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Book details of 'Practical Firewalls (Practical)'

Cover of Practical Firewalls (Practical)
TitlePractical Firewalls (Practical)
Author(s)Terry William Ogletree
PublishedJune 2000
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Practical Firewalls (Practical)':

Reviewer wrote:
Solid knowledge of firewalls isn't the exclusive domain of specialists anymore--everyone needs to know something about protecting private networks from the public Internet, while keeping Internet connectivity easy. Practical Firewalls combines a solid grounding in TCP/IP firewall strategies with advice on how to use a variety of firewall software, most of which is freeware and shareware for Unix variants. Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0 is explained, too, so that you're covered if you prefer to work under Microsoft Windows NT. Author Terry Ogletree opens with a discussion of network theory (perhaps not necessary here) and the various schools of thought regarding firewall placement. In his explanations of packet filtering, bastion host implementation, application gateways, and proxy servers, Ogletree complements prose with good conceptual diagrams and the occasional listing of an events sequence. He uses sequences of events, for example, to contrast standard FTP with FTP under proxy service. The conceptual material is backed with a survey of firewall products, what they do, and what their relative merits are. Consequently, several products are documented in greater detail, and you get advice on their proper use. The result is an excellent conceptual overview and a snapshot of the state of the art; readers walk away knowing what to expect from a firewall, and understanding their responsibilities in setting one up. You might want to supplement this book with Maximum Linux Security, an excellent Linux security text, if you use that operating system; or Building Linux and OpenBSD Firewalls, for its in-depth treatment of ipchains under those systems. --David Wall Topics covered: Firewall concepts and practices, with emphasis on TCP Wrappers, TIS Firewall Toolkit, SOCKS, SQUID, ipfwadm, ipchains, and Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0.

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
Unfortunately, not much of this book is really practical. And a lot of it is not about firewalls, either. Part one presents the fundamentals of understanding firewalls and security. Chapter one looks at firewall basics, mentioning many topics but doing a poor job of explanation. Since the material is very generic there is almost no detail. The TCP/IP content, in chapter two, is also quite vague, with lots of irrelevant details like DNS (Domain Name Service) record fieldnames, but little related to security, and that of low quality. Security and the Internet gives a general listing of threats, most not related to firewalls, in chapter three. Chapter four has some good discussion of some aspects of policy and design, but it is limited. There are rough outlines of firewalls structures, but the material on pros and cons is poor. (As the book progresses there are increasing amounts of repetitious text, as this chapter amply demonstrates.) The review of packet filtering, in chapter five, has some good points, but too much of the text relies on "one size fits all" pronouncements. Again, there is a lot of irrelevant detail on TCP/IP headers and not much on, say, filtering rules. Because a bastion host is very highly secured itself, chapter six is merely general security material, touching on too many operating systems for good coverage. Some good points but limited scope makes the proxy server topic weak in chapter seven. Chapter eight does slightly better on auditing, by limiting itself to UNIX and Windows NT. Part two looks at encryption, the relationship of which to firewalls is problematic. Chapter nine does not really cover encryption technology, being simply a set of definitions of basic terms. Since a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is defined, in chapter ten, in terms of tunneling, the material is necessarily restricted to that subsection of the field. Chapter eleven does not really tell the reader how to use PGP (the Pretty Good Privacy encryption program) but only deals with some aspects of installation. Part three touches on installation and configuration of a number of products. Chapter twelve lists a number of firewall related tools, for UNIX, that are available on the Internet. "Lists" is definitely the operative word: so little information is given about the programs that chapters thirteen through sixteen cover basic installation and components of TCP Wrappers, TIS (Trusted Information Systems) Firewall Toolkit, SOCKS, and SQUID. ipfwadm and ipchains (for Linux) are described in chapter seventeen. Turning to Windows NT, chapter eighteen recounts the installation of Microsoft Proxy Server and nineteen does the same with the Elron CommandView firewall. Firewall appliances, or standalone units are promoted in chapter twenty. Chapter twenty one closes off with the same kind of vague generalities given in part one. The most valuable part of this book is part three: even though the material is very limited, it is, at least, of some practical use. Most of the other content is of questionable accuracy or completeness, and therefore restricted in practicality. As noted, large sections of the text aren't even about firewalls. This book definitely does not compare with the classics like Cheswick and Bellovin's "Firewalls and Internet Security" (see reviews) or Chapman and Zwicky's "Building Internet Firewalls" (see reviews): a few suggestions about installation of specific programs does not make up for a lack of explanation of fundamental concepts, attacks, and defensive strategies. copyright Robert M. Slade, 2000

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Book description:

Practical Firewalls enables you to get a thorough understanding of all of the basic concepts involved in creating and maintaining a firewall. Aimed at beginning to intermediate network administrators, this book presents information in a manner so that you do not need a large background in the networking field. It provides "real world" methods, problems and solutions of value to you as a user. After reading this book, you will go away with a good understanding of firewall security policies, firewall design strategies, hardware specifications/requirements/variations, software/firewall tools, VPN and Tunneling, monitoring and auditing techniques, and IP chains.

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