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on April 2, 2015
Great book. Helped me a lot through my research paper.
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on July 29, 2013
The good;

This book is well done for what it is... a basic outline of why friewalls started to be needed and how come things worked the way they did. It is not too hard for someone that can read english but perhaps not computer gik talk.

The bad;

The world has moved on and this stuff is of little use to todays computer user... i.e. the big bad KGB has the codes they needed and most people no longer care that someone can hack their Facebook accounts to see what you said in the emails.
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on January 3, 2013
First let me start by saying I'm new to firewalls, but have been a computer systems builder for years and configuring Windows operating systems for the past 5 years. I was looking for a primer book.. The book covers fundamentals and the authors give in-depth examples for UNIX systems. About a third of the way through the book it remarked about the Windows 95 and their new NT technology (which has been around since about 2000). i finished reading the book, allot about UNIX and non existent on Microsoft products. Not a total waste of money but I finished the book feeling like i sat down for a dinner and was only served a side salad. Back to Amazon book list for me!
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on October 4, 2010
This is an introductory text, that is entertainly written. I originally read the first edition of this book. While preparing a recent seminar I found that I wanted to reference it, but then realized that the material was somewhat dated. The second edition is from 2003, which is still 7 years old, but I find that the information is still very useful, the definition of a classic.

More than a mere book on firewalls, this is a primer for the entire workings of the Internet Protocols. It has clear explanations of DNS, DHCP, TCP, UDP, ICMP, SSL, FTP and many other protocols without all the nitty gritty details that you'll find in a book like "TCP/IP Illustrated." <http://www.amazon.com/TCP-IP-Illustrated-Vol-Protocols/dp/0201633469>, which I recommend if you need more technical detail.

The authors describe the risks associated with the protocols and strategies for protecting your systems. But, they go further, and explain other attacks and how they might circumvent the barriers that a sysadmin might erect.

The exposition on Firewalls and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) begins in Part IV. There are specific strategies given for protecting several protocols. No specifics on CISCO PIX, sorry guys, the examples use software generally available on Unix (FreeBSD). But, that's mainly a syntax issue, the principles are the same for the large comercial firewall systems. But, once again, if you need specifics, you'll need to read the manuals. This book will give you the foundation to understand what you read in the manuals. Firewall manuals are dry in comparison and generally lack strategic recommendations.

The first appendix does a decent job of explaining public key cryptography. The second appendix is "dated" though in that it attempts to give "links" to other resources. After 7+ years, you can imagine the problems with that.

Likewise the bibliography mainly cites texts from the 1990's; although there is one reference from 1872: "Through the Looking Glass", Lewis Carroll. Typical of the entertaining quotes throughout the book, "When I use a word. . .it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less." And perhaps that's a fitting summary of this book's purpose, to familiarize you with the meanings of the "Carrollesque" words associated with Internet Security.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2006
You should buy this book. Then you should read this book.
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This book is an excellent comprehensive introduction to computer security from policies to technologies. However, as pointed out by other reviewers, the depth of content when it comes to specifics is rather shallow, but one must take into account that to discuss each of these topics in depth would require volumes of text, and much of the specific information can easily be found in texts devoted specifically to those individual topics or from online sources. Given the breadth of information discussed, I think it strikes a very effective balance in displaying the information necessary to understand the basics of computer security.

