Linux System Security: The Administrator's Guide to Open Source Security Tools (Prentice Hall Series in Computer Networking and Distributed) Hardcover – 18 Sep 2002
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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. --This text refers to the Textbook Binding edition.
From the Back Cover
Lock down your Linux system NOW!
- Up-to-the-minute security techniques for your entire Linux environment!
- NEW! In-depth coverage of Bastille, the breakthrough Linux lockdown tool!
- NEW! Intrusion detection with network sniffers and port scanners
- NEW! Complete coverage of the OpenSSH encryption suite
- Firewalls, email, Web services, filesystems, applications, and more
- Completely updated for RedHat 7.2
Now there's an up-to-the-minute, hands-on guide to using open source tools to protect any Linux system! Completely updated for the newest tools and distributions, Linux System Security, Second Edition covers virtually every facet of Linux security, from firewalls and intrusion detection to authentication and secure Web services. You'll master over a dozen crucial open source security tools, including sudo, portmap, xinetd, tiger, tripwire, ipchains, pam, crack, and more. Along the way, three long-time Linux sysadmins will show you the "gotchas," rules of thumb, and undocumented tricks it would take you years to learn on your own!
- Preparing Linux systems for a production environment
- Using Bastille to lock down Linux systems without unnecessarily compromising their functionality
- Combatting Trojan horses, backdoors, password cracking, buffer overflows, spoofing, DoS, and more
- OpenSSH: eliminating eavesdropping, connection hijacking, and other network-level attacks
- Detecting intrusions with network sniffers and port scanners
- Firewalls, email, Web services, filesystems, applications, and much more
- Protecting mixed Linux/UNIX(r) environments
- Includes a concise introduction to security policies
Want the benefits of Linux without the security risks? Get Linux System Security, Second Edition!
Prentice Hall Series on Computer Networking and Distributed Systems, Radia Perlman, Series AdvisorSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
how to install and how to configure, and how to work the security application being discussed.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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).
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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