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BackTrack 4: Assuring Security by Penetration Testing
BackTrack 4: Assuring Security by Penetration Testing
by Shakeel Ali
Edition: Paperback
Price: 30.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For people who want to know what it's like to be a pen tester, 24 May 2011
This book is not just about learning a bunch of command line tools for p0wning a few poorly-maintained systems. In this book, the authors do a good job exposing the reader to the many facets of pen testing, and present the readers with the opportunity to try a few new things along the way, including virtualization, Linux, and BackTrack itself.

The authors introduce the idea that pen testing is not about randomly using a collection of tools to plink around a network. Instead, a structured, procedural methodology should be used to achieve timely, thorough, and reportable results. The author's also provide a detailed description of a security testing methodology to be used with BackTrack itself.

Each step in this methodology represents an element in the penetration testing life cycle management performed for each customer. The authors describe how this organized progression allows pen testers to determine their course of action, plan for needed resources, and not waste time and resources by duplicating effort. My only complaint is that this section is too small, and deserves expanding using actual case studies.

A considerable number of pen testing tools for each step in the methodology are covered with examples and instruction. Popular tools covered include Metasploit (Meterpreter), Maltego, NMap, NetXpose, and Nessus. Tools for exploiting (uh, testing) Web servers, databases, applications, and even Cisco devices are also covered.

I was very happy to see a chapter on Social Engineering. Experienced pen testers often remark that the most penetrable area of any system are the people who use and control it. The authors provide a detailed description of the psychology, tactics, and objectives of social engineering and how it is used to penetrate the "fleshy" parts of information systems.

This book is intended to educate both novice and experienced pen testers on how to successfully use BackTrack 4. I am sure not every professional pen testing will agree with everything in this book, as it represents the personal experience of only a few people in the profession. However, novices will find a tremendous amount of hands-on practice and enlightening information related to the pen testing profession in clear and readable instructions. Pros should a few things about becoming an even more efficient and versatile pen tester too.

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