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Malware: Fighting Malicious Code Paperback – Nov 7 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (Nov. 7 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131014056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131014053
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 17.2 x 23 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #227,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Format: Paperback
I reviewed Ed's "Counter Hack" in Nov 2001, giving it five stars as the perfect introduction for newcomers to the security field. 2 1/2 years later I'm happy to say "Malware" delivers the same quality, clarity, and insight that made "Counter Hack" a winner. My only regret is not having read and reviewed "Malware" sooner!
One of the impressive aspects of this book is the degree to which it is "future-proofed." Ed looks at current threats like worms, viruses, trojans, and user- and kernel-mode rootkits, like any author might. He then takes malicious software to the next level, from the kernel to BIOS and finally to CPU microcode. These BIOS- and microcode-level attacks are still largely theoretical (aside from BIOS-destroying code), at least as far as the public knows. When the world sees these threats emerge, "Malware" will be waiting to explain their capabilities.
Ed writes exceptionally well, bringing coverage of Linux and Windows kernel internals to the masses. I enjoyed learning about the trojaned Tcpdump distribution, anti-forensics, DLL injection, and API hooking. Lenny Zeltser's chapters on malware analysis were helpful as well, and I recommend attending his reverse engineering classes. The book also shines with respect to skillful use of tables and diagrams to explain key points.
The only technical inaccuracy I found was the proposition that UNIX filesystems maintain a c_time as "creation time" (p. 319 and elsewhere). c_time is "change of inode time," like changing permissions on a file. Windows' NTFS "c_time" is indeed "creation time," however. I also found myself skipping many of the author's analogies, like the king, knights, castle, etc.
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Format: Paperback
Working with a computer that doesn't want to behave on its own is frustrating enough. Between buggy code and the blue screen of death, many of us have wanted to throw our computers against the wall. Unfortunately, not only do we need to deal with these wonderful, little problems, but we also need to deal with programs that are intentionally trying to inflict problems on or through our computers.
These programs, collectively called "malware", include many different categories; however, we know them best as the "virus", "Trojan horse", "rootkits", "backdoors", and a lot of others. These malware tools (based on "mal", the Latin word for "bad" or "evil") are the bane not only of system administrators but also of the average home user who just doesn't know any better.
"Malware: Fighting Malicious Code" by Ed Skoudis is meant to educate the reader not only of the dangers of malware but also of ways to combat malware.
"To defeat your enemy, you first must know him." - Sun Tzu
This phrase is the core philosophy of this book. This 647-page fighter's manual is the computer-age version of Tzu's "The Art of War", except in this case the war is between you and the low-life morons who create the programs that facilitated the need for Skoudis to write this book.
I found this book to be far more fascinating than I thought it would be. After all, how exciting can a book about virii and Trojan horses really be? "Malware" is written with a surprising amount of detailed, historical facts, real-world examples, and light-hearted humor that help to keep your attention. The author also takes extra steps to differentiate between the various types of malware. After all, how many people do you know who continually (and incorrectly) use "virus", "Trojan horse", and "worm" interchangeably?
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By Jeff Pike on March 8 2004
Format: Paperback
I've read a few books on viruses, worms, and malware. This is the best by far. Prior to reading this text I considered myself pretty well versed in the subject area of all but a couple of chapters. I was pleasantly suprised to uncover a ton of new knowledge, tools, and tricks in each chapter. Now that I've finished reading this book, my only regret is that the experience is over.
The 12 chapters of this book include the following major topics: Viruses, Worms, Malicious Mobile Code, Backdoors, Trojan Horses, User Mode RootKits, Kernel-Mode RootKits, Going Deeper, Scenarios, and Malware Analysis. At first glance this all seems like pretty standard fare. However, Skoudis really digs into each subject. He includes in-depth analysis of many live and current malware specimines. I even learned a lot of not so well documented things about Unix and Windows from this book.
Ed is able to explain complex technical material in a way that's easy to digest and enjoyable to the reader. While it's written more for a techie, this book can also be read and appreciated by a novice.
The chapters on Malicious Mobile Code and RootKits were particularly enlighning. The chapter entitled "Going Deeper" explores possibilities for malware at the BIOS and CPU microcode levels in addition to combo-malware. The chapter on "Malware Analysis" is a nice intorduction to revers engineering and analyzing malware.
I attended a SANS track instructed by the the author recently. I told him how much I enjoyed reading "Counter Hack" a couple of years back. He said that "Counter Hack" was like an InfoSec 101/102 course and "Malware" is like InfoSec 103/104. I agree that this is a great follow "Counter Hack".
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