Book Reviews: More Security Books

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

Google Hacking For Penetration Testers

Google Hacking For Penetration Testers by Johnny Long (Syngress). This book is about using Google to profile networks, find web servers, locate vulnerable targets, search for passwords, and do other crazy things that hackers (in the malicious sense of the word) love to do. I felt guilty trying some of the hacks in this book, but boy were they ever fun. It’s unbelievable sometimes how much sensitive information you can find on the Internet using Google, and companies that want to protect their business and IT assets are well advised to try these hacks and see whether their corporate information is exposed to hackers who know how to leverage the power of Google. Lang covers everything from exploiting the Google cache to finding usernames in error messages and log files exposed to the Internet. He also discusses how to protect yourself from Google hackers (glackers? gookers?) and even dips into the Google API to show how to perform automated searches using Perl and Python. Long is well-known in the security community and his website is a great source of supplementary information on a variety of security-related topics. This is definitely one to have on the shelf of every security professional and IT department. Only one thing worries me about this book: it ranks really high on Amazon, so a lot of people are buying it, and guess who most of them are…

Privacy: What Developers and IT Professionals Should Know

Privacy: What Developers and IT Professionals Should Know by J. C. Cannon (Addison-Wesley). J. C. Cannon has written an excellent book covering the whole field of information privacy from a business perspective. Cannon is a strategist on the Corporate Privacy Group at Microsoft, and he’s contributed chapters on privacy-related topics to other popular books like Writing Security Code and the Microsoft Windows Security Resource Kit. This is the first book he has written on his own however, and it’s one that security professionals should add to their bookshelf. The book is not primarily technical in nature, though it does gives tips on protecting the privacy of Windows computers. Instead, the author takes a high-level approach that brings the whole spectrum of privacy issues and technologies into focus. After beginning with a general overview of topics like privacy legislation and managing spam, the book moves on to look at how to implement privacy policy and practice into your organization’s infrastructure. The third part of the book covers privacy and the developer and includes topics like performing a privacy analysis, protecting database data, and building privacy into the development process. The book concludes with several useful appendices including a privacy review template and handy privacy checklist.

Black Hat Physical Device Security

Black Hat Physical Device Security by Drew Miller (Syngress) is a useful book if your company is engaged in writing software to control various kinds of devices. The target audience for this book is software engineers and some knowledge of C and C# programming is assumed at various points in the book. I found the chapter called Mitigating Exposures particularly helpful since it explains how to avoid application-level exposure to problems like untrusted input, buffer overflows, data replay attacks, and so on. The book also contains various sidelights into security problems associated with different hardware devices, for example some security camera systems are susceptible to bypassing their web admin pages so that knowledgeable attackers can turn them off remotely! All in all, this is a fairly specialized kind of security book but it was interesting to browse and I learned a few cool things. 

Windows Forensics and Incident Recovery

Windows Forensics and Incident Recovery by Harlan Carvey (Addison-Wesley). This book is probably the first good book devoted to the topic of how to perform forensic analysis in a Microsoft Windows environment. It’s well-written in textbook style with each major section beginning with definitions of important security terms and concepts. There are numerous worked examples of different forensic procedures you can follow along with, and in-depth but not overly technical explanations of important aspects of the Windows security architecture including a masterful demonstration of alternate data streams on NTFS volumes. The companion CD contains a set of Perl scripts that comprise a toolkit for performing forensic analysis and incident recovery, and there are instructions how to install Perl on Windows as well. After skimming through this book I’ve decided I plan on reading it again from cover to cover and trying out some of the tools Carvey has provided. I recommend this book for all serious security professionals.

Aggressive Network Self-Defense

Aggressive Network Self-Defense by various contributors (Syngress). Is it ethical to retaliate when you’re being hacked? Is it legal? When have you crossed the line? This entertaining and instructive book looks at eight fictionalized case studies of eight different hack attacks and how administrators aggressively respond to the attacks. These case studies include attacks on PDAs, WLANs, VPNs, cryptographic attacks, breach of trust, and more. The case studies are explained in detail with accompanying screenshots, and afterwards several chapters examine the ethics and methodology of aggressive network defense and various tools and strategies you can employ. I found this book fascinating as it’s obvious that the numerous contributors to this book have had a lot of real-life experience defending networks against malicious attack, and the issues they discuss are important for all security professionals to be aware of, so this is definitely one book to consider adding to your reading list.

One final note:
Being a writer I’m also a voracious reader, and you’ll find reviews of other books I’ve read plus snippets of valuable information from these books on my blog Be sure to check it out, and if you use a newsreader you can subscribe to my RSS feed as well.

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

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