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Snort Intrusion Detection and Prevention Toolkit [Paperback]

Brian Caswell , Jay Beale , Andrew Baker

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Book Description

March 27 2007 1597490997 978-1597490993 1
This all new book covering the brand new Snort version 2.6 from members of the Snort developers team.

This fully integrated book and Web toolkit covers everything from packet inspection to optimizing Snort for speed to using the most advanced features of Snort to defend even the largest and most congested enterprise networks. Leading Snort experts Brian Caswell, Andrew Baker, and Jay Beale analyze traffic from real attacks to demonstrate the best practices for implementing the most powerful Snort features.

The companion material contains examples from real attacks allowing readers test their new skills. The book will begin with a discussion of packet inspection and the progression from intrusion detection to intrusion prevention. The authors provide examples of packet inspection methods including: protocol standards compliance, protocol anomaly detection, application control, and signature matching. In addition, application-level vulnerabilities including Binary Code in HTTP headers, HTTP/HTTPS Tunneling, URL Directory Traversal, Cross-Site Scripting, and SQL Injection will also be analyzed. Next, a brief chapter on installing and configuring Snort will highlight various methods for fine tuning your installation to optimize Snort performance including hardware/OS selection, finding and eliminating bottlenecks, and benchmarking and testing your deployment. A special chapter also details how to use Barnyard to improve the overall performance of Snort. Next, best practices will be presented allowing readers to enhance the performance of Snort for even the largest and most complex networks. The next chapter reveals the inner workings of Snort by analyzing the source code. The next several chapters will detail how to write, modify, and fine-tune basic to advanced rules and pre-processors. Detailed analysis of real packet captures will be provided both in the book and the companion material. Several examples for optimizing output plugins will then be discussed including a comparison of MySQL and PostrgreSQL. Best practices for monitoring Snort sensors and analyzing intrusion data follow with examples of real world attacks using: ACID, BASE, SGUIL, SnortSnarf, Snort_stat.pl, Swatch, and more.

The last part of the book contains several chapters on active response, intrusion prevention, and using Snort's most advanced capabilities for everything from forensics and incident handling to building and analyzing honey pots. Data from real world attacks will be presented throughout this part as well as on the companion website, http://booksite.elsevier.com/9781597490993/
  • This fully integrated book and Web toolkit covers everything all in one convenient package
  • It is authored by members of the Snort team and it is packed full of their experience and expertise
  • Includes full coverage of the brand new Snort version 2.6, packed full of all the latest information
  • Companion website at http://booksite.elsevier.com/9781597490993/ contains all companion material

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too bad this is the only semi-modern Snort book Sept. 22 2007
By Richard Bejtlich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Syngress published "Snort 2.0" in Mar 03, and I gave it a four star review in Jul 03. Syngress followed with "Snort 2.1" in May 04, and I gave it a four star review in Jul 04. I recommend reading those reviews, since the latest edition -- "Snort IDS and IPS Toolkit" (SIAIT) -- makes many of the same mistakes as its predecessors. Worse, it includes material that was already outdated in BOTH previous editions. If you absolutely must buy a book on Snort, this edition is your only real choice. Otherwise, I would stick with the manual and online articles.

SIAIT looks impressive page-wise, but it suffers from the multiple-author, no-editing, rush-to-production problems unfortunately inherent in many Syngress titles. One would think that including many contributing authors (11, apparently) would make for a strong book. In reality, the book contributes very little beyond what appears in "Snort 2.1," despite the fact that "only" chapters 8, 10, 11, and 13 appear to be repeats or largely rehashes of older material. Comparing to "Snort 2.1," these compare to old chapters 7, 10, 12, and 11, respectively.

The absolute worst part of this book is the re-introduction of all the outdated information in chapters 8 and 10. It is 2007 and we are STILL reading on p 353 that XML output is "our favorite and relatively new logging format" and on p 367 that "Unified logs are the future of Snort reporting." (I cited both of these as being old news in Jul 04!) I should note that these chapters are not entirely duplicates; if you compare output such as that on page 335 of "Snort 2.1" with page 365 in SIAIT you'll see the author replaced the original 2003 timestamps with 2006! This is the height of lazy publishing. Chapter 10 features similar tricks, where traffic is the same except for global replacements of IP addresses and timestamps; notice the ACK numbers are still the same and the test uses Snort 1.8.

