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Hardening Cisco Routers [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Akin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As a network administrator, auditor or architect, you know the importance of securing your network and finding security solutions you can implement quickly. This succinct book departs from other security literature by focusing exclusively on ways to secure Cisco routers, rather than the entire network. The rational is simple: If the router protecting a network is exposed to hackers, then so is the network behind it. Hardening Cisco Routers is a reference for protecting the protectors. Included are the following topics:

  • The importance of router security and where routers fit into an overall security plan
  • Different router configurations for various versions of Cisco?s IOS
  • Standard ways to access a Cisco router and the security implications of each
  • Password and privilege levels in Cisco routers
  • Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) control
  • Router warning banner use (as recommended by the FBI)
  • Unnecessary protocols and services commonly run on Cisco routers
  • SNMP security
  • Anti-spoofing
  • Protocol security for RIP, OSPF, EIGRP, NTP, and BGP
  • Logging violations
  • Incident response
  • Physical security
Written by Thomas Akin, an experienced Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Cisco Academic Instructor (CCAI), the book is well organized, emphasizing practicality and a hands-on approach. At the end of each chapter, Akin includes a Checklist that summarizes the hardening techniques discussed in the chapter. The Checklists help you double-check the configurations you have been instructed to make, and serve as quick references for future security procedures.Concise and to the point, Hardening Cisco Routers supplies you with all the tools necessary to turn a potential vulnerability into a strength. In an area that is otherwise poorly documented, this is the one book that will help you make your Cisco routers rock solid.

Editorial Reviews Review

To harden a router is to render it more heavily defended and more difficult to attack. Because routers (by definition) serve as points of entry into your network, it makes sense to devote extra effort to their security. Hardening Cisco Routers shows how to make adjustments to the configurations of routers from Cisco Systems to improve their resistance to attack, particularly external attack. This is essentially a book of specialized Internetwork Operating System (IOS) commands, as well as explanations of their behavior. It'll appeal to the router administrator--employed either by an organization's internal network staff, an outside consultancy, or a service provider--who wants to know which IOS commands he or she should add to routers' configuration files to tighten their security without a lot of hassle.

The great thing about this book is that you can approach it in either of two ways. If you just want to clamp down on your routers' security weaknesses as soon as possible, you can begin with the checklists at the end of each chapter (each of which focuses on a particular area, like SMTP) or the big one in an appendix, which is comprehensive. These checklists include both "how" and "why" information, as exemplified by "Disable ICMP broadcasts with the no ip directed-broadcast command." If you want more information on the big picture, or want to prepare for a specific kind of attack, read the individual chapters for detailed advice on how to set IOS to behave as you want. --David Wall

Topics covered: Internetwork Operating System (IOS) commands you can use to protect Cisco Systems routers from a variety of attacks. Specialized sections deal with security assessment, auditing, access control, privileges, optional services, and the legal importance of your login banners' contents.


"This slim tome is a veritable gem of a book. It is written in a logical and clear style that permits reading from start to finish, but each specific section is complete in it's own right and as such it allows the reader to pick up the book and dip read satisfactorily. I learnt things from this book, and for me that is the best recommendation I can give." - Raza Rizvi, news@UK

Product Details

  • File Size: 407 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 9, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026OR3MG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,682 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The facts Ma'am, just the fact". June 2, 2004
Intended audiences: network administrators, security advisors/auditors, system architects.
This book is, pound for pound, among the best in my technical library.
Having almost no previous knowledge in router hardening (although I was aware of the basics of Cisco routers) a few hours with this book enabled me to review the "hardening" plan submitted by a highly paid security consultant, and provide useful comments on improving the proposal.
No doubt this book is the beginning, not the end, of my education on this subject. But this fine book got me off to a quick and productive start, which is high praise when compared to what could be said about so many other technical titles. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No-nonsense reference for securing Cisco routers December 31, 2002
By A Customer
This book is concise and well written. It covers most, if not all of the areas involved in locking down Cisco routers. And it does so in clearly defined chapters, making it very easy to navigate as a reference. In addition, each topic is accompanied by clear configuration examples.
I also found it very complete. Even covering information which I haven't yet come across in the various NSA guides and Cisco texts on the subject. As someone already mentioned, you'll no longer need to trawl the web and other sources for this info; Thomas Akin and O'Reilly's have done the hard work for you.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Goldmine May 24, 2002
This book is nothing short of a goldmine. I have read many infosec books, including plenty of Cisco security books, and this one packs twice as much quality information with twice as many topics in a tenth of the space. This one is cut in dry. The layout is perfect. The topic is stated, followed by the vulnerability and then the fix. A network admin's dream, without all of the filler.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRUE Goldmine for Cisco admins April 3, 2002
This book is a huge *must* for anyone who works with Cisco routers. I got it because as a network admin I needed a checklist on securing our routers. Showed it to our InfoSec director and he ordered all our routers nationwide to be secured according to the book's checklists!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great compilation for hardening Cisco Routers July 20, 2002
Although the content of the book can be found in the Cisco web site, but why bother digging the web site for it?
Thomas Akin did a great job by providing all the basics (and more) that we should do to hardened Cisco Routers before putting it in a production network specially those routers providing internet access to users.
Danilo Castro Dy
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book April 16, 2002
As a professional, I feel the ratings on these books can be very important. In the case of the reviewer Ron C., who doesn't really have a use for the book, should not give books a low rating because the information isn't useful to him but recommends it highly for someone who is interested in the topic. I do need the information in this book and it is an excellent book with pertinent information.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Edge Devices August 1, 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not a Cisco Security Book. BUT it is a book on how to make your Internet Routers virtually hack/crack proof. Great information on ACL's and gaping security holes that are open on default installs it makes you think.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
No nonsense. No mucking around. Here's the problem, here's the solution. Have to say though, you probably wont find anything new to you inside this book; but its dead handy for checking you've covered most of your bases (then you'll write a common config script and probably never look at it again!! :) )
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good for specific solutions.
Published 2 months ago by franklin reyes
5.0 out of 5 stars Dated, but still required reading for a Cisco Security Administrator
I picked this book up on clearance a few years ago and just got around to reading it. I wish I had read it 10 years ago. Read more
Published on May 7, 2012 by James B Dartez
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical & useful
Even if you do not utilise all of the suggestions its handy to have this quick reference manual close by.
Published on October 13, 2008 by Mr. Kieran D. Omelia
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Thing in a Small Package
Read it leisurely on Monday & Tuesday night. Write out your action plans & change controls on Wednesday & Thursday. Have a more secure network on Friday. Read more
Published on August 13, 2007 by J. Proctor
2.0 out of 5 stars Hardening Cisco Router
If you are new with cisco router's security I could suggest this book. However if you are advanced user, it would be wasted money.Overall I did not like the book...
Published on July 20, 2006 by T. Albayrak
3.0 out of 5 stars A little thin
It's nice to have all of this information in one place. A lot of it is available elesewhere but not all. The checklists are nice. But there's not so much to it. Read more
Published on June 24, 2004 by chavruta
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful, and well written...
If you are just getting into router security, or just need a reference, this is the book for you. It is filled with useful information which can be quickly utilized and can pay... Read more
Published on December 10, 2002
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