Book Reviews: Still More Security Books

If you missed Mitch Tulloch’s other Security Books reviews please read:

Silence on the Wire

Silence on the Wire by Michael Zalewski (No Starch Press). An eye-opening and fascinating on how hackers do their dirty stuff. I’m sorry, I know some geeks consider the word “hacker” sacrosanct as something positive and not a pejorative like the news media has made it. But the meaning of words evolves over time and that’s a fact. So get over it-a hacker is a bad guy, and Yes the word now commonly means almost the opposite of what it originally meant 25 years ago. That’s life, so get over it. But getting back to the book, this is an excellent description of passive reconnaissance and indirect methods of attaching networks. The main audience of appeal is probably security thinkers, tinkerers, enthusiasts, even academic historians of the information age. The appear is likely to be less for the system administrator who actually has to do security on her network, but for the pure information security specialist this book is pure gold. Note that you need to have a strong math background to understand a few parts of this book, plus a strong grounding in how TCP/IP works. I could also see this being an excellent supplementary text for a university-level course in information security. Bottom line: strongly recommended for those who like to think about network security.

CYA Securing IIS 6.0

CYA Securing IIS 6.0 by Bernard Cheah and Ken Schaefer (Syngress). Great book for administrators who need to know how to secure IIS 6.0 on Windows Server 2003. After all, one thing administrators need to be able to do is Cover Their A** (yes, that’s the meaning of the “CYA” in the title!) This book is concise and easy to read, and breaks down a complex subject into easy to digest segments with specific procedures you can implement. My two favorite chapters were Chapter 4 Configuring Basic Web Server Security and Chapter 5 Advanced Web Server Security Configuration, they’re terrific and tell you just what you need to know to harden your web server against attack. I learned a few things myself reading these chapters even though I’ve written several IIS books myself including my latest IIS 6 Administration (Osborne/McGraw-Hill), which I can’t help taking the opportunity here to shamelessly plug! Anyway, I know Bernard from the IIS and MVP communities and he’s a great guy and he and Ken have written a terrific little book here. Bottom line: buy and read.

CISA Exam Cram 2 : Certified Information Systems Auditor

CISA Exam Cram 2 : Certified Information Systems Auditor by Allen Keele and Keith Mortier (Que). Having certifications is a must in the IT job market these days, and especially so in the information security field where there are a wide range of certifications for different purposes. One of these certifications is Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), a key certification from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ICASA) that has been around since 1978 and measures capability in information systems auditing, control and security. This book is designed to help you achieve this certification. Bottom line: useful if you plan to go for your CISA.

SSL VPN: Understanding, Evaluating And Planning Secure, Web-based Remote Access

SSL VPN: Understanding, Evaluating And Planning Secure, Web-based Remote Access by Joseph Steinberg and Tim Speed (PACKT Publishing). An excellent book that takes a vendor-neutral approach to implementing SSL VPNs. The topic of SSL VPNs is a hot one these days, and it’s hard to find a networking or security magazine that doesn’t mention something about it. That’s largely because SSL VPNs make it easy to deploy secure VPN connections, especially compared to the complexity of implementing policy-based IPSec VPNs. But successfully deploying SSL VPNs takes careful planning too, and this book guides you through understanding how SSL VPNs work and how to plan, implement and manage them. I especially liked the discussion of end point security concerns and how to resolve them. There’s also an appendix that looks at different SSL VPN offerings currently in the marketplace. Bottom line: good book, read first before deploying an SSL VPN.

Snort Cookbook

Snort Cookbook by Angela Orebaugh, Simon Biles and Jacob Babbin (O’Reilly). Ever cooked a snort? Or is a snort something you cook with? This is the best snort book ever. It’s a task-based book that leads you step by step through installing and optimizing snort, configuring logging and alerts, building rules, managing snort sensors, analyzing logs, and tons more. Bottom line: if you don’t know what snort is, don’t buy this book!

Tip: Don’t forget to check out my blog http://itreader.net where I blog anything useful and interesting I’ve read lately in books, white papers, etc. Basically, the purpose of my blog is to let me do the reading for you, saving you valuable time. After all, time is the most precious commodity an IT professional has, right?

If you missed Mitch Tulloch’s other Security Books reviews please read:


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