There's plenty more in this book to make you cringe. Mentions of Netbus, SubSeven, BO2k, ExploreZip, QAZ, and the like in ch 1 will make you think it's 1999 all over again. In ch 2 you can be mislead into thinking that "there will be rule upgrades released with each major version of Snort for those who do not care to register." In reality the last rule set for unregistered users arrived with Snort 2.4 in Jul 05. Ch 3 wastes time rambling about SMP, threads, operating systems, and other topics I can better learn in a non-Snort book. I also liked reading how to install Snort 2.4.3 on OpenBSD in a book about Snort 2.6.x. Ch 3 also featured such pearls of wisdom as recommendations to not run Metasploit but instead use worthless stateless tools like Snot and Sneeze (p 123).

A few more choice words could be said about these disasters. Check out the "three way handshake" diagram on p 238 that shows FIN ACK / FIN ACK / FIN, and the "graceful close" diagram on p 239 that shows FIN / FIN ACK / ACK / ACK. These sorts of train wrecks are evidence that someone is asleep at the publishing house. Returning to the old material theme for ch 9, be prepared for screenshots or output from BASE 1.0.2 from Jul 04, Sguil 0.3.1 from Apr 04, and SnortSnarf from Jan 03. Finally, ch 12: why bother?

I have a few positive comments. The best chapter in SIAIT is ch 5 (Inner Workings). I liked seeing Afterglow, Tenshi, and SEC in ch 9. I enjoyed hearing something about performance profiling in ch 6. I thought the rules chapter was ok, but (to repeat a plea from my earlier reviews) would someone please consider writing a real rule writing reference that exceeds the introductory material found in this book and elsewhere? We also need coverage of shared object rules and other advanced Snort features.

It should be clear by now that the Syngress Snort book procession needs to end. Another publisher should consider writing a real Snort book for version 3.0 once it is available.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and a great reference April 29 2008
By Kevin Blanchard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have run Snort at previous jobs and currently run it at home. I found the book to be packed with tons of valuable information and a great reference for tweaks you may want to make to your install down the road as your needs change. The only down side is that it's already "out of date" as far as current versions go. It's not so out of date that the information is irrelevant but just keep that in mind and make sure to read up on new features and bugs compared to what is listed in the book and the version you are installing.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Snort Book Jan. 2 2008
By Jeff Pike - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the best single book on Snort I've come across, so I bought it. I used it as reference recently to customize a Snort configuration including writing a few custom rules. It has a really good index. It can be used as an in-depth tutorial or good quality reference.

Description of Chapters:
1) Intrusion Detection Systems - A nice overview of some basics
2) Introducing Snort 2.6 - Fairly comprehensive coverage of the product
3) Installing Snort 2.6 - Good coverage of the different options.
4) Configuring Snort Add-Ons (I don't recommend snort on Windows, but whatever)
5) Inner Workings - One of the best chapters on how snort really works
6) Preprocessors - Another great chapter on the inner workings.
7) Playing by the Rules - Good coverage of snort rule syntax.
8) Snort Output Plug-Ins - Another good chapter
9) Exploring IDS Event Analysis Snort Style - Some of these add-ons are a bit dated, but it's nice to have it all in one place.
10) Optimizing Snort - Principles of Snort optimization...
11) Active Response - More useful options
12) Advanced Snort - Not much of use here for most people.
13) Mucking Around with Barnyard - It's good to at least know what Barnyard is.

At 700 plus pages, this is the best collection of Snort info around.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of SNORT May 27 2011
By Database Lady - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent overview of SNORT for those with little experience on the subject. Easy to read. Lots of examples. I would definitely recommend this book to others.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Snort Jan. 26 2011
By Doctor Professor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I needed this as a textbook and I am pleased with it. I think it is full of information and is a great reference. It is a book I won't be selling back.

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