Anderson has successfully synthesized an incredibly diverse set of literature and, as a result, the book is useful for any person who is involved in security. The first section of the book outlines different threat models, offers accessible ways to develop and implement security designs, and also addresses issues of economics, psychology, and basic security issues that must be considered from the outset of security planning. Because different threat situations are raised throughout the book the reader will learn to appreciate the value of adopting comprehensive threat planning. This approach is not meant to drive a 'secure everything' mentality but to encourage readers to reflect on, and understand, what is actually being protected, why it is being protected, and what it is being protected from. As a result, a manager or team lead not invested in the day-to-day securing of a principle can have intelligent and critical discussions with their security staff, ensuring that principles are properly identified and resources assigned to ensure desired levels of threat protection. For staff involved in implementing policy, reading this first section may help to couch concerns in a language that is better understood by management. It will also let those same staff members more precisely plan and implement policies that are handed down from higher levels in an organizational framework.
In the second section of the book, Anderson addresses a series of 'topic areas' such as multilateral security, banking and bookkeeping, monitoring and metering, security printing and seals, API attacks, copyright, telecom security, and more. In each section he leaves the reader with an excellent topical understanding of the historical issues these areas have encountered, how issues in various sections often relate to one another, and where and why errors in judgement have been made. The regular demonstrations of security failures - often due to side channel attacks - operate as powerful reminders that adequate policies that precisely identify how fault situations unfold are (arguably) amongst the most important elements of any security policy. It also demonstrates how what appear to be robust systems can be made to be quite brittle, thus emphasizing the need to think about how to develop effective defence in depth policies. This section is essential reading for both the actual implementers of security as well as whomever is making purchasing decisions on behalf of organizations. With the rapid growth of the 'security industry' and ever-increasing number of vendors that are invested in selling their latest products/snake oil, this section provides the reader with tools needed to critically interrogate products and make better purchasing and implementation decisions.
The final section is, arguably, most needed by mid- to high-level organizational planners. Civil issues are raised - how does security/surveillance impact individuals' rights? - as are step-by-step methodological systems for establishing threat patterns in relation to larger organizational concerns (e.g. profitability, consumer loyalty and trust). It also includes suggested practices for addressing potential security errors introduced in the generation of a digital or coded product, and how to establish an environment conducive to ensuring product- and process-based integrity, authenticity, and security. The final section is particularly needed for anyone looking into compliance seals and assurances. Anderson outlines the positive and deficient aspects of external audits, and also identifies how auditing systems have been gamed by nation-state actors and the reasons behind such gaming. While some organizations may be more concerned about receiving seals for bureaucratic purposes, for the agency that is concerned about the actual security value of the seals, this section provides much-needed resources to understand the nature of seal and certification systems.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Quite often, security books will emphasize a particular line of attack and bypass the broader conceptual systems underlying the incursion. This book largely takes the opposite track, focusing first on the conceptual deficiencies and the intellectual demands of designing secure systems. It then proceeds to outline attacks that often use the systems' logic to the attackers advantage. As a result, the reader will leave with a critical appreciation of the concepts and implementations of security. The emphasis on the conceptual conditions of security mean that the book will continue to age well, with readers being able to apply what is learned in this book to their work for years to come.