Forwarded from: "Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Hannah" <rsladeat_private> BKSECENG.RVW 20021015 [ http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471389226/c4iorg - WK] "Security Engineering", Ross Anderson, 2001, 0-471-38922-6, U$65.00 %A Ross Anderson ross.andersonat_private rja14at_private %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8 %D 2001 %G 0-471-38922-6 %I John Wiley & Sons, Inc. %O U$65.00 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448 %P 612 p. %T "Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems" The preface states that this book is intended as a text for self-study or for a one term course, a reference for professionals, an introduction to the underlying concepts, and an original scientific contribution in terms of the foundational principles for security engineering. A very tall order to promise, but one which, for once, seems to have been fulfilled. I have often been asked, in regard to these reviews, whether there are, in fact, any books that I like. Well, I like this one. If you are involved with security and you haven't read it, you should. Part one deals with the basic concepts of engineering and security. Chapter one presents four example situations of security needs. Protocols are not limited to the precise but limited structures computer people are familiar with. A set of more conceptual, but more formal, authentication problems and protocols are advanced in chapter two. It is unlikely that the models presented exhaust the field, but some thought indicates that they are applicable to a wide variety of applications. (Anderson's writing is clear enough, but he does betray a taste for symbolic logic that might limit the audience for the book. Still, perserverence on the part of the reader will be amply rewarded.) Much the usual thoughts and advice on passwords is issued in chapter three, although the research is better documented, and some additional research (passphrase generated passwords are as secure as randomly assigned ones, and as memorable as naively chosen ones) is presented. It is strange not to see any mention of the work factor of passwords overall. Chapter four reviews access control, but primarily from the perspective of system and hardware internals. Cryptography, in chapter five, is covered reliably and well, although Anderson does not work overly hard to make the material easy to follow. The problems of distributed systems are examined; in terms of concurrency, failure resistance, and naming; in chapter six. Part two uses a number of applications of secure systems to introduce particular concepts or technologies. Chapter seven discusses multi- level security, which encompasses most of the formal security models such as Bell-LaPadula. Medical (and census) databases are used, in chapter eight, as examples of multilateral, or compartmented, security: the need to deal with information of equal sensitivity, but restricted to different groups. There is good discussion of inference and aggregation problems. Integrity controls, particularly related to the banking system and fraud, are presented in chapter nine, although the material is long on anecdotes, and contains weaker analysis than the preceding text. Chapter ten reviews monitoring systems, of both monitoring and metering types. In regard to nuclear command and control systems, chapter eleven examines the tension between availability (the ability to fire a missile) and confidentiality (or authentication: making sure nobody else does). Various aspects of the technology for security printing and seals is dealt with in chapter twelve. Biometrics, in chapter thirteen, gets a good, but fairly standard, treatment. Chapter fourteen delves into tamper-resistance in cryptographic gear and smartcards. The TEMPEST and Teapot (no, I'm not kidding) projects on emission security are reviewed in chapter fifteen. There is good coverage of the basics of traditional electronic warfare in chapter sixteen, although the material on information warfare is not as thorough. Chapter seventeen looks at telecommunications system security, with some material on phone phreaking and lots on cellular encryption. Network attack and defense, in chapter eighteen, is less focussed than other chapters, and adds malware. (There is an odd, and unexplained, assertion that malware would formerly have merited a full chapter: In correspondence, Anderson has said that the new email viruses show less diversity than the old DOS versions. I disagree. But then, I would, wouldn't I? :-) The relation of types of antiviral and intrusion detection systems is good. Chapter nineteen, on protecting e-commerce systems, has good information but mixed in a bit of a grab bag: e-commerce is always a bit of a fuzzy topic. There is solid coverage of recent controversies in regard to copyright and privacy protection, in chapter twenty. Part three turns to politics, management, and assurance. Chapter twenty one has a fascinating discussion of major issues in public policy. Management issues, in chapter twenty two, are presented in an interesting but generic manner. The discussion of system evaluation and assurance asks the usual question of how we know our systems are secure. In a sense, though, the subtitle of the book is wrong: much of the material points out how *not* to build dependable systems, and chapter twenty three is a bit disheartening. The conclusion, in chapter twenty four, is that we need more engineers and engineering. Although the material is presented in a very formal way, the writing is usually quite readable, and the exceptional stilted passages are still accessible to the determined reader. On occasion, one could hope for additional explanations of some items that are mentioned briefly and passed over, but, by and large, one has to agree with Bruce Schneier's assessment, reprinted on the book jacket, that this is one of the most comprehensive works on security concepts that is available. The constant emphasis on how security protections have failed can be depressing, but the examination of the errors of others does provide the basis for better designs in the future. copyright Robert M. Slade, 2002 BKSECENG.RVW 20021015 ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer) rsladeat_private rsladeat_private sladeat_private p1at_private It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it. - G. K. 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