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Know Your Enemy: Revealing the Security Tools, Tactics, and Motives of the Blackhat Community Paperback – August 31, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (August 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201746131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201746136
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,768,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

For centuries, military organizations have relied on scouts to gather intelligence about the enemy. The scouts' mission was to find out who the enemy was, what they were doing, how they might attack, the weapons they use, and their ultimate objectives. Time and again this kind of data has proven critical in defending against, and defeating, the enemy.

In the field of information security, scouts have never existed. Very few organizations today know who their enemy is or how they might attack; when they might attack; what the enemy does once they compromise a system; and, perhaps most important, why they attack.

The Honeynet Project is changing this. A research organization of thirty security professionals, the group is dedicated to learning the tools, tactics, and motives of the blackhat community. As with military scouts, the mission is to gather valuable information about the enemy.

The primary weapon of the Honeynet Project is the Honeynet, a unique solution designed to capture and study the blackhat's every move. In this book you will learn in detail not only what the Honeynet Project has discovered about adversaries, but also how Honeynets are used to gather critical information.

Know Your Enemy includes extensive information about

  • The Honeynet: A description of a Honeynet; information on how to plan, build, and maintain one; and coverage of risks and other related issues.
  • The Analysis: Step-by-step instructions on how to capture and analyze data from a Honeynet.
  • The Enemy: A presentation of what the project learned about the blackhat community, including documented compromised systems.

Aimed at both security professionals and those with a nontechnical background, this book teaches the technical skills needed to study a blackhat attack and learn from it. The CD includes examples of network traces, code, system binaries, and logs used by intruders from the blackhat community, collected and used by the Honeynet Project.


About the Author

The Honeynet Project is a nonprofit security research organization made up of volunteers. These volunteers are dedicated to learning the tools, tactics, and motives of the blackhat community and sharing lessons learned. The Honeynet Project has 30 members, and works with various other organizations through The Honeynet Research Alliance.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Lance Spitzner takes us step-by-step through real world attacks initiated by real blackhats and crackers.
Richard La Bella
I can't recommend this book very highly, but the bundled CD appears to be quite useful, so if you have the money to spare, you might give it a try.
Amazon Customer
Overall, this is an extremely valuable book for those with responsiblity for (and/or interest in) computer security.
Brian D. Mcmahon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Richard Bejtlich on September 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a senior engineer for network security operations. I reviewed and provided feedback on a draft of "Know Your Enemy" (KYE) and I am credited on page xiii. This book by the Honeynet Project breaks new ground in the security and publishing communities. It is the first substantial "intelligence report" on those who use the Internet for destructive means, and will enlighten readers of all skill and experience levels.

As a former Air Force intelligence officer, I share the Honeynet Project's desire to gain insight into the tools, tactics, and intentions of the enemy. After explaining the technical details of configuring the honeynet, the authors discuss the attacks launched against their monitored network. The book's level of detail is excellent, as it includes network traces, log entries, and even keystroke captures. This multi-dimensional analysis is exactly the sort of information needed by intrusion detectors and other security personnel.

Beyond the descriptions of various incidents, the authors reveal several key insights. First, the security community must look beyond the tools used by the adversary, and understand tactics and intentions. Second, data collection is critical; alerts mean little without supporting evidence. Third, defense in depth applies to intrusion detection, as it is best to use logs from routers, firewalls, IDS, and hosts together when analyzing events.

The main reason I gave the book four stars was the inclusion of 100 pages of IRC logs in chapter 11. This did not add much to the 328 page book. The analysis of the chat sessions near the end of the chapter was more helpful. That section could have paraphrased the chatting or made reference to transcripts on a CD-ROM.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dr Anton Chuvakin on April 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Know Your Enemy" from the Honeynet Project...
team (led by Lance Spitzner) is an amazing account on adventures in computer
security. This superb book provides the summary of two years of the project
operation. Aimed to gather and analyze more information about malicious
hackers, the project provided security community with unique insights into
attacks, tricks, and even personalities of hackers. The network (now a
combination of networks in several places worldwide) was deployed for the
single purpose of being penetrated by remote attackers (or blackhats, as
they are called in the book). Their actions were then recorded, studied and
presented in this book and papers on the project web site
.... Real production systems (Linux, UNIX,
Windows) were deployed within the Honeynet.
Leveraging his military background, Lance Spitzner explains why it is
crucial to get first hand information on computer underground operations.
"Information is power" and in computer security there is a serious lack of
information about the adversaries. Most of the available information comes
as 'too little, too late' such as for a company that gets first-hand
knowledge of hackers right after seeing "u r 0wned" on their web site. And
even in this case other companies cannot learn from mistakes, since the
break-in will be kept as secret as possible.
The typical Honeynet break-in produces the following information. What
reconnaissance activity was performed by an attacker before the intrusion?
Which network service was exploited? What exact exploit string or buffer
overflow was used? What attacked did after getting access to the system? How
he or she retained access to the system?
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ben Rothke on March 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Many an author has written about hackers and computer criminals, but more often it's not from first-hand knowledge. Know Your Enemy is unique is that it is written in the first person. The book is a chronicle of The Honeynet Project; which is a group of security professionals dedicated to learning the tools, tactics and motives of hackers in order to share what they have learned from those encounters. The group was formed due to the every growing complexity of today's networks, and that no single individual has the complete set of skills necessary to understand the forensics behind computer attacks.
The book centers around honey pots and honey network that the Honeynet Project designed. A honey pot is a computer designed to look like something that an intruder can hack into. One example of a honey pot is to install a machine on a network with no particular purpose other than to log all attempted accesses to it. Similarly, a honeynet is a network designed to be compromised.
The function of the honeynet is that when attackers probe, attack and attempt to hack a system, the administrators of the honeynet are able to observe all of their activities, and use that knowledge to design stronger systems. By building such a network and understanding the scope attacks against it, one can understand their adversary, and can better protect their corporate information systems assets.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part shows how the group planned and built the Honeynet. The second part goes into an in-depth analysis of the logs gathered during attacks. While part 3 looks at the threats, motives and tools that the enemy employs in their attacks.
The book is written by technical experts, but in a language that doesn't require a strong technical background.
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