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Hacker's Challenge 2: Test Your Network Security & Forensic Skills Paperback – December 18, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0072226300 ISBN-10: 0072226307 Edition: 2nd

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Awesome....Incredibly informative, insightful, as well as a lot of fun to read. Recommended for anyone who values the integrity and security of their network." --Shawn Bracken, Principal Research Engineer, Cenzic, Inc.

Do you have what it takes to keep hackers out of your network? This unique volume tests your computer forensics and response skills with 20 brand-new, real-life security incidents as told by top-tier security experts. In an entertaining and informative style, this book addresses key security topics, including Denial of Service, malicious code, Web application attacks, wireless technologies, insider and outsider attacks, and more. Each challenge unfolds like a chapter from a novel and includes details of the incident--how the break-in was detected, evidence, and background such as log files and network diagrams--and is followed by a series of questions for you to solve. In Part II, you'll find a detailed explanation of exactly what was happening in each incident and the answers to the questioned posed in Part I, along with prevention and mitigation techniques.

Excerpt from "One Thing Leads to Another":

The Challenge: John is the I.T. Manager for a movie company working on the special effects for a hit film.... But the fan site has just posted an unauthorized clip of one of the most anticipated scenes in the movie.... A postproduction team member put the clip on the server but no one accessed it after that, at least not via FTP.... Then it happened again: more footage was released.... The Web master of the fan site supplied the e-mail address from which he received the files. John checked the ssh logs and the Web server logs.... He found an IP address he had not seen before.... He pinged the IP address then checked his arp table to get the machine's MAC address.... He began tracing the cable back to its source: the proxy server, which had not been used in 8 months....

The Solution: After reviewing the log files included in the challenge, propose your assessment: How could the employees have approached the initial investigation differently that may have helped them get to the culprit sooner? What does the lack of evidence in the ftp and ssh logs reveal? Was John's method of tracking down the proxy server the best method? What is the best solution to solve the vulnerability? Then, turn to the experts' answers to find out what really happened.

About the Author

Mike Schiffman, CISSP, has been involved in most every technical arena computer security has to offer. He has researched and developed many cutting edge technologies including tools such as firewalk and tracerx as well as the ubiquitously used low-level packet shaping library libnet. Mike has led audit teams through engagements for fortune 500 companies in the banking, automotive and manufacturing industries. He has spoken in front of several institutions and government agencies such as: NSA, CIA, DOD, AFWIC, SAIC, and army intelligence. Mike is the lead author of Hacker’s Challenge, and has written for numerous technical journals such as Software Magazine and has written articles for securityfocus.com, and authored many security white papers. Currently, Mike is the Director of Security Architecture for @stake, the leading provider of professional security services. Previous to @stake, Mike was the Director of Research and Development for Guardent, Inc.

Bill Pennington, (CISSP), is a Principal Security Consultant with Guardent Inc. Bill has five years of professional experience in information security, ten in information technology. He is familiar with Linux, Solaris, Windows, and OpenBSD, and is a Certified Information Security Systems Practitioner, Certified Cisco Network Administrator (CCNA), Certified Internet Security Specialist (CISS), and a Microsoft Certified Product Specialist, Windows NT 4.0. He has broad experience in computer forensics, installing and maintaining VPNs, Cisco Pix firewalls, IDS, and in monitoring systems. Bill was a contributing author to several chapters of the original Hacker’s Challenge.

David Pollino Director of the Wireless Center of Excellence at @stake, Inc., conducts leading research into wireless security issues. He is a respected information security consultant with an extensive networking background. His wireless and network security expertise is published in magazines and books. David speaks on security issues at several industry events. David was a contributing author to several chapters of the original Hacker’s Challenge.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hacking Exposed
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media; 2nd edition (December 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072226307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072226300
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,211,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
This book is very real-world.
Eric Kent
Namely, since the first book was so amazingly good, it is very hard to beat it and most people will compare it to the first one.
Dr Anton Chuvakin
Great book for a curious security beginner..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Richard Bejtlich on January 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read and reviewed the original "Hacker's Challenge" in Nov 01, and gave that book four stars. Mike Schiffman and crew have recaptured the magic and published another winner: "Hacker's Challenge 2" (HC2). This is the sort of book that needs to be used when interviewing new hires or promoting technical staff. If the candidate has read the book and knows the answers to the challenges, she at least demonstrates her commitment to learning, as well as an ability to remember what she reads. If she can solve the challenges without having read the book, she shows a higher level of skill. If she has no clue how to respond to the challenges, you can move on to the next candidate.

