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The .NET Developer's Guide to Windows Security Paperback – 27 Sep 2004

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From the Back Cover

"As usual, Keith masterfully explains complex security issues in down-to-earth and easy-to-understand language. I bet you'll reach for this book often when building your next software application."
--Michael Howard, coauthor, Writing Secure Code

"When it comes to teaching Windows security, Keith Brown is 'The Man.' In The .NET Developer's Guide to Windows Security, Keith has written a book that explains the key security concepts of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003, and teaches you both how to apply them and how to implement them in C# code. By organizing his material into short, clear snippets, Brown has made a complicated subject highly accessible."
--Martin Heller, senior contributing editor at and owner of Martin Heller & Co.

"Keith Brown has a unique ability to describe complex technical topics, such as security, in a way that can be understood by mere mortals (such as myself). Keith's book is a must read for anyone attempting to keep up with Microsoft's enhancements to its security features and the next major version of .NET."
--Peter Partch, principal software engineer, PM Consulting

"Keith's book is a collection of practical, concise, and carefully thought out nuggets of security insight. Every .NET developer would be wise to keep a copy of this book close at hand and to consult it first when questions of security arise during application development."
--Fritz Onion, author of Essential ASP.NET with Examples in C#

The .NET Developer's Guide to Windows Security is required reading for .NET programmers who want to develop secure Windows applications. Readers gain a deep understanding of Windows security and the know-how to program secure systems that run on Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000.

Author Keith Brown crystallizes his application security expertise into 75 short, specific guidelines. Each item is clearly explained, cross-referenced, and illustrated with detailed examples. The items build on one another until they produce a comprehensive picture of what tools are available and how developers should use them.

The book highlights new features in Windows Server 2003 and previews features of the upcoming version 2.0 of the .NET Framework. A companion Web site includes the source code and examples used throughout the book.

Topics covered include:

  • Kerberos authentication
  • Access control
  • Impersonation
  • Network security
  • Constrained delegation
  • Protocol transition
  • Securing enterprise services
  • Securing remoting
  • How to run as a normal user and live a happy life
  • Programming the Security Support Provider Interface (SSPI) in Visual Studio.NET 2005

Battle-scarred and emerging developers alike will find in The .NET Developer's Guide to Windows Security bona-fide solutions to the everyday problems of securing Windows applications.

About the Author

Keith Brown focuses on application security at Pluralsight, which he cofounded with several other .NET experts to foster a community, develop content, and provide premier training. Keith regularly speaks at conferences, including TechEd and WinDev, and serves as a contributing editor and columnist to MSDN Magazine.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A great intro to security for a coder that wants to know 4 Dec. 2004
By Stephen Northcutt - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is not for everyone, but if you are a programmer and you want an introduction to what you can do to create more secure programs integrated into Windows 2000 -> Server 2003 in a .NET framework, you will find this book worth the read.

If you are already security saavy and you do not know much about programming this book will help you ask your coders the right questions.

The first 35 pages are the fundamentals of security. The next 30 pages show the interface to security in the windows environment. The real value for me as a reader started on page 65. From there to the very last page there is example after example.

Keith Brown continues to be the master of clear writing, no fluff, everything is in consise topics that tell you the straight scoop you need to know about that topic.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Seventy-five security principles clearly explained 1 May 2005
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on
Format: Paperback
When reading books on computer security, you will be told that computer security is a mindset that must be achieved and held. However, achieving this lofty goal is a matter of doing a lot of small things right. And they must all be done right, for even one apparently minor mistake can open a security hole potentially as big as escorting the attacker to a terminal already logged in as administrator. Brown covers a large amount of ground in the area of Windows security by examining 75 common principles.

Many are in the form of questions, some of those questions asked in the title and answered in the text are:

*) What is secure code?

*) What is a countermeasure?

*) What is a nonprivileged user?

*) What is security context?

*) What is a null session?

*) What is a guest logon?

