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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Let me just say this....This book is overkill. It is just words. It has redundant information in all the wrong areas, misspellings, incorrect IP addresses, and one other pet peeve of mine is this. When you have illustrations, try to have them on the same layout as the description. It is so difficult to read about an example and have to turn the page to view it back and forth - back and forth. I also found that most of the time the descriptions of the illustrated examples were vague as well. I have read Wendell Odom's Intro and ICND set as well as the ICND1 ICND2 set. I have read Jeremy Cioara's (CBT Nuggets Trainer) CCNA-Voice book about halfway and all of these Cisco Press books were well written. My head hurts from trying to obtain the CCNA-Sec knowledge in this one. I am very disappointed. I have started reading Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security (IINS): (CCNA Security exam 640-553) (Authorized Self-Study Guide) by Catherine Paquet, and it is a much better written book. Visit [...] for others commenting on this book. I am very surprised Cisco allowed this book through.

I give it 2 stars because of the Boson Testing sim on CD...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As other reviewers have noted, this book's quality is very uneven. It contains many typographical errors, some of which completely alter the meaning of a given sentence (e.g., referring to asymmetric encryption when it means symmetric encryptions). The authors repeat themselves often, and the quality seems to decline as the book progresses. The chapter on firewalls is absolutely dreadful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I haven't taken the CCNA Security (640-553) yet but will by the end of this month. I have been using this book as my primary source to study from and have been very disappointed.

The book covers most of what is in the stated exam topics. However, there are some missing. For example, the book lists "Configure Zone-Based Firewalls in SDM" as a topic covered on the test. However, nowhere does the book show how to accomplish this task.

When topics are reviewed, it is often confusing. There are a few passages I'd read and think "I don't know what they meant by any of this". Maybe it is because cryptography can be complex, but i read the chapters on cryptography and got very little out of it. The order of content is often a cause for this and sometimes the actual text itself.

I do not yet know whether this book is enough to pass the test but I'd be surprised if it is. Of course you will need some lab time but that is expected. In the future, Cisco Press should be a little more particular about the quality of the books released. I did purchase IINS by Catherine Paquet per Amazon reviews and it is a significantly better book.

Note: I don't hold this against the authors of these books. But the CCNA Security exam is outdated because it is using SDM. SDM has been replaced by CCP and is no longer maintained. Furthermore, it requires an old Java version (1.4.2-05 from best I can tell) which isn't overly compatible with Windows 7. The exam itself should probably be updated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I read this book, as well as the Exam Cram book for this exam, and studied a little bit from the other CCNA Security book by Richard Deal. Overall I think the Cisco Press book was the best as far as what it covers and how it words things. The key topics are clearly marked throughout the chapters so you can easily flip through the book and review them, this helps keep from having to highlight and mark things on your own. The many screen shots of SDM where helpful and the configuration examples where easy to understand. So yeah, best single study source.

Some final advice:
I think this book was better than the other two I studied. But I'd suggest studying from at least one other book just to get a different taste of it. You may be able to answer all the questions in this book, but fail miserably at the questions from another book because they're different. This was a tough exam, I was lucky to have SDM and a router at home to practice the stuff on and passed the exam, not a great score, but still. I honestly don't think studying ONLY this book will enable you to pass, I don't think studying any ONE book will enable you to pass, at the least you should have some way to practice everything hands-on, or "simulate" it however you can, because Cisco has questions on the exams that require you to know how to do some of the stuff hands on.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Network Security is a very broad topic. Any book that attempts so cover its many aspects is certainly taking on a very difficult task. That being said, how does this book fair? Not thrilling, but not exceptionally bad either. Let's face it, Cisco exams have become very difficult, and its nearly impossible to pass their exams without arduous effort. One needs good resources (and a good lab). On many of the topics, this book does a reasonable job. My biggest complaint is that its firewall coverage is just terrible. That chapter is confusing, uneven, disorganized, lacking in proper examples and should be completely redone.

I retired a year ago as a network engineer with 30 years experience, the last 10 as a network security specialist. I've decided to do a little consulting work and figured I'd refresh my Cisco certifications to insure I was current. I previously had a CCNP and CCSP (with firewall, VPN, and IDS specializations). I've worked on PIX, ASA, Checkpoint, Netscreen, Sonicwall and Fortinet firewalls. I've also worked on F5 and IBM application layer gateways (proxies). I've taught Information Systems Security at the university level. Needless to say, I felt my background qualifies me to deal with a basic, entry level exam. However, after reading the firewall chapter in this book, I felt totally lost and confused. The Paquet book ("Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security") does a much better job on all the topics related to firewalls. Read both books and the supporting Cisco documentation on selected topics (like Zone Based Firewalls and CBAC) if you expect to pass this exam. I'll sit this exam in about two weeks. Hope my experience doesn't hinder my success.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book explains very poorly the Site-to-Site VPN topic (chapter 5), which practically forces you to check other sources for better explanation. Also, the Fundamentals of Cryptography (chapter 4) is terrible if you really want to learn cryptography. Chapter 4 is mostly a review guide, and therefore intended for people who have already studied Cryptography in another decent book (say: Bruce Schneier's "Applied Cryptography"). Hence an induced fear of other chapters not covering exactly everything one needs to know to pass the exam!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I would say this book and the CCNA Security Lab Manual covered about 70-80% of what is on the exam. I would highly recommend spending some time in some ASA books, Security+ and reading up on remote access technologies. The old CCNP guides cover that pretty well.

I found incorrect IP addresses and a lack of real world information in this book. Overall a serious disconnect between the creators of the exam and authors of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was a very informative text that provides a nice entry into the security realm after obtaining your CCNA. Whether you plan to take the exam or not, I highly recommend it for the knowledge you can obtain from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The writing in this book is heinous, no sense of flow whatsoever. Makes one wonder if the author did any post writing reading. The most difficult to read section deals with Firewalls; extremely convoluted..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is an easy read unlike other Cisco books which put you to sleep in 15 minutes or less. Written extremely well, and did the job of getting me my cert. Who can complain about that?
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