As the title suggests, LSC is a series of different Linux security "recipes." I found the cookbook-style of presentation both good and bad. Some recipes were a breeze to follow (such as the gpg recipes). Other recipes were difficult, but not impossible to follow.
As a "desktop" Linux user who only administers a desktop machine and notebook the chapters I found most useful were those on intrusion detection systems (Chapter 1) and GPG (Chapters 7 & 8). That said, LSC contains dozens of useful recipes for administrators from PAM authentication to monitoring who is doing what on your system. Some of the programs covered are programs I've never heard of before, John the Ripper for example. Other recipes cover those programs I know I should check out, like Snort, but have never taken the time to.
LSC is for the most part very easy to follow. The authors have been very careful to mention when software (snort for example) might or might not be included and how to find and install it. I got tripped up a little in the first chapter (which covers tripwire), because I tried downloading and compiling the tripwire source found at the tripwire web site. I obtained the source from a couple of recommended sites. In one instance tripwire failed to compile correctly, in another it compiled but kept segfaulting when I tried to initialize the database. It wasn't until after I emailed O'Reilly that I saw mention further in Chapter 1 that tripwire is included with Red Hat Linux. One of the authors, Daniel J. Barrett, also emailed me to tell me that it was on the third CD - doh! The upside of this little tale is that I got to know aide (another intrusion detection system) a little better after I installed it on my Debian-based notebook.
... it is certainly money well spent. I now use gpg and check my systems for intrusions on a regular basis. I've also finally found a spring board for learning more about Linux security. Reading O'Reilly's LSC made it easier to follow the ipchains-HOWTO and learn more about Linux security from other sources. If you're new to Linux security LSC is a great springboard for learning about a wide range of Linux security issues.
I've saved what is actually covered in LSC for the end of this review. My intention in this review has been mainly to present my experience with LSC so that other Amazon users who are also still desktop users, or have never really been concerned with Linux security issues can take away the fact that despite a few sticking points I found this book to be a great source for information on different Linux security issues. For those concerned with the meat of the book, here's how it breaks down:
1. System Snapshots with Tripwire
2. Firewalls with iptables and ipchains
3. Network Access Control (xinetd, inetd, preventing DOS attacks)
4. Authentication Techniques and Infrastructures (PAM, SSL, Kerberos)
5. Authorization Controls (su and sudo)
6. Protecting Outgoing Network Connections (OpenSSH)
7. Protecting Files (permissions, GPG)
8. Protecting Email (all popular mail user agents, SSL and SSH)
9. Testing and Monitoring (Jack the Ripper, Cracklib, Snort, tcpdump, syslog)
You really need to have a good look at the table of contents to get an idea of all this book covers. I have written about it from a desktop-user standpoint, but there are so many recipes that I couldn't cover everything. There are many great code snippets that more advanced users would find useful.
If you don't have an intrusion detection system, need to grant some of your users limited root privileges, have been using the default firewall rules (or don't have a clue about iptables/ipchains), haven't checked your system for root kits or insecure protocols, then the Linux Security Cookbook should be at the top of your reading list.