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Security Monitoring [Paperback]

Chris Fry , Martin Nystrom

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Book Description

Feb. 26 2009 0596518161 978-0596518165 1

How well does your enterprise stand up against today's sophisticated security threats? In this book, security experts from Cisco Systems demonstrate how to detect damaging security incidents on your global network--first by teaching you which assets you need to monitor closely, and then by helping you develop targeted strategies and pragmatic techniques to protect them.

Security Monitoring is based on the authors' years of experience conducting incident response to keep Cisco's global network secure. It offers six steps to improve network monitoring. These steps will help you:

  • Develop Policies: define rules, regulations, and monitoring criteria
  • Know Your Network: build knowledge of your infrastructure with network telemetry
  • Select Your Targets: define the subset of infrastructure to be monitored
  • Choose Event Sources: identify event types needed to discover policy violations
  • Feed and Tune: collect data, generate alerts, and tune systems using contextual information
  • Maintain Dependable Event Sources: prevent critical gaps in collecting and monitoring events

Security Monitoring illustrates these steps with detailed examples that will help you learn to select and deploy the best techniques for monitoring your own enterprise network.


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Product Description

Book Description

Proven Methods for Incident Detection on Enterprise Networks

About the Author

Chris Fry has been a member of the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) at Cisco Systems, Inc for 5 years, focusing on deployment of intrusion detection, network monitoring tools, and incident investigation. He began his career at Cisco in 1997 as an IT analyst, supporting Cisco's production services. His four years as a Network Engineer in Cisco IT's internal network support organization give him valuable knowledge about and unique insight into monitoring production enterprise networks. Chris holds a BA in Corporate Financial Analysis and an MS in Information and Communication Sciences from Ball State University.

Martin Nystrom is an InfoSec Investigations Manager for the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) at Cisco Systems. He leads the global security monitoring team and provides guidance for incident response and security initiatives. Prior to joining Cisco's CSIRT, he was responsible for designing and consulting on secure architectures for IT projects. Martin worked as an IT architect and a Java programmer for 12 years prior, where he built his experience in the pharmaceutical and computer industries. He received a bachelor's degree from Iowa State University in 1990, a master's degree from NC State University in 2003, and his CISSP certification in 2004.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful for the more advanced reader March 1 2009
By calvinnme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is not an introduction to network, server, or database administration. Neither is it an introduction to security tools or techniques. You need to have a foundational understanding of these areas and seek to build on them through specialization of your base skills. If you need a more introductory book I highly recommend The Tao of Network Security Monitoring: Beyond Intrusion Detection. This book attempts to take you deeper into your network, guiding you to identify the more sensitive, important parts of the network for focused monitoring. The first chapter is just an overview chapter and introduces the fictitious company used throughout the book, Blanco Wireless. Like most tech books, the good stuff starts in chapter two.

The second chapter discusses the wide variety of approaches for selecting the policies to monitor. It then discusses the the environment in which these policies are to be applied. Chapter three explores two primary methods of learning about a network: network taxonomy and network telemetry. Chapter four provides a third and final foundation, guiding you to select broad targets on which to focus your monitoring. Deep, proactive security monitoring is overwhelming and unproductive if it isn't targeted to specific systems. By selecting monitoring targets, you can narrow your focus to the most critical systems, making the most of your security monitoring equipment and staff.

Once you've worked through the steps of defining security policies, you know your network, and you've selected your targets, you can build on that foundation by choosing your event sources. Chapter 5 provides an overview of the various device types and their event sources, how you can collect them, and how you can inspect them for security policy violations. The various choices available are collected into a subset of the best event sources to help you choose the appropriate sources quickly, without becoming overwhelmed in the sea of possibilities. Chapter 6 provides guidance on how you can carefully configure systems that fit your infrastructure, and then tune them so you can detect the real security events.Chapter 7 aims to professionalize your monitoring, preventing gaps that could allow an intrusion to succeed without notice. With these finishing touches in place, you should be able to monitor your systems with confidence.

Chapter 8 is a concluding chapter. It gives examples where monitoring ideals haven't always aligned with practical experience, including the consequences of those deviations from standard rules. It gives the results of two case studies, including how the organizations deployed targeted monitoring. It concludes by stripping down the advice of the book to bare-minimum tasks for each step, leaving you with a checklist to start your own targeted monitoring.

Appendix A gives detailed information on setting up and running a NetFlow collector based on OSU flow-tools, followed by some simple commands to enable NetFlow generation from a Cisco IOS router. OSU flow-tools is a set of open source NetFlow collection utilities.

