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Linux System Security: The Administrators Guide to Open Source Security Tools (Prentice Hall Series in Computer Networking and Distributed) Textbook Binding – 23 Dec 1999

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Product details

  • Textbook Binding: 604 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (23 Dec. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130158070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130158079
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 19 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,163,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

In their introduction, the authors of Linux System Security acknowledge that there's no magic bullet as far as security is concerned. Security-minded system administration is a process of constant revision. They promise, though, that "if you follow the procedures outlined in this book, you will certainly reduce your level of vulnerability". They deliver on that promise in spades. Using Red Hat Linux as their demonstration environment, the authors explain how to use a suite of publicly available tools to analyse, protect and monitor your machines and networks. They approach their subject from a practical standpoint, emphasising software and its use while referring the reader (with copious bibliographic notes) to more specialised works for more detailed information on cryptography, firewall configuration and other subjects.

Scott Mann and Ellen Mitchell have done excellent work in combining explanations of the "soft" aspects of security management with the particulars of using software. In a typical section, they explain how to acquire, install and run Crack, a password breaker. They first show how a bad guy would use Crack to gain unauthorised access to a machine over a network, then get into the "white hat" applications of the program as a security tool for pre-emptively weeding out weak passwords. More detailed coverage goes to tiger and Tripwire, a pair of powerful auditing and monitoring tools. Along with Maximum Linux Security (which covers more offensive and defensive weapons in less detail), this is one of the two best Linux security books you can own. --David Wall

Topics covered: Linux security practices and tools, as demonstrated under Red Hat Linux 5.2 and 6.0. Covered software and commands include Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM), OPIE, syslog, sudo, xinetd, Secure Shell (SSH), Crack, tiger, Tripwire, The Cryptographic Filesystem (TCFS), and ipchains. The authors discuss administrative policies and procedures along the way.

From the Back Cover


Maximize Linux security, hands-on-with today's best open source tools

If you depend on Linux to run mission-critical networks or store business-critical data, are you sure you can protect your Linux systems from intruders? You'd better be-and with Linux System Security, you can be!

Long-time Linux sysadmins Scott Mann and Ellen Mitchell demonstrate exactly how to protect your vital resources, using today's most powerful open source security tools. Linux System Security makes you an expert fast, with insiders' coverage of the "gotchas," "rules of thumb," and undocumented tricks you'd otherwise have to learn the hard way. Coverage includes:

  • Preparing Linux systems for a production environment
  • Identifying vulnerabilities, and planning for security administration
  • Configuring Linux-based firewalls, authentication, and encryption
  • Intrusion detection on Linux systems
  • Securing filesystems, email, web servers, and other key applications
  • Protecting mixed Linux/Unix and Windows NT environments

You'll find hands-on introductions to the Linux community's most important security tools, including sudo, TCP, wrappers, xinetd, SSH, tiger, Tripwire, ipchains, PAM, crack, and many others.

If you want the benefits of Linux without the security risks, you want Linux System Security!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 11 Aug. 2000
Format: Textbook Binding
This is probably the best book you can get in Linux security. You can hardly go wrong with this book as there are plenty of examples. Though this book was written for Linux, It's suitable for Unix environments as well.
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Format: Textbook Binding
This book has got to be in the top 5 of great references on linux security. The book details
how to install and how to configure, and how to work the security application being discussed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Wide Breadth of Practical In-Depth Information 23 April 2000
By Howard Holm - Published on
Format: Textbook Binding
This is the best of the books I've seen on Linux system security. It focuses almost exclusively on freely available tools, and therefore should appeal to those poorly funded installations that use Linux because of its low cost. The authors cover many tools in the detail needed to obtain, install, and use them in an intelligent way. I was very impressed with the scope of coverage, from system policies to the use and configuration of crack, and everything in between. Although not everything within that scope can be covered in complete detail, the book also includes many useful references for additional information.
Among my few complaints would be that the authors tended to present the tools within the context of a network utilizing firewalls, a DMZ, and limited service servers. In practice many installations will not be so well constructed. In fairness, the utility of the information presented was usually unaffected by the assumed architecture. Although the presentation is relatively distribution neutral, the examples and specifics referred almost exclusively to RPM based RedHat 5 and 6. I would have been interested in seeing parallel details for Debian based distributions, if for nothing else than to gain a sense of the differences that might be encountered based on packaging.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Practical and Thorough 2 Feb. 2000
By William Klemm - Published on
Format: Textbook Binding
Among the many other books on the shelves with similar titles, this book spans the gamut of security. No one book can claim to be "The Book" on Linux/Unix security, but this one is an essential for library of the budding "sys-admin." Aside, from the detailed instructions for plugging security holes, Mann and Mitchell explain how and why it works. I found this book very helpful.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Probably the best book on open source security tools 20 July 2000
By kievite - Published on
Format: Textbook Binding
Actually all tools described are not Linux specific and can be used for any Unix including FreeBSD and Solaris.
The authors seems to know the subject and really used tools that they are writing about. For several popular tools the book provides some useful info that is difficult to find elsewhere. Pretty decent typography, although it's a little bit too academic and does not use icons on margins that IMHO simplify reading. 
As for the classic open security tools, the book covers PAM(36 pages), Sudo(20 pages), TCP Wrappers(24 pages), SSH(55 pages), Tripwire(24 pages), CFS and TCFS (30 pages), and ipchains.
From the first reading it looks like the chapters are *not* a rehash of existing online documentation. In addition to the chapters about classic open source security tools I like chapters about logs: a chapter on syslog (Ch.8) and a chapter on log file management (Ch.17). 
Now about weaknesses. The chapter on Tiger is rather weak. Moreover regrettably Tiger is a legacy tool, but actually information is not completely useless -- it's not difficult to switch to another tool after one understands how Tiger works. Actually Perl is superior for writing Unix vulnerability scanners in comparison with shell. May be hardening scripts like Bastille would be a better choice for this chapter in the second edition of the book.
Book is incomplete in a sense that neither Snort (or any similar intrusion detection tool), nor open source network scanners (Saint, Sara, etc.) are covered.
Of course there are some typos, but generally not that many. But what is really bad is that the Prentice Hall book page currently is pretty basic with no errata or additional links. The authors do not provide a WEB site for the book.
This book can probably be used for studying Unix security at universities along with somewhat outdated Practical Unix and Internet Security and this combination can somewhat compensate deficiencies of the latter (non tool oriented descriptive approach).
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Stand-out Book 6 April 2000
By Tim Crothers - Published on
Format: Textbook Binding
I read most every security book that is released and this one is so exceptional in quality that I felt impelled to add a review. It covers all aspects of Linux security and has tons of practical tools and techniques for achieving security. All of the techniques and installations are well-explained and very detailed. Excellent book!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Wow - what a killer book! 1 Oct. 2000
By Mark Wolfgang - Published on
Format: Textbook Binding
This book is incredibly thorough, and up to date. For example, Red Hat Linux 7 has just come out, and does now has xinetd as a replacement for inetd. Well, you guessed it, this book has about 27 pages on xinetd!
Want info on ipchains? This book has at least 50 pages on the subject!
I could go on and on about this book it is so good!
This book is written by experienced people, not just an author who was assigned another book to write.
You will not regret buying this book!
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