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Network Security First-Step Paperback – May 21 2004
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From the Back Cover
Your first step into the world of network security
- No security experience required
- Includes clear and easily understood explanations
- Makes learning easy
Your first step to network security begins here!
- Learn about hackers and their attacks
- Understand security tools and technologies
- Defend your network with firewalls, routers, and other devices
- Explore security for wireless networks
- Learn how to prepare for security incidents
Welcome to the world of network security!
Computer networks are indispensable-but they're also not secure. With the proliferation of Internet viruses and worms, many people and companies are considering increasing their network security. But first, you need to make sense of this complex world of hackers, viruses, and the tools to combat them.
No security experience needed!
Network Security First-Step explains the basics of network security in easy-to-grasp language that all of us can understand. This book takes you on a guided tour of the core technologies that make up and control network security. Whether you are looking to take your first step into a career in network security or are interested in simply gaining knowledge of the technology, this book is for you!
About the Author
Tom Thomas claims he never works because he loves what he does. Along with his various roles in the networking industry, he is the author or coauthor of 17 books. Through his writing and his work as an instructor and a training-course developer, Tom has taught thousands of people how networking works.
Top Customer Reviews
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(Your first step into the world of network security)
Reviewer Name: Steve Owen Scheiderer, Network Administrator
Reviewer Certification: MCSE NT 4.0, CCNA
If you've ever been victimized by a hacker you're left standing there asking "How'd they do this?" and "What could we have done to prevent it?" One of the most valuable insights of Network Security First-Step by Tom Thomas is that you don't have to be a rocket scientist to begin fighting hacker attacks. Thomas introduces the reader to the techniques - often strikingly simplistic or scripted via readily available tools - of the hacker with a "It takes one to fight one!" tactic.
Although there is plethora of technical information, there is plenty of non-technical information to consider. There is something for network administrators, security experts, CEOs and average Jane and Joe user at the office (or at home). Even the most non-technical user learns the importance of and the role they play in protecting the network with a "loose lips sink ships" approach. CEOs and policy-makers learn to lead by example as they submit to best practices and written policies. This may be one of the greatest feature of the book for the more technically savvy network professional who absolutely needs to enlist the cooperation of both CEO and the average user if the network security war is to be won.
Thomas builds on years of experience to show how hackers not only are interested in "targets of choice" but also "targets of opportunity". The goal is to protect the network on various levels to guard against either type of attack from the extremely sophisticated to those inflicted on sitting ducks ("targets of opportunity"). An entire chapter (Two) is dedicated to written security polices and each chapter is full of tools to use in this quest.
Thomas' expertise simultaneously shines (especially in the "Secure IOS Template" pp. 216-228) and presents a challenge to the novice in the area of network security. At times terminology is presented prior to its definition (like "social engineering" on page 4 and definition on page 5; "choke point" on page 192 and definition on page 193). Patience will be a virtue for the reader when coming upon new terminology throughout the book. So many tools are presented that at times the reader can be left wondering "what does this tool do?" The "Acceptable Use Policy" of Granite Systems is offered "if you want to reuse this policy" (p. 54) but the reader was never told where the text (template) could be downloaded. Finally, at times chapter outlines, figures and flow of the text were hard to follow. Nevertheless, Thomas' expertise and insight make these minor challenges worth enduring and certainly this is a complex topic which a book such as this can only begin to explore.
I would definitely read other titles by this author and his team of technical editors. I give Network Security First-Step a 4.5 rating on a scale of 1 to 5. An on-line errata page would greatly assist the reader in filling in some of gaps, typos, etc. missed by the author and editors.
I would have given this book four stars if it weren't for the errors. The intent and content are very good for beginners. Also, good writing style and easy read. However, there are so many critical errors, it drops the value of the book tremendously. As placed in an example by another reviewer, simply leaving out a word like 'not' can have a huge difference in meaning w/in a given context. This book does it over and over again.
Luckily, I have experience and know what is an error, but this is a beginner's guide so it is unacceptable to have so many of these types of errors. Since I don't know everything, there were a few occasions where I had to research what was stated to find correct information (knowing it was wrong, but not knowing the exact answer).
Unfortunately, if you are new to the subject matter this book covers, you will have problems as the book is simply inaccurate in so many vital areas. I would recommend you steer clear of this text.
If you know the material, it is a decent refresher that is a quick read.
The book itself is 400 pages and consists of 10 chapters which cover a wide variety of topics. Chapter 1 is an introduction into the mind and tools of hackerdom. Chapter 2 covers basic security policies and practices. Chapter 3 is a basic overview of security technologies and their uses and benefits. Chapters 4 through 9 go more in-depth into the various security technologies introduced earlier (protocols, firewalls, router security, VPNs, wireless, and intrusion detection) and how they are used. Chapter 10 discusses tools for hacking and security auditing. I can't say enough about how valuable I found the information provided in this book. The author sprinkles the book with URLs which not only reinforce the topic he's covering, but also allow the reader to continue researching on their own. I now have a folder full of web bookmarks which I'm only beginning to delve into. This book doesn't just spoon feeding information to the reader, but also sets them up for a much deeper understanding on networking, depending upon their desire to go deeper. Another feature I like about the book is how the author laid out the advantages and limitations of each network security technology. He also doesn't try to sell any one technology as the Panacea for network security. Rather, he advocates a much more practical layered approach to network security.
In conclusion, I recommend this book for anyone wanting to get started in network security. It stands as a springboard into a whole new area of study for my career. I've already come up with a few projects that must be implemented in our network just from reading this introductory book. In the coming months, I plan to read as many security and hacking titles as I can and use that information to better secure our network. I can tell it's going to be a busy year.
On my 5 ping rating scale, I give this book an emphatic 5.
This book spends a lot of time telling the reader that network security is important and worth doing. Fine. Except that it does this over and over. Hey, I bought the book, so I'm already halfway convinced of that and by the 100th repetition of the importance and necessity of security, I'm thinking "there's some space taken up by blahblahblah that should have held some content". Mostly, the chapters read like non-alphabetized lists of definitions and bullet points with little flow or tie-in to an overall conceptual model or context. The examples and how-to's of implementing security are explained using commented snippets of code(!). The comments explain what the code does, but I'm being made to read page after page of code when what I really need is a well-thought, consistent, higher-level explanation.
I was hoping to get a good high-level model of all the main security pieces (policy, firewalls, encryption, DMZs..), how they fit together, and some overall models of security set-ups appropriate for home networks, small businesses, enterprises, and super-secure systems. I was also hoping to understand what trade-offs were being made in going from one level to another. I think that information can be had from this book, but only by re-organizing the pieces myself and sifting through a lot of repetitive, vague, and irrelevant filler. And the frequency of typos doesn't help in comprehension either. Disappointing. I'm going to need to carefully preview other books in this series before purchase given the disparity in quality between this book and the Computer Networking volume.
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