With both the first edition in 2001 and the second edition in 2008, I put six chapters online for free at once, then added the others four years after publication. For the third edition, I negotiated an agreement with the publishers to put the chapters online for review as I wrote them. So the book came out by instalments, like Dickens' novels, from April 2019 to September 2020. On the first of November 2020, all except seven sample chapters will disappear for a period of 42 months. I'm afraid the publishers insist on that. But therearefter the whole book will be free online forever.
You may pre-order the paper book here for delivery at the end of November in the USA and here for delivery in January 2021 in the UK.
Here are the chapters as I put them online for review:
I'm very grateful to the dozens of people who pointed out errors and omissions.
This approach was inspired by the collaborative authorship model pioneered by my late friend and colleague David MacKay for his great books on sustainable energy and coding theory.
I made a video for the launch, which you can watch here. For comments, see our blog here, Bruce Schneier's blog here and El Pais here.
The Second Edition (2008)
Download for free here:
‘There is an extraordinary textbook written by Ross Anderson, professor of computer security at University of Cambridge. It’s called Security Engineering, and despite being more than 1,000 pages long, it’s one of the most readable pop-science slogs of the decade.’
‘I'm incredibly impressed that one person could produce such a thorough
coverage. Moreover, you make the stuff easy and enjoyable to read. I
find it just as entertaining — and far more useful —
than novels (and my normal science fiction). When I first got it in
the mail, I said to myself "I'm never going to read all of that." But
once I started reading I just kept going and going. Fantastic: well
done. Now, let's hope that all those in charge of security for
information technology will also read the book and heed the lessons.’
‘The book that you MUST READ
RIGHT NOW is the second edition of Ross Anderson's Security Engineering book.
Ross did a complete pass on his classic tome and somehow made it even
‘It's beautiful. This is the best book on the topic there
Errata and supplementary materials: Here are the errata for the second edition, and here's a page of notes and links concerning relevant topics that I've come across since publication.
If you're a college professor thinking of using my book in class, note that we use my book in three courses at Cambridge:
The first edition (2001)
You can also download all of the first edition for free:
The foreword, preface and other front matter
My goal in making the first edition freely available five years after publication was twofold. First, I wanted to reach the widest possible audience, especially among poor students. Second, I am a pragmatic libertarian on free culture and free software issues; I think that many publishers (especially of music and software) are too defensive of copyright. (My colleague David MacKay found that putting his book on coding theory online actually helped its sales. Book publishers are getting the message faster than the music or software folks.) I expect to put the whole second edition online too in a few years.
If you own the first edition of my book, I hope you liked it enough to upgrade to the second edition. I also have online errata for the first edition here.
Following enquiries from blind students, Jose C. Lacal has contributed these MP3 files of the first edition: preface, chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, chapter 4, chapter 6, and chapter 7.
There are reviews of the first edition, which was translated into Japanese, Chinese and Polish.
Return to Ross Anderson's home page