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Professor Ross Anderson 

Subject studied

Computer Science

Year of birth


Year of death


Professor Ross Anderson FRS FRSE FREng was a Senior Research Fellow at the College at the time of his death in 2024. During the nine years that Ross had been a Fellow, he was a very active participant in the life of the College, serving on numerous committees, and a steadfast and enthusiastic supporter of the activities of the Senior Combination Room.

He was Professor of Security Engineering at the Computer Laboratory and had spent two terms on the Council of the University. During his long and distinguished career he made significant contributions in many areas of computer security and was one of the founders of the field of security economics. His work spanned many areas including cryptology; cybercrime; peer-to-peer networking; the security of application programming interfaces; the connection between security and human behaviour and much more. He was one of the founders of the field of security economics which explored how ideas from economics can be used to improve our understanding of computer security as well as better inform public policy. His book Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems became and remains the essential go-to textbook for the subject.

He will be greatly missed by his wife Shireen Anderson, who will be well known to many Fellows, and who is the coordinator of the Christina Kelly Association of the College.

Professor Anderson’s friends and colleagues at Churchill College will also feel his loss keenly. Churchill College’s Director of Studies for Computer Science, Dr. John Fawcett, said, “Ross Anderson was an energetic Fellow at Churchill College whose robust mentoring of postgraduate students was always appreciated.  His broad interests and insights always gave rise to lively and probing dinner conversations with the research students.  Ross was an enthusiastic advocate for, and orchestrator of, the annual Computer Science dinner, which retained connections between College and computer science graduates through the decades. His piping of the haggis at Burns Night was a popular contribution across the community of undergraduates, postgraduates and the fellowship alike.  Ross will be missed by all.”

Professor Peter Landrock said “Ross Anderson was formidable as a researcher, a Fellow at Churchill, a human being and a friend. Those close to him would know he had a heart of gold, while others might suffer from time to time as he seldom hesitated to speak his mind on a subject he knew about, sometimes even inventing illustrative words as he went along to make his point absolutely clear. And there were many subjects in which he had profound knowledge, a modern polyhistor. Even though he was constantly working, communicating, or speaking the course of something he felt was not addressed properly by others, he would always find the time for family, friends, students and other young people he would meet in College. We are left with a vacuum which will take time to fill up.”

Prof. Chris Tout said “Ross Anderson’s time as a Fellow of Churchill College was too short but his dedication meant that he was always on the scene, whether piping in the haggis at Burns’ Night, supporting student mentees or introducing his many and varied guests at dinner.  Ross supported every aspect of College life and took its governance and running seriously. Ross’ down to Earth thinking and lack of qualms over speaking his mind meant one was always in for an entertaining and instructive time in his presence.  As the recent pandemic eased Ross was among the first to encourage the reopening of College life, so important to a great many of the Fellowship. His presence and support will be sorely missed in the College where he has left his mark.”

Further details of Professor Anderson’s career and achievements can be found at:

University of Cambridge Computer Science Department

Computer Weekly

The Register