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Syngress published "Snort 2.0" in Mar 03, and I gave it a four star review in Jul 03. Syngress followed with "Snort 2.1" in May 04, and I gave it a four star review in Jul 04. I recommend reading those reviews, since the latest edition -- "Snort IDS and IPS Toolkit" (SIAIT) -- makes many of the same mistakes as its predecessors. Worse, it includes material that was already outdated in BOTH previous editions. If you absolutely must buy a book on Snort, this edition is your only real choice. Otherwise, I would stick with the manual and online articles.
SIAIT looks impressive page-wise, but it suffers from the multiple-author, no-editing, rush-to-production problems unfortunately inherent in many Syngress titles. One would think that including many contributing authors (11, apparently) would make for a strong book. In reality, the book contributes very little beyond what appears in "Snort 2.1," despite the fact that "only" chapters 8, 10, 11, and 13 appear to be repeats or largely rehashes of older material. Comparing to "Snort 2.1," these compare to old chapters 7, 10, 12, and 11, respectively.
The absolute worst part of this book is the re-introduction of all the outdated information in chapters 8 and 10. It is 2007 and we are STILL reading on p 353 that XML output is "our favorite and relatively new logging format" and on p 367 that "Unified logs are the future of Snort reporting." (I cited both of these as being old news in Jul 04!) I should note that these chapters are not entirely duplicates; if you compare output such as that on page 335 of "Snort 2.1" with page 365 in SIAIT you'll see the author replaced the original 2003 timestamps with 2006! This is the height of lazy publishing.Read more ›
I have run Snort at previous jobs and currently run it at home. I found the book to be packed with tons of valuable information and a great reference for tweaks you may want to make to your install down the road as your needs change. The only down side is that it's already "out of date" as far as current versions go. It's not so out of date that the information is irrelevant but just keep that in mind and make sure to read up on new features and bugs compared to what is listed in the book and the version you are installing.
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This is the best single book on Snort I've come across, so I bought it. I used it as reference recently to customize a Snort configuration including writing a few custom rules. It has a really good index. It can be used as an in-depth tutorial or good quality reference.
Description of Chapters: 1) Intrusion Detection Systems - A nice overview of some basics 2) Introducing Snort 2.6 - Fairly comprehensive coverage of the product 3) Installing Snort 2.6 - Good coverage of the different options. 4) Configuring Snort Add-Ons (I don't recommend snort on Windows, but whatever) 5) Inner Workings - One of the best chapters on how snort really works 6) Preprocessors - Another great chapter on the inner workings. 7) Playing by the Rules - Good coverage of snort rule syntax. 8) Snort Output Plug-Ins - Another good chapter 9) Exploring IDS Event Analysis Snort Style - Some of these add-ons are a bit dated, but it's nice to have it all in one place. 10) Optimizing Snort - Principles of Snort optimization... 11) Active Response - More useful options 12) Advanced Snort - Not much of use here for most people. 13) Mucking Around with Barnyard - It's good to at least know what Barnyard is.
At 700 plus pages, this is the best collection of Snort info around.
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