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Security+ Guide to Network Security Fundamentals Paperback – Nov 11 2008
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About the Author
Mark Ciampa is Assistant Professor of Computer Information Systems at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Previously, he served as Associate Professor and Director of Academic Computing for 20 years at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee. Dr. Ciampa has worked in the IT industry as a computer consultant for the U.S. Postal Service, the Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service, and the University of Tennessee. He is also the author of many Cengage/Course Technology books, including Security+ Guide to Network Security Fundamentals; CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, 3e; CWSP Guide to Wireless Security; Guide to Wireless Communications; and Networking BASICS. He holds a PhD in digital communication systems from Indiana State University.
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The practice exam software is good, but I have used this exam engine from Certblaster before and the question text size they use is too small, which is very irratiting especially since there is plenty of room to use a larger text size. Unlike other books that use the same Certblaster software (usually a Course Technology publication), this one does not use the other functions that the test software offers, like providing the explanations to the questions, so you can actually learn as you go. Someone got lazy. Also the end of chapter question drills, which ask up to 20 questions, provide neither the answer OR the explanation key so you can check yourself; you have to dig through the text. End of chapter quizzes are really good learning tools, but these ones make you work too hard, and waste your time by making you hunt down the correct answers in a chapter you just read. They could at least give the answers, even if they are too lazy to provide the explanations. So, as an exam prep book, this one really falls down on its face in that area. I hate to criticize this fine book, but for almost 100.00 these overpriced Course Technology books should be doing better than this.
It is a good book as far as the text and layout go, very readable and enjoyable. But unless you need it for a class (as is often the case with Course Technology books), save your money and get the Sybex book, or Sybex+something else like the ExamCram and STILL pay less than half what this book costs.
I give it 3 stars. I would have given 5 except for the inexcusable lack of answers/explanations to the end of chapter review questions, the lack of answers/explanations to the Certblaster practice exams, and the insane price.
However, the book suffers from a number of shortcomings.
First and foremost, it lacks footnotes, citations, or a bibliography. This is unprofessional on the face of it; this book is obviously not primary research, and often I wondered where the author was getting his information. Furthermore, since this book gives only cursory treatment to many important and complex subjects, suggestions for further reading would seem an obvious addition to the text. The book has an appendix with a list of security-related Websites, but most of those listed no longer exist.
Second, the book discusses Windows operating systems almost exclusively, and then, mostly Windows Vista. The subject at hand is network security, and in the world of network servers, Linux is dominant, with Windows servers a distant second place. Yet Linux is only mentioned in passing when mentioned at all, and coverage of Windows server operating systems is little better.
Third, each chapter ends with a self-quiz, which is trivially easy, and with exercises that consist simply in downloading and executing various tools for Windows. There is no real effort to reinforce the material of the chapter or deepen a reader's understanding; in fact, most of the self-quizzes and any of the exercises could be completed without reading the text at all.
Fourth, the binding of the book is quite bad. Shortly after purchasing it as a new book, the binding cracked.
All in all, this book is simply an extended vocabulary lesson, providing some limited background knowledge. You may gain a rough idea what an SQL injection attack is by reading this book; but you would get no hints how to prevent one.
The book itself serves as an excellent study for the Security+ certification.
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