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Hacking Exposed Linux, 2nd Edition: Linux Security Secrets and Solutions Paperback – 1 Dec 2002
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Linux, like every other networkable OS, is vulnerable to a variety of local and remote attacks. Hacking Linux Exposed seeks to do two jobs: explain where the vulnerabilities lie and provide ways to minimise or eliminate the risks.
The authors' slightly breathless hands-on approach--coupled with the wealth of relevant technical detail--produces an unusually pacey read. Much of the spiciness comes from the emphasis on exploiting Linux's weaknesses. This is helped with lots of case studies of successful intrusions. You won't be in any doubt that you should be taking security seriously.
Much of the advice is common sense: use secure passwords, shadow password files, turn off unwanted services, set up an efficient firewall, apply security patches and so on. But the devil is in the detail. Successfully hardening a Linux system is non-trivial (as with other OS's). It's also an ongoing process. What really sets Hacking Linux Exposed apart is the way it walks you through each vulnerability and then explains the technical aspects of implementing a defense against it--converting to shadow password files, setting up IPChains, automating log file checking, testing your own security and more are all detailed.
Linux sysadmins will love this book. However, any Linux user with the confidence to edit a configuration file and a copy of Hacking Linux Exposed to hand can also have the hardest machine on the block. --Steve Patient --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A comprehensive overview of Linux security in the popular Hacking-Exposed style. -- (Rain Forest Puppy (RFP), web server security authority and discoverer of the IIS MSADC vulnerability)
"Hacking Linux Exposed covers tried and true techniques to cutting-edge hacks and everything in between. If you are serious about Linux and security, buy this book. Period." -- Simple Nomad, author of The Hack FAQ and Pandora
"Hacking Linux Exposed is a highly organized and modular book that teaches the reader what to do before, during, and after an incident. It consolidates years of security administration experience into a single reference guide. It illustrates a procedure for securing a new installation, shows the reader how to recover from a break-in on an existing machine and presents a methodology for ongoing monitoring. Each chapter contains well-illustrated examples from real installations along with real solutions. Hacking Linux Exposed has taken a complex subject and broken it down into a format as useful for front-line Linux users as for corporate IT managers." -- Allen Leibowitz, CEO Anzen Computing, Inc. & Developer of the Anzen Flight Jacket Intrusion Detection System
"Knowing how attackers work and how a system can be broken into is the key to preventing unwanted break-ins. Hacking Linux Exposed strips away the 'black magic' image of hacking and sheds light on the prevention techniques that protect Linux systems from the ravages of attackers. This security book is a valuable asset for Linux administrators. You may find it frequently borrowed by fellow members of your staff and difficult to keep on your bookshelf." -- Christopher Klaus, Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Internet Security Systems -ISS
"The rapidly expanding number of Linux machines on our campus combined with the open network of a university makes us an ideal target for hackers. The full disclosure policy of Hacking Linux Exposed allows security professionals and others who are interested in maintaining the security of their systems to observe how hackers penetrate a system and how to raise the bar to counter the attacks. If the sysadmins on our campus take advantage of this book, they will save themselves and our security team hours of work recovering from break-ins." -- Bob Bartlett, Assistant Director, Network Security & Enterprise, Network Server Administration of the University of Chicago, Illinois --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I'd highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to see what a hacker actually does, down to the keystrokes themselves. Most importantly, you get clear easy steps to fix the problems. When there are multiple tools that you could use, they cover them in enough depth to let you know which is best for you and your skill level.
If you want to keep others off of your machine, this is the book to buy.
The price tag is good too!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I really enjoyed the format of the book. The authors don't waste time on security theories, or explaining what Linux is. They know the reader is already familiar with these, and wants to know, in concrete terms, how a hacker sees your server, and will systematically breach its security until they get root access. The authors waste no time in revealing the tools of the trade, and the security-conscious would do well to read this book from cover to cover. It is not enough to just apply patches, and turn off unnecessary services (and surprisingly few admins even do this right). One must fully understand the mindset of the hacker, and see the server from the outside.
I truly believe that no other book right now can deliver such honesty and such useful information on Linux security. If you hope to secure your servers or go into the security field, definitely read this book. You will not be sorry. :)
All the stuff to this point assumes the hacker is on the outside. Part three takes over and shows you what the hacker will do once they've gotten on, such as attacking other local users including root, and cracking passwords. It becomes obvious that you need to protect things from insiders as much as from the outsider, because the outsider will usually get in as a normal user first, and if you can prevent him or her from getting root access, the damage cannot be nearly as severe. A lot of books don't cover this angle at all, and it's done superbly here.
Part four covers common problems in internet services. First they discuss mail servers. Sendmail, Qmail, Postfix, and Exim each get covered in detail - it's nice to see more than just Sendmail discussed in a security book. Of course, it'd be even nicer to see something other than Sendmail installed on a Linux machine by default. Next they cover problems with FTP software and problems with the FTP protocol. I'd never seen "beneath the hood" and realized how wierd FTP really was, and why it's not supported by firewalls very well, and the authors show you the inner workings of it so anyone can understand the problems. They continue with Apache and CGI/mod_perl/PHP/etc problems, both from a coding standpoint and how to secure against outsiders and your own web developers. Next it's on to Firewalls (iptables and TCP wrappers) and lastly (distributed) denial of service attacks. The countermeasures for the DOS problems are excellent, and a must for anyone with a server.
Part five covers everything a hacker can do once they've broken in. They describe trojan programs, trojan kernel modules, and configuration changes that can be used to keep root access, or hide the hacker activity, or let them get back in should the computer be partially fixed. This was not only complete, but scary in how many different things they showed. It works both as a blueprint for what you need to defend against, how to clean up after a hacker has gotten in, and also how you could back door a machine if you get in. I'll leave the ethics up to you.
Lastly we have part six, which is the appendicies. While most times I ignore appendicies, these are really an integral part of the book, and are referenced throughout the book all over. (This very good, because it keeps the book from having too much repeated countermeasures.) They discuss post-breakin cleanup, updating your software and kernel, and turning off daemons (both local and network ones) and a new case study. The book is good about covering Linux from a distribution-agnostic standpoint (it doesn't assume you use RedHat, unlike everything else out there) but in these appendicies they cover the differences you may encounter. They show you how to use dpkg/apt-get as much as RPM as much as .tgz packages, discuss both inetd and xinetd, and even svscan/supervise. They are extreemly complete.
Hacking Linux Exposed 2nd Edition is required reading for anyone with a Linux machine, period.
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