What's going on in your network? Who can you trust? Take a look at Hackproofing Your Network and find out just how vulnerable you may be.
- By T. Brian Granier
- November 01, 2002
In today's high-tech Internet-enabled world, it's generally accepted
that the question isn't if you've been attacked, but when and how often.
This book serves to educate security professionals in the techniques commonly
used to penetrate systems and networks. Topics include low-level physical
compromises, such as simple network sniffs; high-level compromises that
require a firm understanding of computers; the way the operating systems
work on those compromises; and how unexpected inputs can lead to potential
The book is organized into highly specialized chapters that can be treated
as separate unique methods of system compromise. In general, the author
for each section explains the general purpose of a vulnerability, methods
of utilizing this vulnerability and techniques used to stop or mitigate
The title can be quite misleading when compared to the content of the
book. While readers might expect to find this book focused on methods
of prevention, the majority of the time was spent explaining how to find
and utilize vulnerabilities in order to penetrate a network. This doesn't
suggest that the book doesn't address methods of prevention, just that
it doesn't dedicate quite as much time to the subject. It would be prudent
to caution potential buyers about buying this book by the title alone.
Instead, buyers should take the time at the bookstore to read the first
chapter, which gives an introduction to the material and lays the groundwork
for what to expect.
As each chapter is written by a different author or a different group
of authors, it's not surprising that style and technical detail vary.
Each section provides enough explanation to convey the knowledge necessary
to understand the exploit being described. Some chapters, however, went
into highly detailed examples to explain exactly how vulnerabilities are
exploited. My biggest concern with this book is the lack of right-brain
stimulation. Without a fair amount of sideline quips, situational jokes
and amusing banter, I found it difficult to stay focused over a long period
of time. The sideline stories, however, did ease the situation by adding
real-world perspectives to the mostly theoretical discussions presented
in each chapter.
Because information security is an ever-evolving science, it should be
no surprise that the publisher provides a companion Web site to the book.
By providing a venue to post white papers, make code that was used throughout
the book downloadable, and distribute an electronic version of the book,
the problem of becoming outdated by the time the book prints is mitigated.
Although only one white paper was available at the time of this review,
this is most likely due to the recent the publish date. I submitted five
questions to the author. Three of these questions received a response
in exactly one week. The other two remain unanswered after two weeks.
The responses that were received were very satisfactory in answering the
question presented, and two of these questions made it to the Web site's
"Ask the Author" question and answer page.
Overall, this book is a good addition to any security professional's
library. Technical professionals will find this book a valuable introduction
to the world of information security and hacking techniques and they'll
benefit most if they're already highly skilled as a computer professional
(I suggest the targeted audience be someone with equivalent to MCSE skills
T. Brian Granier, CCNA, MCSE, MCP+I, A+, has been working in the computer industry since 1995. After receiving a degree in computer engineering technology from the University of Houston in 1999, Brian worked with Zebec Data Systems Inc. where he currently serves as the information security architect. His current projects involve major infrastructure revisions and technical security improvements in accordance with federal HIPAA regulations.