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Hackers Beware: The Ultimate Guide to Network Security Paperback – August 23, 2001

ISBN-13: 075-2064710097 ISBN-10: 0735710090 Edition: 1st
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Hackers Beware: The Ultimate Guide to Network Security + Counter Hack Reloaded: A Step-by-Step Guide to Computer Attacks and Effective Defenses (2nd Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Hackers Beware, Eric Cole succeeds in explaining how hackers break into computers, steal information, and deny services to machines' legitimate users. An intended side effect of his documentary efforts is a feeling for how network-connected computers should be configured for maximum resistance to attack. Cole, who works with the attack-monitoring SANS Institute as an instructor and security consultant, conveys to his readers specific knowledge of offensive and defensive weaponry as well as general familiarity with attack strategies and good security practices. Hackers Beware is a good primer and really earns its price by going into enough detail to enable readers to actually do something to make their resources safer. It also enables its readers to understand more specialized security texts, including Stephen Northcutt's fine Intrusion Signatures and Analysis.

Cole's didactic style is largely conversational, embracing the fact that most computer exploits can be conveyed as stories about what hackers want and the steps they take to achieve their goals. He punctuates his prose passages with line drawings that clarify what gets passed among the machines involved in an attack, and pauses frequently to show programs' user interfaces and passages from their logs. Cole explains all the jargon he uses--a characteristic that alone distinguishes this book from many of its competitors. --David Wall

Topics covered: What motivates black-hat hackers, and the technical means they use to go about satisfying their ambitions. General attack strategies--spoofing, password cracking, social engineering, and buffer overflows, among others--are explained, and the tools used to carry them out are catalogued. The same goes for defensive tools and practices.


Every example in this book has information on how it works and provides preventive solutions. The technical solutions are excellent. -- Guy Bruneau, Intrusion Detection System Coordinator and an Incident Handling Team Supervisor, Canadian Department of National Defense (CND)

The depth of Eric's understanding is obvious and his extraordinary teaching style comes right through to the reader. -- –Alan Paller, Director of Research, The SANS Institute

This book is an excellent reference—a tutorial on attacks and insight into the thinking of attackers. -- –Stephen Northcutt, Director, Global Incident Analysis Center (GIAC); best-selling co-author of Network Intrusion Detection (Second Edition) and Instrusion Signatures & Analysis

This book is an outstanding reference that will undoubtedly help your efforts to protect your systems from the bad guys. -- Lance Spitzner, Founder, The Honeynet Project; Senior Security Architect, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (August 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735710090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735710092
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,114,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Eric Cole is a technology visionary and computer security specialist who thrives on solving complex problems. Cole is an industry-recognized security expert with over 20 years of hands-on experience. His career is highlighted on starting and creating new companies, organizations and products. He loves creating new entities and discovering creative ways of solving complex problems. Cole's primary love is cyber security; but, he understands in order to be successful at securing an organization, you must have a detailed understanding of networks and related fields. He is passionate about customer service and his role as a network security expert and always exceeds his clients' expectations.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Richard Bejtlich on September 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a senior engineer for network security operations. I have attended Eric Cole's excellent SANS classes and consider him a professional acquaintance. "Hackers Beware" is a welcome contribution to the security community. Although some of the material is redundant, you're bound to gain new insights on network intrusions by reading this book.
The message of "Hackers Beware" is clear: prevention is preferred, but detection is mandatory. To discover intrusions, one must understand the tools and tactics of the adversary. To this end, "Hackers Beware" devotes chapters to information gathering, spoofing, session hijacking, denial of service, buffer overflows, password security, access preservation, and log cleaning. Some of the material in these chapters is based on the "practicum" required of SANS students.
My favorite section, without doubt, was chapter 17: "Other Types of Attacks." It features many valuable essays by SANS students on BIND NXT exploitation, cookie-based overflows, SNMP enumeration, and other topics.
Publishing student material has its drawbacks, however. "Hackers Beware" is repetitive, a sin given the book's page count (778). Why include yet another explanation of buffer overflows in chapter 14, for example, when a whole chapter (7) already discusses them? (Actually, Brent Hughes' work in chapter 14 is more enlightening!) Furthermore, the "fundamentals" of UNIX and NT chapters are much less informative compared to Ed Skoudis' chapters in "Counter Hack.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ben Rothke on April 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
While Hackers Beware may not be the `Ultimate Guide to Network Security' in my opinion, it still is nonetheless an excellent book on how networks attacks are performed.
The book details how attackers gain access into different type of operating systems and hardware platforms. More importantly, Cole describes countermeasures to use to defend against the various types of attacks and exploits he describes.
Overall, an excellent reference for anyone needing to understand how hacking works and how to defend against them.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Todd Hawley on January 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am not a system admin nor do I play one on TV. However being a computer professional, I have an interest in the topic of network security, and how crackers and "script kiddies" infiltrate network systems. This book offers a wealth of network security information that even "novices" like myself can easily follow. And in some of the examples Cole discusses, it's almost scary to discover how easy it is for someone with even a little bit of knowledge to infiltrate a computer network. Cole's book while dauntingly large contains a wealth of information that any security professional should know about. One of my sys admin friends was commenting to me that books like Cole's allow the "script kiddies" to learn about exploits without doing any of the work that a "black hat (cracker)" or "white hat (hacker)" might do to exploit a system. However big a risk that may possibly be, I still feel it's best for any security professional to be informed about all the various types of exploits they may deal with. And with a book of this size, there are obviously lots of them to discuss.
Cole discusses exploits against Linux, UNIX, Windows, and Windows NT and the myriad of programs (password crackers, network sniffers, back door programs, etc.) designed to break into other people's systems. Each program is described in full and what it does. Cole also offers suggestions and solutions in various chapters to keep unauthorized users from accessing various systems.
While you will never be 100% safe from an "attack," Cole's book offers ways to keep your system from being attacked or ensure that the chances of it actually happening remain remote, or the "damage" from such attacks stays minimal.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Marco De Vivo on February 19, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are four main kinds of computer security books:
1) Books containing large enumerations of known vulnerabilities and attacks.
2) Books covering the theoretical related aspects.
3) Books on computer forensic areas.
4) Some kind of hybrids of two or more of the above.
'Hackers Beware' is a well balanced hybrid of 1) and 2) categories.
I think of it as a sort of Hacking Exposed (the book) enriched with theoretical background and detailed explanations.
In the plus side, this book offers:
- Well structured by kind of attacks and by kind of Operating Systems.
- Well written chapters on Fundamentals of Unix and NT.
- The author, a recognized specialist and SANS' high rated instructor.
- Full of well documented analysis of relevant exploits.
- Discussions (although short) about 'Rootkits', 'Buffer Overflows' and 'Covering the Tracks'.
- Chapter 17, 'Other Types of Attack', specially for the PGP ADK Exploit presentation.
In the minus side:
- As a book relaying on 'current' exploits, it could easily be short-lived. If future additional editions are scheduled (a la Hacking Exposed)...OK, else ...Beware!
- Chapter 18, can be found (updated) in the Internet. Chapters 19 and 20 are just fillers.
I use this book mainly as a reference book for my (undergraduate) students.
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