This book is a good combination of tools, calculations, and advice on organizing your thoughts and strategy for the more advanced user who is familiar with networks and network security. I highly recommend it for that type of reader.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Practical Advice March 18 2009
By Parentsof4 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There is a lot of very practical information packed into this little book, no fluff or filler anywhere to be found. It will defiantly add value to any Network Security Monitoring implementation. This is a perfect book for a Network or System Engineer crossing over into Security. The only complaint is that it is way to pricey for such a small book printed on what feels like cheap newsprint.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real world view... April 19 2009
By RobR - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a quick read "how-to" book to take your company to the next level. This is a real reality check written with an assumption that the reader is already familiar with networks and security. This book attempts to drive the value home with case studies, maintenance recommendations (yes, you do have to maintain the beast) and scripts to get started, and collected best practices. This is one of the books that get dog-eared and notes in the margin quickly.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Network monitoring guide? Absolutely Aug. 4 2009
By Christopher Burgess - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Martin and Chris do a great job in providing the network security professional with a hands-on guide to incident detection on enterprise networks.

The authors state at the outset - this is not a guide for the novice, but rather a guide for the journeyman who has a good working knowledge of network, server and database administration, as well as security tools and techniques.

The guide is as stated a professional guide, with exemplars which can be used in a sandbox, or to assist you in noodling through specific infrastructure monitoring issues - such as "tuning" so the incident logs tell you the story, and don't drown you in event data.

Their chosen format draws upon the authors' experiences and of course discusses the tools they use on a daily basis. To their credit, they also point out and list other tools which are substantially similar to those they use in their everyday work, and this alone is a benefit to the reader - you've the makings of your list of potential vendors, ready at hand.

I have the privilege of seeing the result of these gentleman's work and impact. That said, I also hear their voices clearly and distinctly in their verbiage - their articulation and emphasis is spot-on.

Worthy of the read, essential for the impact provided - a book of reference and exemplars which should be required in every incident response tool-box.

Christopher Burgess
Author: Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book! May 1 2009
By M. Helmke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There are many good books that discuss the basics of systems administration. This is not one of those books. This book is much deeper and more specific and fills a niche that I think needed to be filled.

If you are in charge of a group of servers, especially as your company's setup becomes larger and more complex, knowing how to check for problems and intruders is vital. It is also something that can be difficult to learn because of the dearth of materials readily available. This book seeks to remedy that problem.

The authors are experienced security analysts and speakers who refined their materials over many years of giving security related presentations at conferences. They know what they are talking about, and their manner of presenting the material is clear and logical. The book's subtitle is "Proven Methods for Incident Detection on Enterprise Networks." It fits.

When I first noticed the deep ties each of the authors have with Cisco, I was concerned that the book might focus solely on their products, but they discuss software and methods from many vendors, including free and open source options. I found their discussions honest, open, and balanced.

The book begins by answering what security monitoring is, why it would be useful and desirable, and discusses several of the challenges involved in doing it well. We then move to the implementation of policies for monitoring, including a good description of the many types of monitoring that can be done, their strengths and weaknesses.

Next, we are led to know our network. This is foundational, but something that many systems administrators and IT workers don't do, either because of time constraints or they just don't think about it. However, taking the time up front to explore and really know what is in your network and how it is set up gives you a great advantage later when you receive security notices from your monitoring software--it helps you sort important things out from noise far more quickly and easily. The time savings later make this step well worth the time it takes to perform it.

Later, the book helps us select targets for monitoring, choose good sources for event collection and keep them dependable, feed and tune our netword intrusion detection systems and logging, and far more.

Each chapter and topic are demonstrated through an example that persists throughout the book, a fictional company called Blanco Wireless. As the chapters progress, we analyze and create security monitoring for the company. That was a useful thing to include.

One of my favorite features of the book is the final chapter which gives multiple real life examples through case studies and anecdotes to help illustrate moments when implementing the advice in the book would have been incredibly helpful, but when it was not done prior to an incident. The authors are very honest and humble here and own up to their humanity. Like the rest of us, they don't always do what they know should be done. Some of these are their stories of learning the hard way that you don't save time by skipping steps.

I think this book belongs on the shelf of anyone who has any responsibility for the security of systems, whether that responsibility is ultimate or partial. There is a lot in here, and anyone working in the field is sure to benefit in some way from the information.
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