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Linux Security Cookbook [Paperback]

Daniel J. Barrett , Richard E. Silverman , Robert G. Byrnes
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 12 2003 0596003919 978-0596003913 1

Computer security is an ongoing process, a relentless contest between system administrators and intruders. A good administrator needs to stay one step ahead of any adversaries, which often involves a continuing process of education. If you're grounded in the basics of security, however, you won't necessarily want a complete treatise on the subject each time you pick up a book. Sometimes you want to get straight to the point. That's exactly what the new Linux Security Cookbook does. Rather than provide a total security solution for Linux computers, the authors present a series of easy-to-follow recipes--short, focused pieces of code that administrators can use to improve security and perform common tasks securely.

The Linux Security Cookbook includes real solutions to a wide range of targeted problems, such as sending encrypted email within Emacs, restricting access to network services at particular times of day, firewalling a webserver, preventing IP spoofing, setting up key-based SSH authentication, and much more. With over 150 ready-to-use scripts and configuration files, this unique book helps administrators secure their systems without having to look up specific syntax. The book begins with recipes devised to establish a secure system, then moves on to secure day-to-day practices, and concludes with techniques to help your system stay secure.

Some of the "recipes" you'll find in this book are:

  • Controlling access to your system from firewalls down to individual services, using iptables, ipchains, xinetd, inetd, and more
  • Monitoring your network with tcpdump, dsniff, netstat, and other tools
  • Protecting network connections with Secure Shell (SSH) and stunnel
  • Safeguarding email sessions with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
  • Encrypting files and email messages with GnuPG
  • Probing your own security with password crackers, nmap, and handy scripts
This cookbook's proven techniques are derived from hard-won experience. Whether you're responsible for security on a home Linux system or for a large corporation, or somewhere in between, you'll find valuable, to-the-point, practical recipes for dealing with everyday security issues. This book is a system saver.

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Review

"I really enjoyed this book. I think my machine is more secure than before I read this book. The advice is good and pitched at, for me, the right level. References were up-to-date ad far as I could see. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone wanting to secure, or test the esisting security, of a Linux system." - Mick Farmer, Linux Security Cookbook - news@UK, September 2003

About the Author

Dan Barrett has been immersed in Internet technology since 1985. Currently working as a software engineer, Dan has also been a heavy metal singer, Unix system administrator, university lecturer, web designer, and humorist. He has written several O'Reilly books, as well as monthly columns for Compute! and Keyboard Magazine. Dan and his family reside in Boston.

Richard E. Silverman has a B.A. in computer science and an M.A. in pure mathematics. Richard has worked in the fields of networking, formal methods in software development, public-key infrastructure, routing security, and Unix systems administration. He is the co-author of SSH, The Secure Shell: The Definitive Guide.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pensacola LUG review book April 14 2004
Format:Paperback
The Linux Security Cookbook is a good hands-on guide to the major aspects of securing your Linux box. This book offers many quick reference guides to pieces of software for securing or testing your system and goes through many different means of fortifying your box including:
-controlling system access with firewalls
-monitoring your network
-using SSH and SSL
-intrusion detection systems
-authentication and cryptographic keys
-encrypting files and email messages
-system security probing
The recipes in this book allows administrators to learn quick and easy ways to secure their systems including over 150 ready-to-use scripts and configuration files without having to look up or research specific syntax.
This book is definitely a quick hands-on guide to securing and monitoring your system and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good source of guides and ready-to-use scripts and configurations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource on Linux security Dec 8 2003
Format:Paperback
At fewer than 300 pages, the initial size of the Linux Security Cookbook may seem to be meager to cover such a broad subject. But what the book lacks in size, it makes up in content.
While many security books may waste the reader's time by spending hundreds of pages on introductory subjects; chapter 1 of the Linux Security Cookbook goes straight into using and configuring Tripwire.
The book then goes into fundamental topics such as firewalling with iptables/ipchains, authentication, access control, file control, email security and more.
If you are interested in Linux security, this is a well-written and well-organized book, filled with valuable and timely information.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for quick reference... Aug. 28 2003
Format:Paperback
I read this book from cover to cover and consider it a great effort by the authors to cover many security issues related to not just Linux, but most *nix operating systems. Here's a chapter by chapter review of what I've observed in the book:
Chapter 1 - System Snapshots with Tripwire
I liked the discussion of Tripwire and its configuration options. The sections on "Ultra-Paranoid Integrity Checking" were great! A decent introduction to Tripwire and some of its features.
Chapter 2 - Firewalls with iptables and ipchains
The difference between "Drop versus Reject" targets was good. So many books have info on iptables, but none discusses these issues. Also the point made about dropping ICMP messages was good. Quick to learn and implement recipes presented in this chapter.
Chapter 3 - Restricting Access by Remote Users
Recipe 3.7 was very neat. Allowing users to access a service only by port-forwarding over ssh allows the administrator to restrict access by user names. A smart way of imposing restrictions!
Also, in recipe 3.9, I liked the authors' approach to finding if xinetd is compiled with libwrap support.
All recipes regarding tweaking xinetd were good. It isn't always possible to look at all the configurable options with xinetd, and the authors did a good job in mentioning a few useful options.
Chapter 4 - Authentication Techniques and Infrastructures
Quick tips with PAM, openssl and kerberos. I couldnt get some of the recipes to work on my machine, but got most openssl stuff to work.
Chapter 5 - Authorization Controls
I liked this chapter the best. The discussion on sudo was enlightening, and I was able to effectively tweak most recipes to my needs.
Read more ›
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to par July 28 2003
Format:Paperback
I've been reading "Linux Security Cookbook". I fully understand the goal of this book is to provide lots of little bits of wisdom, not a full fledged security book. I think that's pretty cool. However I'm finding that a lot of the recipies, if you will, are either not well explained, the equivalent of reading a real cookbook witohut knowing what it means ot 'fold the blueberries into the batter'. They could easily have spent more time explaining things so we didn't need to go read/re-reading the man pages just to understand the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it July 27 2003
Format:Paperback
A very cool collection of recipes for common, daily, security of Linux
systems. Some of the other reviewers missed the point...this book
doesn't try to be the ultimate self-contained security book, it's a
collection of one-off recipes...it even says so on page 1. Look at
O'Reilly's other cookbooks (the awesome Perl Cookbook, Javascript
Cookbook, etc)--they aren't meant to be comprehensive or teach you
everything about the subject, they assume you know the basics already
and show you specific solutions to specific problems. This cookbook
does the same thing with Linux security, and I think it succeeds...it
sure helped me with my firewall and with gpg encryption. This
shouldn't be the only security book you own but it's great for what it
is.
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