[ISN] Book review: Security Warrior by Cyrus Peikari & Anton Chuvakin

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue May 11 01:50:23 EDT 2004

Forwarded from: security curmudgeon <jericho at attrition.org>


Security Warrior
Cyrus Peikari & Anton Chuvakin
Paperback - 581 pages (January, 2004)
$44.95 - O'Reilly ISBN: 0-596-00545-8

Security Warrior is one of the latest books that attempts to cover
hacking and security information in a way that appeals to all levels
of the field. Most books of this nature will present a wide variety of
concepts and technologies that fall under the "security" blanket.
These topics usually include an introduction to security, networking,
reconnaissance, social engineering, attack and defense. As with most
professions, attempting to disclose the ins and outs in a
comprehensive manner would take volumes of information and could never
be summed up in a single book.

Breaking away from the mold, Security Warrior stands out in a crowd of
security books by delving into the world of software cracking through
reverse engineering. While this is not a skillset many security
personell use or know, it can be a very handy skill to have. Peikari
and Chuvakin spend almost one third of the book on reverse engineering
by providing detailed explanations, real world examples and even
excercises to test your ability to break past software that restricts
your access to a program on your own computer. While the skill of
reverse engineering is useful, it is also fairly intensive and
requires a solid programming knowledge. The extensive use of program
source code in the book can get a bit overdone as most people reading
the book will already understand it and find no use for it typed out
in a book, or find themselves lost after the second line.

The next major section covers the basics of networking and
reconnaissance as relates to security testing. After a brief outline
of TCP/IP and other protocols that make this big Internet thingy work,
they immediately dive into the art of Social Engineering before going
back to network recon, OS fingerprinting and hiding your attacks.
While this information is all valuable, the sudden turn to Social
Engineering in the middle of technical network attacks is disjointed
to say the least.

Once you have identified your targets via network recon, the next step
is to figure out what specific platform attacks may work for you.
Unfortunately, you need to read the chapter on Unix defense before
Unix attacks in this book. While the order of the chapters is a minor
nuisance, the author's consistancy is a tad annoying. After learning
about Unix defense and attack, you then get treated to Windows Client
Attacks and Windows Server Attacks. Apparently, the chapter on Windows
defense got left on the cutting room floor. Even more odd is the next
chapter on SOAP XML Web Services Security followed by the SQL
Injection attack chapter. While these are all well written chapters
that convey the information very cleanly, the order and choice of
topics is very messy.

The last section covers Advanced Defense and goes into audit trails,
intrusion detection, honeypots, incident response and forensics. Each
chapter receives a good share of attention and falls back into an
orderly fashion for dispensing the details of each technology. This
material is a solid conclusion to a book that has a place in the
security professional's library. For someone just entering the
security circle, this book will be a rough start.

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