The majority of HC2 involves three subjects. Challenges 1,3,7, and 16 revolve around wireless insecurities. Challenges 2,5,6,15, and 17 discuss network-based attacks. Solving the mysteries of challenges 4,11,12,14,18, and 19 require log analysis. A few other issues are sprinkled through the text: social engineering (ch. 8), host-based digital forensics (ch. 9), a man-in-the-middle attack against SSH (ch. 13), and a crafty buffer overflow tutorial (ch. 10). None of the material struck me as being exceptionally original, although this accurately reflects the sorts of cases handled by most consultants! I was impressed by the level of explanation offered by challenge 17, where vulnerabilities associated with VLAN 1 were exposed.

HC2 has a few weaknesses. I was sorry to see Peter Lemonjello fired in challenge 5, but he appeared to strike again in challenge 11. Pages 126-8 featured some of the oddest techno-babble in print, offering obscure references to Rabindranath Tagore and condescending dialogue with a tech support staffer.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dr Anton Chuvakin on January 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
The second "The Hacker's Challenge" brought with it another sleepless night of fun security reading. 19 attack cases with solutions and mitigation and prevention strategies are described by a team of known expert authors led by Mike Schiffman.
Impressive wireless DoS attack, social engineering penetrations (including one case with no technical penetration whatsoever), mysterious web defacements, SQL injection, DNS tunneling case and router attack inform and educate, just as the first book did. Authors' mildly perverse sense of humor keeps the reader in a good mood. The book begs to be read in one helping (and then reread, as needed)! "The Challenge 2" again covers a wide range of victims and attack methods.
An interesting case asks for writing an exploit and provides a walkthrough for a simple local buffer overflow attack, a novel feature of this edition.
At about scenario 12, things start to heat up and solving the case starts to require some thinking. Harder to crack cases and more sophisticated attackers up the fun level and value of information learned. Just as in the first book, solving the case usually takes some log analysis, some security knowledge and careful reading about character actions and observations.
In addition to technology-astute readers, the book will also satisfy the hard-core security policy fans. Some of the questions asked about the cases involve policy decisions.
As for the book minor blemishes, it suffers a bit from a "sequel syndrome". Namely, since the first book was so amazingly good, it is very hard to beat it and most people will compare it to the first one. Let's say that "The Challenge 2" is almost as good as its predecessor. A couple of scenarios sound somewhat ridiculous (e.g. one on "wireless terrorists").
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By sixmonkeyjungle on February 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Hacker's Challenge 2 is a sort of practical exam for the Hacking Exposed series. Hacker's Challenge was a terrific book for putting some incident response and forensic skills to use and practicing for the real thing. Hacker's Challenge 2 continues the tradition and should be a must read for anyone who works with network security and incident response. The style of the challenges is fairly entertaining and the plots are so engaging you may not want to put the book down. Its like a best-selling mystery novel for network security techies. It may not affect the quality of the book overall, but I preferred having the authors of the individual challenges identified as they were in Hacker's Challenge. However, you should definitely buy this book!

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Harring on January 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Hacker's Challenge 2 is a great review course for anyone in the security industry, or just a sysadmin who needs to know basic security skills (that means all of you sysadmins). The challenges range in ease of forensic review from really simple (DoS attacks and packet sniffing) to very challenging to diagnose.
Probably the best part of the book is that along with every explanation of what happened, is an accompanying explanation of how it happened and what could be done to prevent it.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to test or expand their network and host security skills.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Marco De Vivo on May 30, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes, Slightly better than the first edition.
However, if you need or like this kind of books give first a try to "Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box" by Ryan Russell, the same idea, but a lot more illustrative and easy to read (still with the same level of very up to date information).
Some extra bucks to spend ?. . . OK, then try both, they complement each other very well.
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