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Linux Security Cookbook Paperback – Jun 12 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (June 12 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596003919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596003913
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 581 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #203,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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.


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Customer Reviews

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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.
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Format: Paperback
As the title suggests, LSC is a series of different Linux security "recipes." I found the cookbook-style of presentation both good and bad. Some recipes were a breeze to follow (such as the gpg recipes). Other recipes were difficult, but not impossible to follow.
As a "desktop" Linux user who only administers a desktop machine and notebook the chapters I found most useful were those on intrusion detection systems (Chapter 1) and GPG (Chapters 7 & 8). That said, LSC contains dozens of useful recipes for administrators from PAM authentication to monitoring who is doing what on your system. Some of the programs covered are programs I've never heard of before, John the Ripper for example. Other recipes cover those programs I know I should check out, like Snort, but have never taken the time to.
LSC is for the most part very easy to follow. The authors have been very careful to mention when software (snort for example) might or might not be included and how to find and install it. I got tripped up a little in the first chapter (which covers tripwire), because I tried downloading and compiling the tripwire source found at the tripwire web site. I obtained the source from a couple of recommended sites. In one instance tripwire failed to compile correctly, in another it compiled but kept segfaulting when I tried to initialize the database. It wasn't until after I emailed O'Reilly that I saw mention further in Chapter 1 that tripwire is included with Red Hat Linux. One of the authors, Daniel J. Barrett, also emailed me to tell me that it was on the third CD - doh! The upside of this little tale is that I got to know aide (another intrusion detection system) a little better after I installed it on my Debian-based notebook.
... it is certainly money well spent.
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Format: Paperback
Given the increasing frequency of attacks against computers, by virus writers, spammers and others, any sysadmin needs to pay careful attention to securing your system. All the more so if the computer acts as a server, rather than just a desktop leaf on a network. On the server side, you often have unix or linux systems.
This recent book by OReilly is hence timely. Concise, with a good contents and index. The authors write clearly, in what may be considered a "standard" cookbook style. Each problem is summarised, and a brief but entirely adequate how-to answer is then given. It is part of this style that they do not go into the theory of public/private key encryption, for example. But they readily provide references to fuller discussions on many topics.
Checking the index for comprehensiveness revealed one curious omission. There is no entry for "virus". While it seems like a glaring oversight, I think the authors are correct in doing so. Antivirus software exists, and you would merely have to run it against a set of files. And this software is not usually part of an operating system. Also, most viruses are written for Microsoft desktops. Thus far, linux viruses are actually pretty rare.
The title says "Linux". Actually, if you are running any major unix (Solaris, HPUX...), don't take that title too literally. The problems you face will often be the same as those described here. The solutions will often likewise be the same. Most unixes now have many utilities in common with each other and linux. You may be able to map an answer given here to a similar approach on your machine.
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