February 5th, 2013 at 09:05 UTC

    I really appreciate that the book is now freely available, albeit a little late for me, as I have bought it on Google Play just at the end of last year. I hope more authors follow that example.

  • 8. Ross Anderson  |  February 5th, 2013 at 09:29 UTC

    Aron, I’m afraid not. The agreement with Wiley only allows me to put single-chapter pdfs online.

  • 9. Barney  |  February 5th, 2013 at 11:11 UTC

    Thanks for making this free online. I enjoyed reading it on paper.

    I wonder if you might want to edit the PDFs slightly to make sure your name and the title of the book is included in each one, in case someone downloads it and then forgets where it came from, or downloads it and passes on a copy.

    http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/Papers/SEv2-c10.pdf , for instance, doesn’t have these anywhere visible on the pages, and there’s also nothing useful in the PDF property metadata for “Title” or “Author”.

  • 10. Pablo  |  February 5th, 2013 at 14:08 UTC

    @Ross, Thank you for making this book available online.

    @Aron .

    It is easy to merge all pdf in one pdf so that you have the book.
    You can use tool pdftk http://goo.gl/9agWV to merge pdfs.

    To download all pdf’s at once, from Firefox you can use add-on downthem all. Select all links from “table of contents” to “index” and then right click to downthem all.

    You can even convert the JPG portrait book image to pdf and merge it too…

  • 11. Mike Yemane  |  February 5th, 2013 at 14:58 UTC

    Thank you Mr. Anderson for making this available free.

  • 12. Charles  |  February 5th, 2013 at 18:51 UTC

    In Memory of Aaron Swartz! Your ideas free for other to expand upon.

  • 13. michael  |  February 6th, 2013 at 03:56 UTC

    I have bought both the first edition and the second edition. It is required reading for all the people on my team.

  • 14. Immo Huneke  |  February 6th, 2013 at 14:13 UTC

    Many thanks – an invaluable work.

  • 15. jared  |  February 13th, 2013 at 18:38 UTC

    thank you for sharing!

    @Pablo good idea!

  • 16. hyrum  |  February 14th, 2013 at 21:13 UTC

    Thanks! The first thing I did when I saw that you’d made it available for free, was go and buy a paper copy. I appreciate having both around.

  • 17. Ross Anderson  |  February 15th, 2013 at 09:17 UTC

    I’m glad you all like it!

    Yes, it is in memory of Aaron in a small way. I’d had an agreement with Wiley to put the book online four years after publication, but it was Aaron’s tragic death that spurred me to do it


  • 18. Nick Hentoff  |  February 23rd, 2013 at 21:08 UTC

    Thanks for taking a stand against the escalating greed of the university press publishers. I live near a large library and can almost always get access to whatever I need. Whenever I see a pay-wall charging $30 for an article, or a $250 price tag on an academic book, I always think about bright people in remote areas of the world who may have sporadic access to the internet and just want to learn without paying a months salary to get the information they are seeking. While I was thinking about it, Aaron Swartz was doing something about it. Again, many thanks for doing your part in the struggle for freedom of information.

  • 19. Alexandros  |  February 27th, 2013 at 12:58 UTC

    Thanks for this Ross.

    Very useful as a resource for all of us, plus makes a statement about making content available online that needs to be shouted from the rooftops much more than it has…

    People need to know that making content available does not “rob poor authors of their rice bowl”.

    Kudos to you, Aaron Schwartz, Cory Doctorow, Lawrence Lessig and other pioneers for setting the right trend and keeping human culture and information available for future generations, beyond the “commercially attractive” short lifespan of a print or DRM book.

  • 20. Chuck  |  March 2nd, 2013 at 22:46 UTC

    I hate to be a dissonant voice. But, had the downloadable version been available when the book came out, I would probably have downloaded it and not bought the hard copy. I slightly prefer using hard copy for books I read. I strongly prefer having a machine readable version for books I refer to.

    So, I think there is a trade-off here. I hope that the practice of making open access to books after four years catches on. But, there is a cost to authors and publishers of doing so.

  • 21. konzo  |  December 21st, 2013 at 01:55 UTC

    Hello Ross. I am very grateful for this free knowledge to the whole ICT community. Some organisation who call them selfs as ” precious metal” standard in IT security doesn’t have search a comprehensive literature on their security domains. inside selling poorly researched, bad wording standard security books to prospective students. Your book is the best security books I have read . so detailed and practical. I52^2 please learn for this and write better books for your domains.

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