Thursday, November 13, 2008

Linux (Hacking Exposed)

"Throw up a Linux box," comes the chorus whenever there's a need to provide some network service or other without impinging upon the boss's martini budget. Fair enough, but by doing so are you opening security holes you don't know how to find or fix? The newest edition of Hacking Linux Exposed helps you answer that question and solve many of the security problems you find. To a certain extent this book is a recipe collection in that it describes weaknesses in Linux (calling attention to specific distributions where appropriate).

The authors stop short of explicitly showing you how to wage most kinds of attacks, a reasonable thing to do from an ethical point of view even though the instructions can be found easily on the Internet. Rather than do that, they give step-by-step instructions on how to defend against the attacks they catalog. The point is not, "Here's precisely how to bring down a server by means of an ACK storm," but rather, "Here's how to defend against such problems." They do demonstrate plenty of weaknesses, though, as in their coverage of the conversation that goes back and forth between an FTP server and its client.

This book covers pretty much everything you'd want to do with a Linux machine as a network server. Read it and see some of the weaknesses in your system--and do something about them before someone else does. --David Wall

Topics covered: Security best practices, approached from the perspective of what can go wrong and what can be done about the problems. Specific coverage goes to all major services, including user management, FTP, HTTP, and firewalling.

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