The book should have a home on the bookshelf of anyone who deals with computer systems. It also serves as a great primer for those in management or anyone else who is less than technical but needs a pretty concise 30,000 ft. level overview to understand what their technical staff is talking about.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This second edition has all the qualities the first edition had 10 years ago: Their writing is clear, they provide a sober assessment of the costs & benefits of various services (as opposed to other reviewers, I don't think the authors had much of an anti-Microsoft bias, just a realistic perspective on where Windows products are regarding security). The book is still fairly compact and it comes with an excellent biography and pointers to security software.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2003
Addison-Wesley in cooperation with William Cheskwick, Steven Bellovin and Aviel Rubin have produced yet another well-researched publication.
This book is all about Internet security, firewalls, VPNs and much more, all of which are hot topics and renowned buzzwords within today's IT industry.
In the first chapter, the authors express their view on network security and demonstrate the different methods an Administrator can use in order to secure their network(s). This is carried out by categorizing security into Host-Based and Perimeter security.
The second and third chapters are approximately 50 pages covering basic protocols, including IPv6, DNS, FTP, SNMP, NTP, RPC-based protocols and a several more like the famous NAT. The chapters are concluded with a summary on wireless security.
The next five chapters (chapter 4 to 8 inclusive), analyze various attacks used against networks and server operating systems in an attempt to exploit them. There is a wealth of information concerning hacking, allowing the reader to enter the mind of a hacker in terms of what they think and how they proceed to meet their goal.
One complete chapter is dedicated to various password tactics in which one can ensure that a hacker's life is made more difficult should they attempt to break into a few accounts using well-known methods related to password guessing. CHAP, PAP, Radius and PKI are also analyzed.
Chapter 9 to 12 are dedicated to Firewalls and VPNs which, in passing, happen to be my favourite chapters. They offer an in-depth analysis of the Firewall concept, packet filtering, application-level filtering and circuit level gateways. It proceeds with information about the filtering services, giving detailed examples on how one could use IPChains to create a simple or complex set of rules to efficiently block/permit packets entering in and out the network. This is perhaps the only downside to this informative book, where IPTables would have been beneficial to include, since people rarely use IPchains these days.
Lastly, chapter 12 talks about VPNs, their encryption methods, and considers both their weaknesses and advantages.
In addition to this, the book continues with several more chapters covering general questions that may arise for the reader, such as intranet routing, administration security and intrusion detection systems.
Towards the end, the authors talk about their personal experiences with people trying to hack into their companies and, as a result, explain the step- by- step process of how they managed to fight them and secure their networks. These pages are simply a goldmine for anyone interested in this area.
In summary, I'd say that the book is well worth its money and would suggest it to anyone interested in network security and firewalls. I am certain they won't be disappointed simply because the book has a lot to offer...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2003
This book is not just about firewalls, although that is its
primary focus. Nor does it try to cover the entire field of
Internet security, although it does provide a fairly good survey
of that field along the way. A fair description would be that it
is about building a security strategy around a firewall, which is
the practical outcome with which most potential readers should be
concerned.
The first edition of this book was, for nearly a decade, pretty
much the only work on building firewalls. This edition is a
nearly complete rewrite, not so much because of the new
functionality needed of firewalls, but because system
administrators no longer write their own firewall software. In
some ways, this has given more attention to the services being
protected, reducing the emphasis on firewalls per se.
Some readers will undoubtedly consider parts of this book to
engage in Microsoft-bashing. I don't see it that way, for
reasons that the authors sum up in the introduction, in one of
their "security truisms": "Security is a tradeoff with
convenience." They do consider Windows hosts on their networks
to be insecure (and possibly unsecurable), but that has as much
to do with letting users install software on their own machines
as it does with the OS itself. Not only do the authors fully
intend the implication that there will be different tradeoffs to
be made for different situations, but they illustrate this in a
number of situations, where they describe implications of
tradeoffs that are driven by different end-user needs.
The book is quite complete, although the technology changes
quickly enough that this will be quite a bit less true by the
time a third edition might be written. The only issue that I
think deserved more attention was that of multi-homing.
Protecting a multihomed network is particularly difficult because
extra configuration is needed to identify packet spoofing, and
any filtering done by the upstream providers will make life even
more difficult. This problem deserves at least more recognition,
if not a full treatment of its own.
This book is not the ultimate reference on the topic that the
first edition was in its time. But it is not possible for any
one book to fill that role any more, and if it's no longer the
only book, it's still the most important. If you are after that
"ultimate reference," your best bet is probably the combination
of this book and Zwicky (et. al.), "Building Internet Firewalls".
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2003
This is THE book on firewalls.
If you want information from the authoritative sources, this is the book to get.
If you can tolerate the anti-Microsoft aspect, read on!
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