Literature / Network Security


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Hacking Linux Exposed: Linux Security Secrets and Solutions
by Bri Hatch, James Lee and George Kurtz (Osborne/McGraw-Hill)

Reviewed by Anton Chuvakin, SecurityWatch Research



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(08/24/01) Hacking Linux Exposed, the latest from Bri Hatch, James Lee and George Kurtz, is a nice follow-up to their bestselling Hacking Exposed. While not as groundshaking as its predecessor, the new book does provide a good reference for people just starting with Linux. Anyone who is setting up or planning to set up a Linux network should consider owning it, together with the appropriate Linux administration manuals.

Hacking Linux Exposed covers security administration issues such as FTP, sendmail (but for some reason, not POP3/IMAP servers) and web server setup; it also discusses local user security issues and touches lightly on Linux firewalling and other network access controls (TCP wrappers).

The book includes a big section on keeping your system updated, which outlines methods used by several popular Linux distributions (rpm from RedHat, apt-get from Debian and pkgtool from Slackware). This information is essential to the security of any Linux machine, whether a home workstation or company server.

The focus is Linux, but the book also covers some other important security areas. It attempts to offer a total solution for Linux security, starting with general infosec philosophy (such as proactive security), and moving on to physical security, social engineering, Trojan programs, access control, user security and server setup. Each security problem is rated for global risk on a 1 to 10 scale, factoring in frequency, simplicity and impact. In general, the book is more encyclopedia than detailed guide, as it strives toward breadth over depth.



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