Network Security Assessment
by Chris McNab
Published by:
O'Reilly & Associates
371 pages
Retail Price: $39.95

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Written in a concise and well thought out manner, the author presents a systematic approach to network security assessment, equivalent to that used by the U.S. and British governments. Key security tools and software are presented early, which are used throughout the book, with an example assessment of a supposedly secure network presented in the final chapter. The book highlights embarrasing ways that private corporate information can be routinely found on the Internet from unsecure servers. Tools are shown how to perform testing of server, Windows, database, and network services, and how to interpret results. Chapters include: Network Security Assessment; The Tools Required; Internet Host and Network Enumeration; IP Network Scanning; Assessing Remote Information Systems; Assessing Web Services; Assessing Remote Maintenance Services; Assessing FTP And Database Services; Assessing Windows Networking Services; Assessing Email Services; Assessing IP VPN Services; Assessing Unix RPC Services; Application-Level Risks; Example Assessment Methodology; TCP, UDP Ports, and ICMP Message Types; Sources of Vulnerability Information. The critical importance of staying up-to-date with patches and the latest exploits is essential.

Although beyond the realm of the book, it would have been a nice addition to include security issues for two other areas - wireless access and certain email vulnerabilities. Each of these subjects could be a book in themselves in how to enhance security for. Within email systems, there needs to be more stringent measures for spam prevention (through tools such as SpamAssassin) and finding ways of preventing the new phenomenon of NDN (non delivery notification) email attacks, where hackers use real and bogus email addressses from web servers to flood the email server and other web servers, causing increased email traffic and possibly DoS. Also, there is only a brief mention of IP version 6, the new protocol to replace IPv4 currently in existence, which more ISPs and host providers (such as here) are starting to support.

The author has done an exceptional job though of explaining the myriad of security risks within corporate networks, assessing a network for weaknesses, the many preventative tools available to gauge (many freely available), and preventative, ongoing methods to use to further bolster network security.

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