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The Mac Hacker's Handbook 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0470395363
ISBN-10: 0470395362
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The Mac Hacker's Handbook + iOS Hacker's Handbook + Mac OS X and iOS Internals: To the Apple's Core
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The honeymoon is over.

Prepare yourself to thwart Mac attacks.

Where security is concerned, Macs have long led a charmed existence. No more. If you manage security for a network that includes OS X machines, this update on the strengths and weaknesses of Mac OS X is required reading.

Beginning with the core differences between Mac OS X and Windows or Linux, this book follows the steps an attacker would take. You will learn the tools needed to find vulnerabilities, the techniques used to exploit them, and the means by which attackers maintain control once they gain access. When you know how they get in, you'll know how to keep them out.

  • See what makes Mac OS® X unique, what security improvements were added with Leopard®, and where vulnerabilities lie

  • Explore uncommon protocols—Bonjour®, the QuickTime® file format, and RTSP

  • Look for bugs in Apple's source code or use a black box technique such as fuzzing

  • Examine stack overflow and heap overflow attacks directed at PowerPC and x86 architectures, as well as shellcodes and payloads

  • Learn to inject code into running processes and how attackers use this technique

  • Understand Mac OS X-specific rootkit techniques

About the Author

CharlIe Millerwon the second CanSecWest Pwn2Own contest in 2008 and was named one of the Top 10 Computer Hackers of 2008 by Popular Mechanics.

Dino Dai Zovi won the first CanSecWest Pwn2Own contest in 2007 and was named one of the 15 Most Influential People in Security by eWEEK.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470395362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470395363
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #889,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Zachary Cutlip on October 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Mac Hacker's Handbook covers a lot of useful technical topics surrounding vulnerability analysis and exploit development for Mac OS X. That said, it doesn't so much teach you directly, as guide your learning. For example, it introduces the use of DTrace on OS X for dynamic analysis. It makes a very good case for DTrace's usefulness in reverse engineering, and for you to go out on your own and learn about it. Its DTrace examples aren't really freestanding, and require some background that you must get yourself. If the book were to give you the necessary background on every topic it introduces, it would be an enormous tome, and the authors probably would still be writing it.

Think of the book as explaining to you what all tools you need in your Mac hacking toolbox and why you need them, and how to put them together once you have them. It's up to you do go develop those skills on your own.

The biggest shortcoming of the book, however, is it is out of date. The concepts are sound and still very applicable, but the examples are written for OS X 10.5. Most do not work on Snow Leopard. Many you can get to work if you go out and beat the pavement trying to figure them out. I recommend this, but be aware, your progress through the book will be slow going as you get bogged down trying to figure out how to adapt each example so that it works.

This book succeeds if taken for what it is: a guide for your learning. You'll need to invest a fair amount of sweat equity to get the most out of it, though.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ryan L. Russell on May 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Mac Hacker's Handbook is the best reference for Mac-specific attack information that I have found. At 368 pages, it may appear small compared to the typical 750+ page security tome. That's because the authors have done a near-perfect job of sticking to the topic at hand, the Mac. The authors do not succumb to the usual temptation to try and teach assembly language or reverse engineering. Rather, they do an excellent job touching on those topics in an OS X context, and assume the reader has a little background in that area already, or can otherwise keep up. I have done some limited research into the areas of Mac malware and process injection in the past. This book has done a fantastic job of filling in many holes in my knowledge that I hadn't been able to take care of before. Plus, it introduced me to a number of Mac-specific security features I wasn't aware of before. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Mac security.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By mjw on May 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a security professional Mac's are an interesting subject. They combine many of the best features from other operating systems into a wonderful package. I purchased a Macbook during a pen test about 8 months ago and have been in love with it since then. Before this book looking at security on Apple products was a difficult dive into the unknown. Charlie and Dino have done a lot of hard work and figured out the internals of OS X as related to security. They clearly present what's going inside the OS and how they learned the internals. This enables other security professionals to follow their method to both gain better understanding and to know what's wrong when something inevitably changes.

I'd definitely recommend this book for experienced security professionals looking to do exploit development on the Mac.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Prime on January 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides insight into many applications and internals of Apple's Mac operating system from a security perspective, which was exactly what I was looking for. A great read at home or on the plane, it keeps you interested with detailed accounts of bugs found on this platform. It goes into detail on how the vulnerabilities occur and even how to exploit them. The authors are world class guys. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Carlson on February 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, it teaches a number of techniques and does a great explaining the motivation behind an attack. I really enjoyed the chapters on dtrace and rootkits, as dtrace allowed me a quick way to peer inside what sys calls are made and the rootkits were discussed very well. While yes, a number of examples are out of date due to Snow Leopard, you can contact the authors, who are very friendly and happy to share some of their public slides, as well as trying to use the ideas to foster your own techniques.

Overall, a great book for anyone interested in hacking, Mac OS X, or both. Of course, if you're into iPhone hacking, this is a good place to start as well, and the authors know a thing or two there as well...
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