RIP Ross Anderson

Someone else will undoubtedly say it much better than I will here but one of us has to break the very sad news: Ross Anderson died yesterday.

His enthusiasm, his wide-spectrum intellectual curiosity and his engaging prose were unmatched. He stood up vigorously for the causes he believed in. He formed communities around the new topics he engaged with, from information hiding to fast software encryption, security economics, security and human behaviour and more. He served as an inspiring mentor for generations of graduate students at Cambridge—I know first hand, as I was fortunate enough to be admitted as his PhD student when he was still a freshly minted lecturer and had not graduated any students yet. I learnt my trade as a Cambridge Professor from him and will be forever grateful, as will dozens of my “academic brothers” who were also supervised by him, several of whom post regularly on this blog.

Ross, thank you so much for your lively, insightful and stimulating contributions to every subfield of security. You leave a big void that no one will be able to fill. I will miss you.


20 thoughts on “RIP Ross Anderson

  1. I wrote to him during lockdown because I found his book free online and there was an error in one of the chapters. He didn’t know me at all but he was so gracious receiving comments from me. It seems a great shame that I will no longer be reading anything by him.

  2. Very sorry to hear this. Deepest sympathies from the Criminology and wider team at Birmingham City University.


  3. Does anyone know if a “fund” or similar for rememberance has been set up to which people can contribute?

    1. I knew Ross in the mid-1970s when he was a rebellious undergraduate with a brilliant mind and joy for life. We picketed up again when we both started studying for belated Ph.Ds in the 1990s. He was still much the same as he was as an undergraduate but had acquired considerable wisdom. A marvellously complex man who had the gift of making things clear and simple. He will be greatly missed.

        1. Thank you Keith for sharing this link. Ross Anderson has been one of my primary resources for information security engineering and I have often referred his work to my infosec students.

          Having trouble accepting that he is gone at age 68 or thereabouts, being a very seasoned old Phart of 88.

  4. On this special Ching Ming lunar day, learned the saddest news of Ross’ unexpected very early departure announced officially yesterday – his intellectual inspiration, intelligent innovation and international impact throughout his time as my dissertation supervisor and the time beyond shall be greatly missed by all who knew him – thank you for your commitment, contribution to our growing academic genealogy in science and technology from GG and IN… R.I.P. Ross [candle]

  5. It’s only been a week but still struggling with this genuinely massive
    loss to all that we are doing in this field.

    Ross was generous and funny. But most of all authentic. He did not
    suffer fools. Especially jumped-up pseudo-authorities and those who
    use cybersecurity as a way to try to bamboozle and dominate others.

    Ross had a vision of computer security for the people, which I share
    and will not allow to fade.

    There needs to be a Ross Anderson Memorial “Truth To Power” Award.

    Please, make everything you do courageous in his honour.

  6. I met Ross at a College dinner – when he’d arrived hot-sandaled-foot from one of the early Glastonburys with a college gown hastily pulled over his festival gear. For all the reasons people have given above, I became a keen admirer of his computer security work and his Feynman-esque ability to cut simply through nonsense. “Nullius in verba” indeed, a fine life and a loss to all.

  7. May you rest in peace Ross. I hope you did reconcile your relationship with God prior to your death.

  8. A great loss to his family and friends and the world.
    I met him a few times, he pushed back against the BS so rife in the country, told it as it was.

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