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Network Security Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools [Paperback]

Andrew Lockhart
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Paperback, May 6 2004 --  
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Book Description

May 6 2004 0596006438 978-0596006433 1

To the uninitiated, the title may seem like an oxymoron: after all, aren't hacks what network security is supposed to prevent? But if you're network administrator, this book's title not only makes sense; it makes a lot of sense. You know that a busy administrator needs a hatful of devilishly effective security hacks to keep your 12-hour days from becoming all-nighters.Network Security Hacks is not a long-winded treatise on security theory. Instead, this information packed little book provides 100 quick, practical, and clever things to do to help make your Linux, UNIX, or Windows networks more secure today.This compendium of security hacks doesn't just cover securing TCP/IP-based services, but also provides intelligent host-based security techniques. Loaded with concise but powerful examples of applied encryption, intrusion detection, logging, trending, and incident response, Network Security Hacks will demonstrate effective methods for defending your servers and networks from a variety of devious and subtle attacks.Network Security Hacks show how to detect the presence (and track every keystroke) of network intruders, methods for protecting your network and data using strong encryption, and even techniques for laying traps for would-be system crackers. Important security tools are presented, as well as clever methods for using them to reveal real, timely, useful information about what is happening on your network.O'Reilly's Hacks Series reclaims the term "hacking" for the good guys--innovators who use their ingenuity to solve interesting problems, explore and experiment, unearth shortcuts, and create useful tools. Network Security Hacks lives up to reputation the Hacks series has earned by providing the "roll-up-your sleeves and get-it-done" hacks that most network security tomes don't offer. Every hack can be read in just a few minutes but will save hours of searching for the right answer.Using just one of these amazing hacks will make this slim book's price seem like a remarkable deal. The other 99 make Network Security Hacks absolutely invaluable.


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Book Description

Tips & Tools for Protecting Your Privacy --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Andrew Lockhart is originally from South Carolina, but currently resides in northern Colorado where he spends his time trying to learn the black art of auditing disassembled binaries and trying to keep from freezing to death. He holds a BS in computer science from Colorado State University and has done security consulting for small businesses in the area. He currently works at a Fortune 100 company when not writing. In his free time he works on Snort-Wireless, a project intended to add wireless intrusion detection popular OpenSource IDS Snort.


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Format:Paperback
"Network Security Hacks" (NSH) has something for nearly everyone, although it focuses squarely on Linux, BSD, and Windows, in that order of preference. Administrators for commercial UNIX variants (Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, etc.) should be able to apply much of the book's advice to their environments, but they are not the target audience. NSH is written for admins needing quick-start guides for common security tools, and in this respect it delivers.
I found NSH to be most rewarding when it avoided discussing the same topics everyone else has covered. Lesser known tools like authpf, ftester, sniffdet, SFS, rpcapd, and Sguil caught my interest (especially as I write Sguil installation docs). Even some ways to use familiar tools were helpful, like the -f (fork) and -N (no command) switches for SSH forwarding. In some cases it made sense to mention well-worn topics like BIND or MySQL, with an eye towards quickly augmenting the security of those servers.
Elsewhere I questioned the need to cover certain tools. With the number of Snort titles approaching double digits, and O'Reilly's own Snort books in the wings, was it really necessary to devote several hacks to Snort? In the same respect, I felt mention of Nmap, Nessus, swatch, and ACID was not needed, nor was advice on implementing certain Windows security features.
In some cases the descriptions were too brief to really explain the technologies at hand. For example, the "Secure Tunnels" chapter discusses a very specific IPSec scenario (wireless client to gateway) without informing the reader of the other sorts of tunnels that are possible. I also questioned some of the content, like p. 47's statement that Windows lacks "robust built-in scripting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good simple reference June 9 2004
Format:Paperback
When I first got this little book, I was unimpressed by its idea: a seemingly random collection of network security tips, combined under the same cover. However, when I started reading, more and more often I exclaimed "ah, that is how it is done", etc. The book is one cool collection of tips, ranging from mundane ('how to configure iptables on Linux') to fairly esoteric ('how to use MySQL as an authenticating backend for an FTP server'). Always wanted to use 'grsecurity' or 'systrace', but thought it is too complicated - grab the book and give it a shot. Want to set up a fancy encrypted tunnel between two networks - it covers that too. Admittedly, a lot of advice given in the book can be found on Google, but it is nice to find it in one place. The book covers selected topics in host security, SSH and VPNs, IDS, monitoring and even touches upon forensics. I also liked its multi-platform coverage, with a slight, but unmistakable UNIX/Linux bias.
Overall, it is a great simple book, provided you don't try to find in it something it isn't: a neat collection of simple network security tips. I somewhat disliked that many tips don't go beyond 'how to install a tool' and stop short of discussing 'how to use it best'.
Anton Chuvakin, Ph.D., GCIA, GCIH is a Senior Security Analyst with a major security information management company. He is the author of the book "Security Warrior" (O'Reilly, 2004) and contributor to "Know Your Enemy II" by the Honeynet Project (AWL, 2004)). His areas of infosec expertise include intrusion detection, UNIX security, forensics, honeypots, etc. In his spare time, he maintains his security portal info-secure.org
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another great collection of "hacks" June 4 2004
Format:Paperback
As with the other "Hacks" books, there are 100 hacks listed, and these are focused on network security. As another reviewer points out these hacks seem to be heavily slanted toward Unix. Whether this is due to the Windows OS "keeping the administrator out of the loop about the inner workings of her environment," as the book points out or the numerous "helpful features" of Windows that aren't that helpful to Windows admins is unclear. There does appear to be some limits to how secure you can make a Windows network, as opposed to Unix which seems to have many more options. And while we constantly hear about new Windows viruses, we rarely hear about Unix viruses. But I digress.
There definitely are some good ones here, like the "honeypot hack," protecting logs from tampering (thereby making it more difficult for a network intruder to cover their tracks), preventing stack-smashing attacks (thereby preventing an attacker from overwriting the information on a stack), detecting spoofing, testing your firewall, monitoring your logs for any sign of tampering, even defending yourself against web application intrusions. In short, these hacks are the ones deemed most likely by the book's author to be useful in defending your network against any kind of hostile attack or intrusion.
And while you may agree or disagree with the list presented in this book, this book is a valuable tool and reference for any network admin to have on hand.
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