Some of these questions are much more difficult to answer than it may first appear. For example, volumes could be written to answer the first two questions. Brown is effectively brief, writing enough to impart initial understanding, but not so much as to incite boredom.

Some of the other points that are not in the form of a question are:

*) How to enable auditing.

*) How to program with SIDS.

*) How to program ACLs.

*) How to configure security for a COM(+) client.

*) How to store secrets on a machine.

*) How to programmatically lock the console.

This book contains very valuable material needed in your struggle to make your systems secure. Some people will read the principles they are interested in and justifiably complain about the lack technical depth. However, if your interest is to learn the fundamental aspects of the topic, then this book is just right for you.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A must have for your developer bookshelf... 2 April 2005
By Christopher G. Williams - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of Keith Brown and regularly read his blog on [...] so this review may appear biased but I honestly believe this is a very useful book if you want to develop secure applications or are just wondering how security is implemented in windows.

Though this book is available in its entirety on, if you are like me, you will not be disappointed if you kill a tree and buy the book.

The book deals with Windows security, something every windows developer worth his or her salt should know.

The book is organized as a collection of practical, to the point insights on windows security. 75 topics are covered as items. This is what I like the best about this book. Each topic is short, to the point and covers just the right amount of information. Curious readers are urged to do their own further investigations. Although the book does not directly talk about security as implemented in the .net frameworks, and it may appear that the title is a misnomer, the underlying concepts are beautifully described. This is a very easy to read book. You don't have to spend endless brain cycles to in reading a chapter and get something useful. In about 5 minutes you can read most "items" and digest the nugget of security insight.

The 75 items in the book are grouped into 6 parts or categories. Part 1 paints the Big Picture and lays the groundwork. You will learn about different kinds of attacks and how to mitigate them. Part 2 describes what Security context is all about. Here you can read about security tokens, daemons, impersonation and a host of other things you didn't even know about. In part 3 you will learn about Access Control and how to grant/restrict access to various resources. Part 4 talks about COM(+) and Enterprise Services. Part 5 deals with Network Security. You will learn what Kerberos, SSPI and IPSEC are. Part 6 is for items that did not fit under the other 5 parts. One of the misc items talks about how to store secrets on a machine. You can also learn to programmatically log off or reboot a machine.

To summarize, this is a very easy to read book with bite sized information on windows security. As more and more emphasis is being placed on developing secure applications in an increasingly networked world, you will find yourself reaching for this book often.

Go buy it.

Reviewed by: Greater Charleston .NET User Group
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An essential resource for .NET Developers 2 Aug. 2005
By Bill Wagner - Published on
Format: Paperback
Full review is online here: [...]


Brown's treatment of the subject is broad. You should not be under any misconception that this book will make you an expert on security (either Windows, or .NET). But, it will help you remember the issues you need to remember in order to produce software that does not increase the attack surface of your customer's machines. That's the strength of this book. You will not need every recommendation for every application you develop, but you will need to remind yourself of these issues, and make sure you have thought about those issues.

"The .NET Developer's Guide to Windows Security" should be required reading for every .NET developer. It's already earned a place of prominence on my bookshelf. I browse the table of contents repeatedly during development. It reminds me of the issues I need to consider when I make important design decisions.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very good book for tips and approaches 30 Aug. 2005
By James Holmes - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brown's book isn't so much about specific coding techniques, although there are a fair number of those within. You won't find specifics on .NET's code access security, or issues around cross-site scripting. You'll need to look to Howard and LeBlanc's <cite>Writing Secure Code</cite> for code specifics.

Rather, this book is more about approaches to secure development on Windows. In the book you'll find tips on how to develop software using a non-Administrator account, great fundamentals like discussion on IPSEC, Kerberos, policies, etc.

There's also great, detailed discussion of things like COM(+)/Enterprise services, authority and identity, impersonation, and a brief section on threat analysis.

You'll still need another book with details on implementation (see Howard, LeBlanc), but this book really is a great addition to a security-concious developer's bookshelf.
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