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Book details of 'Practical Unix and Internet Security'

Cover of Practical Unix and Internet Security
TitlePractical Unix and Internet Security
Author(s)Simson Garfinkel, Gene Spafford
PublishedApril 1996
PublisherO'Reilly & Associates
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Score: score: 3.0 ***--  Vote for this book

The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Practical Unix and Internet Security':

Reviewer wrote:
Practical Unix & Internet Security is on its second edition, and its maturity shows. To call this highly readable book comprehensive is an understatement. The breadth is vast, from fundamentals (definitions of computer security; the history of Unix) and commonsense but little-observed security basics (making backups; physical and personnel security; buggy software) to modern software (NFS, WWW, firewalls) and the handling of security incidents. The section on users and passwords alone is 21 pages long--and worth every page. Useful appendices include a Unix security checklist, a list of emergency response organizations, and many references to electronic and paper resources. The Internet covers too much and moves too quickly for any book to cover every security aspect of every piece of software, but this book comes close. More importantly, it gives you an exceptional grounding in the fundamental issues of security and teaches the right questions to ask--something that will stay with you long after today's software is obsolete.

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
The title is certainly apt. This book is definitely practical, and if your job involves system security, at whatever level, this book belongs on your desk. The expansion of the title is no mere attempt to gain market share: this edition is twice the size of the old one. The book is well planned and comprehensive. While the emphasis and examples are from the UNIX operating system and Internet protocols, background information is given on related (and important) topics such as modems and physical security. The writing and examples are clear and understandable, and should present no problems to the intelligent novice, but the additional material ensures that there is value here even for the UNIX guru. The six "parts" of the work (plus a set of appendices) present logical divisions of the topic. "Computer Security Basics" begins with an introductory chapter defining computer security, an operating system and UNIX. It continues with a discussion of policy and guideline considerations. Part two deals with the responsibility of the user. The chapters deal with the defence of accounts and the protection of data through users and passwords; user accounts, "groups" and the "superuser"; and details of the UNIX file system. Part three looks at the system side of security, with attention to backups, integrity, auditing, malicious software, and physical and personnel security. Part four covers communications aspects. This is highly important considering the strengths of UNIX in communications, the use of UNIX machines as bridges between other proprietary systems, and the participation of UNIX systems in the Internet. Chapters are devoted to modems, UUCP, TCP/IP, and Kerberos. Part five could be seen as an extension, dealing with advanced network security topics such as firewalls. The sixth section begins to move away from strictly technical aspects, and starts to deal with your response to "security incidents". This may seem, to some, either irrelevant or defeatist. However, it points out an important attitude to have with respect to security: assume that, at some point, you are going to fail--and be prepared. The chapters here are no less practical than the foregoing, detailing the discovery of break-ins, denial of service attacks, and the (U.S.) legal aspects of security. (I appreciate the authors' forthrightness at this point: the chapter is entitled "Computer Security and U.S. Law", and doesn't assume one legal system fits all.) A updating and expansion of a comprehensive and dependable classic in the security field copyright Robert M. Slade, 1993

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