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Hacking For Dummies [Paperback]

Kevin Beaver , Stuart McClure
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 16 2004 For Dummies (Computers)
While you’re reading this, a hacker could be prying and spying his way into your company’s IT systems, sabotaging your operations, stealing confidential information, shutting down your Web site, or wreaking havoc in other diabolical ways. Hackers For Dummies helps you hack into a hacker’s mindset and take security precautions to help you avoid a hack attack. It outlines computer hacker tricks and techniques you can use to assess the security of your own information systems, find security vulnerabilities, and fix them before malicious and criminal hackers can exploit them. It covers:
  • Hacking methodology and researching public information to see what a hacker can quickly learn about your operations
  • Social engineering (how hackers manipulate employees to gain information and access), physical security, and password vulnerabilities
  • Network infrastructure, including port scanners, SNMP scanning, banner grabbing, scanning, and wireless LAN vulnerabilities
  • Operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Novell NetWare
  • Application hacking, including malware (Trojan horses, viruses, worms, rootkits, logic bombs, and more), e-mail and instant messaging, and Web applications
  • Tests, tools (commercial, shareware, and freeware), and techniques that offer the most bang for your ethical hacking buck

With this guide you can develop and implement a comprehensive security assessment plan, get essential support from management, test your system for vulnerabilities, take countermeasures, and protect your network infrastructure. You discover how to beat hackers at their own game, with:

  • A hacking toolkit, including War dialing software, password cracking software, network scanning software, network vulnerability assessment software, a network analyzer, a Web application assessment tool, and more
  • All kinds of countermeasures and ways to plug security holes
  • A list of more than 100 security sites, tools, and resources

Ethical hacking helps you fight hacking with hacking, pinpoint security flaws within your systems, and implement countermeasures. Complete with tons of screen shots, step-by-step instructions for some countermeasures, and actual case studies from IT security professionals, this is an invaluable guide, whether you’re an Internet security professional, part of a penetration-testing team, or in charge of IT security for a large or small business.


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Review

“…a good read…a price well-worth paying, because such works are invaluable…” (InfoSecurity News Magazine, August 2004)

“…an excellent aide…” (PC Home, August 2004)

“…should be of interest to both ethical and malicious hackers…” (Publishing News, 22nd March 2004)

From the Back Cover

Find out if your system is vulnerable to hack attacks!

"The coverage of security topics in this book can help you avoid a hack attack."
— Stuart McClure

"To catch a thief, think like a thief." Here’s the guide that will help you do just that! It shows you how to become a "white hat hacker," exploring your own system for vulnerabilities the unscrupulous hacker could exploit. And it’s loaded with tips, suggestions, and recommendations to help you plug any holes you find.

The Dummies Way

  • Explanations in plain English
  • "Get in, get out" information
  • Icons and other navigational aids
  • Tear-out cheat sheet
  • Top ten lists
  • A dash of humor and fun

Discover how to:

  • Recognize and counter common hack attacks
  • Gain support for your security plan
  • Test the security of Windows®, Linux®, NetWare®, and more
  • Report your finds to upper management
  • Protect your network infrastructure

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
This book is about hacking ethically - the science of testing your computers and network for security vulnerabilities and plugging the holes you find before the bad guys get a chance to exploit them. Read the first page
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Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful for securing your systems May 18 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I thought this book did a good job of explaining how hackers operate and what I can do to stop them. I also thought the case studies were very interesting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Place to Get Started Jan. 29 2005
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I used to wonder why anyone would want to break into my computer, there's not much there of any interest. Even I don't find it all that interesting. Then one day I was puzzled when my ISP asked why my machine was putting out millions of bytes of stuff to the point where it was bogging down their T1 line. I didn't know. We unpluged the machine from the network and it stopped sending. We plugged it back in and it wasn't sending. But the next day it was.

It wasn't until we got an e-mail telling us to stop sending out copyrighted movies that we realized what had happened. It wasn't anything in my computer they wanted, it was the bandwidth. Knowing what to look for it wasn't all that hard to stop. Google quickly provided links on this problem.

This book is aimed at people just like me. It gives an overall, if fairly light, view of the overall security problem. Like the other For Dummies books it has a writing style that doesn't (quite) put you to sleep. It has enough humor to enable you to get through it. It won't make you an expert, but it will point out the problem areas so that you can go deeper into those that are important to you. It's a good introduction.
56 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to hacking for beginners Sept. 3 2004
By Ben Rothke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The media often mistakenly characterize hackers as bored technical geniuses. In truth, most hackers, as the media use the term, are not geniuses; they are simply adept at downloading hacking tools that do all of the dirty work for them. These so-called script kiddies often do not know what they are doing until the damage is done.

