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Mastering FreeBSD and OpenBSD Security 1st Edition

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 063-6920006268
ISBN-10: 0596006268
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Yanek Korff graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary and is currently a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Mr. Korff joined Bell Atlantic as a Systems Engineer where he played a major role in the strategy, design, and deployment of a key Northern Virginia test facility. He later joined Cigital, Inc., a software quality management company, where he played a central role in the design of their systems infrastructure. He is now an essential member of the Information Security division at America Online. During his career, Mr. Korff has been able to identify and mitigate information security risks particularly relating to host-based BSD security. By leveraging his experience, he has been able to apply security fundamentals to influence business and industry practices.

Paco Hope is a Technical Manager with Cigital. His areas of expertise software security, security testing, and casino gaming. He specializes in analyzing the security of software, software systems, and software development processes. Paco frequently speaks at conferences such as the Better Software Conference, STAR East, and STAR West. He conducts training on risk-based security testing, writing security requirements, and software security fundamentals. He can be reached at

Bruce Potter is a Senior Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton. Prior to working at Booz Allen Hamilton, Bruce served as a software security consultant for Cigital in Dulles, VA. Bruce is the founder of the Shmoo Group of security professionals. His areas of expertise include wireless security, large-scale network architectures, smartcards, and promotion of secure software engineering practices. Bruce coauthored the books 802.11 Security and Mac OS X Security. He was trained in computer science at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (December 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596006268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596006266
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,823,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd R. on May 15, 2005
Format: Paperback

Mastering FreeBSD and OpenBSD Security

By Yanek Korff, Paco Hope, Bruce Potter

First Edition March 2005

ISBN: 0-596-00626-8

464 pages, $49.95 US


This book has been long awaited as the *BSD community has been lacking the number of security geared books compared to the Linux and Windows communities. I found that this book is almost the equal of "Linux Server Security", but for OpenBSD and FreeBSD. With OpenBSD being said to be one of the most secure operating systems, you would think there would be more books about the security other than the normal online documentation.

I'm glad O'Reilly finally put out this book as it covers a broad area of security within OpenBSD and FreeBSD.

This covers *BSD basics, initial install and hardening of the specific OS, security practices, running secure servers (DNS, Mail, Web), firewall, intrusion detection, system audits, incident response, and forensics. This is a broad coverage of security, but I wish on some of the specifics they would have went into detail discussing.

Some points I wish were added in detail was coverage on OpenNTPD's security and/or atleast mentioning that it is contained within OpenBSD. Another would be more coverage of Qmail on FreeBSD/OpenBSD as there really wasn't much more than a mention of Qmail and basic information. Compared to the details given to Sendmail and Postfix, Qmail info was really slacking. The last point I would like to mention that I found lacking was possibly a more in-depth guide to CARP and what it's capable of doing. The main thing dealing with CARP that I would have liked to see would be about load balancing firewalls using CARP and PFSYNC.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard Bejtlich on August 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Mastering FreeBSD and OpenBSD Security (MFAOS) more or less delivers on its subtitle: "Building, securing, and maintaining BSD systems." The book is chock full of absolutely sound administration advice from three experts with plenty of operational experience. I am also thrilled whenever I find a new BSD title on bookshelves. However, I believe a second edition of this book should be radically altered to better deliver value to the reader.

Note: I am in a somewhat awkward position as I write this review, since I know one of the authors as a fellow local security professional. I've spoken at a conference he organizes and I even have all three authors' signatures on my copy of MFAOS! Still, I hope they will consider incorporating my ideas when O'Reilly asks for a second edition.

First, I think MFAOS:2E should address FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD. It's appropriate to read a book only about ONE of the BSDs, or all three of the BSDs. It's odd to cover FreeBSD and OpenBSD but not NetBSD. I think DragonFly BSD's miniscule userbase puts it on the fringe, and Mac OS X is not BSD.

Second, the authors should rigorously concentrate on covering BSD-specific administration and security issues. I do not need to read about generic security issues in Ch 1, or standard DNS/Mail/Web attacks in Chs 5/6/7. I definitely did not need YASD (Yet Another Snort Doc) in Ch 9 -- especially when ACID is explained as the console of choice. (BASE replaced ACID in Sep 04). I do not need the advice on incident response and forensics found in Ch 11. MFAOS should be a more of a BSD book and less of a security book.

Removing all of this generic material in a second edition would provide room to focus on BSD-specific material not found elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Tilley on January 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
FreeBSD and OpenBSD are popular server operating systems. They have a reputation for long, reliable uptimes and are considered by many to be much more unified and mature than GNU/Linux distributions. Unlike GNU/Linux, the BSDs are developed in a unified, systematic fashion. The kernel, system binaries and application packages are released together. It's not just a kernel, with a variety of file systems and shells and applications from various sources rolled-up together into a distribution. The BSDs are an entire operating system. In this regard, they are more similar to Microsoft Windows or Apple's Mac OS X.

Although both FreeBSD and OpenBSD maintain very good online documentation and manual pages, it's nice to have a book such as "Mastering FreeBSD and OpenBSD Security" as a reference.

The book is broken into three sections. The first section emphasizes the cost of security and how cost should be directly related to the value of the system(s) or data being secured. Spending $60,000 to secure data valued at less than $100 is not a good idea. It's an inefficient use of scarce resources (time and money). The book encourages implementing an appropriate level of security, no more and no less. Secure installation and install tweaks are also covered in this section.

The second section covers implementation of services in detail. DNS, mail, Web, etc. Firewalls are discussed in depth along with the particulars of PF and IPFW. Differences between FreeBSD jails and chrooted environments on OpenBSD systems are clearly explained. Traditional Unix servers such as Sendmail, BIND and Apache are covered in depth, however, alternative (and arguably more secure) servers are covered as well...
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