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Review Network Security Hacks: Tips & Tools for Protecting Your Privacy

Discussion in 'Articles, Reviews and Interviews' started by tripwire45, Nov 23, 2006.

  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I'd never reviewed an O'Reilly 'Hacks' book before but the series comes highly recommended so I was looking forward to an enjoyable experience. Having time on my hands while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner (the turkey is slowly smoking on the barbecue as I write this), I pulled 'Network Security Hacks' from the stack and went to work.

    The first thing I noticed was Contributors section in the book's front matter. While Andrew Lockhart's name is on the cover as the author, a rather lengthy list of names, all having very impressive credentials appears here. I've said before (in the Acknowledgments section of one of my works) that no one writes a book alone. This seems especially true in Lockhart's case and his mining of so many highly technical 'ores' can only enhance the quality and accuracy of this text.

    I had a blast in the first chapter 'Unix Host Security'. I fired up one of my Linux machines, opened a terminal session and started 'hacking' away. I suppose you have to be somewhat 'geeky' to do this sort of thing on Thanksgiving day when most other people are watching football games, but that's the audience this book is written for.

    I was pleased that the second chapter covered Windows Hosts Security. Yes, I know I'm writing this review for a Linux-centric site, but the reality is that any security newbie or guru is likely working in a heterogeneous environment which includes Unix, Linux, and Windows hosts. One of the best pieces of advice I received when I first got into this business was 'never marry an operating system'. If you are in or plan to join the ranks of network security professionals, that piece of advice is for you, too.

    Please keep in mind that this book covers numerous areas of network security. Entire tomes have been written on securing *NIX and Windows hosts so don't expect to become a Linux or Windows security expert by reading Lockhart's hacks. After all, the Unix host chapter only includes 22 hacks and the Windows section, just 14.

    You can read 'Network Security Hacks' cover to cover to enhance your knowledge base but the book functions more as a reference for specific security tasks. For example, if you wanted to learn a particular skill such as how to 'Detect ARP Spoofing', a quick look in the table of contents would reveal that Chapter 6 'Network Security', hack number 62 contains that information. Any specific hack can cover from one to several pages give or take screenshots, but no one hack is so long that it consumes more than its fair share of space.

    As I was going through this book, I wondered just how Lockhart chose the specific hacks for the book and how he managed to limit himself. After all, there must be an almost limitless number of security hacks that could be applied to any of the chapters. While 'Unix Host Security' lists the most hacks at 22, the chapters 'Monitoring and Trending' and 'Recovery and Response' both tied for the least number at 5 a piece.

    If you are new to network security or networks in general, this is not a good introductory book. The book assumes that you know what you're doing and it doesn't waste time setting the stage for you. This is also not a good book to rely on as your only source of network security information. 'Network Security Hacks' (and the 'Hacks' series by definition) is a collection of individual methods of enhancing network security in a variety of areas (firewalls, logging, wireless, and so on). That's what it's designed to do and it does a very good job of it.

    I'd recommend Lockhart's book as a good resource for network security students and professionals to help them enhance their craft. This is not an 'all-in-one' guide to network security. It does however, provide 125 specific methods of hacking your network to help you protect it. Get the book and find out what it has to teach you.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  2. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    The site seems to be down Trip :(
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  3. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    It works for me. :wink:
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  4. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Ah good, it must have been a temporary glitch.

    Nice read James!
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  5. Nelix
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    Nelix Gigabyte Poster

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    Works for me too!!

    Might just grab a copy of this, Good one Trip
     
    Certifications: A+, 70-210, 70-290, 70-291
    WIP: 70-294

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