From the perspective of the victimized company, however, it's not really important who is doing the attacking; all that matters is how organizations can protect themselves from myriad attacks and tools. Hacking for Dummies is written on the premise that to catch a hacker, you have to think and behave like one. This is a well-written and engrossing book that helps the reader understand how hackers compromise computer systems and networks. Its clear, easy-to-read style won't intimidate readers unfamiliar with abstruse security terms and concepts.

The 19 chapters progress from the basics of security to the hardening of an operating system and the hacking of Web applications. While the reader is not expected to have a deep technical background, the book does go into some detail, as it must to provide a hands-on approach. For a high-level theoretical approach to network defense, look elsewhere. This is a down-and-dirty tool for ensuring that the organization's systems and network are secure.
95 of 117 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Limited Jan. 5 2005
By Alan Mead - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Update (11/2008): My review below is based on the first (2004) edition. In a comment, the author calls the second, 2006 edition substantially different. So, I reviewed the 2006 edition table of contents, except, and index available on amazon. The excerpt and table of contents did not seem substantially different to me. The primary substantive change in the excerpt (Chapter 1) are the bits about the "rogue insider"; much of the writing is word-for-word identical to the 2004 edition. Maybe the other chapters are "substantially" reworked (the index suggests many changes) but the chapters' titles, order and lengths are not much different in the 2006 edition.

This book should be titled "penetration testing" with the subtitle "without any actual information on how to go about penetration testing, per se".

There are two schools of thought about disseminating detailed information on exploiting security vulnerabilities (that "it's a necessary evil" and "it's immoral"). So, the author is in good company to be in the later group.

Only, why then WRITE A BOOK entitled "Hacking"? The title seems close to fraudulent to me. Anyone hoping to find out how to crack from this book is going to be sorely disappointed. For example, while password cracking is passably well-covered, there isn't even a mention of how crackers get their hands on password files. The author spends only two paragraphs and a few bullets on rootkits--treating them like viruses or worms--despite the fact that they are critical cracker tools. There is a lot of discussion of portscanning without any discussion of how to penetrate the systems you've scanned.

So, you say, "Who cares about would-be criminals!?" Ok, but this book is not going to provide much real value to would-be white-hats either. You will find very little concrete advice on penetrating client systems from this book. However, the book does have quite a bit of advice and a number of tips about setting-up the gig (e.g., "Agree in writing"), general issues (e.g., "Don't test production systems during business hours."), and how to write the report (e.g., "prioritize vulnerabilities").

Actual admins will find very, very little of value. The "Plugging security holes" chapter is only five pages long! The tips sprinkled around are often poor or abstract (or common sense). The book provides little information on how attacks will occur. And it's quite marginal in describing the hacker psyche.

The book is full of links to software. But then so is Google and this book won't help much in choosing between most of them (i.e., my favorite tools were barely mentioned :).

I did (finally) identify a group who might benefit from this book: people who HIRE penetration testers--by educating you about how the process works. (Without giving away any of the trade secrets that might allow you to be self-sufficient!) It might also be a broad (shallow) introduction for the complete novice to security in abstract.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great easy-to-understand quick references July 9 2006
By Rebecca Herold - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a great, easy to read and use reference for both non-technical business leaders as well as IT professionals. It is also a great resource for home computer users, and small- to medium-sized businesses who often do not have the resources to hire dedicated security staff. The book covers the entire spectrum of ways in which computer systems can be compromised and attacked, an easy-to-understand description of how the exploits are executed, and, usually lacking in other reference books on this topic, step-by-step instructions for not only how to identify when the hacks occur, but also how to defend against them. Kevin Beaver also includes some very important warnings you need to keep in mind when performing your own vulnerability and hacking tests against your own network and systems to discover your own technical weaknesses.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book and Great Primer for Hacking Exposed Nov. 7 2004
By sixmonkeyjungle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There is certainly no shortage of books in this genre- Counter Hack, Hack Attacks Revealed and the best-selling Hacking Exposed (and all of its spin-offs) have covered this information in grueling detail. What sets this book apart is that it does not assume you are already a CISSP or network security guru. Being a "For Dummies" book means that it is written from the assumption that you don't know anything and the information is written in plain English and in terms that even a child could often understand.

One of things that makes "For Dummies" books like this one great is the use of humor and icons to help lighten the information while also pointing out the key points and highlighting the "need to know" information. Hacking For Dummies walks the reader through basic computer and network security and progresses through various topics of hacking such as hacking applications or hacking various operating systems.

Anyone interested in this topic, but especially those who are new to the world of computer and network security, should read this book. It is great on its own, but also provides an excellent foundation for someone interested in proceeding to more detailed works such as Hacking Exposed.

(...)
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