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Thor's Microsoft Security Bible: A Collection of Practical Security Techniques Hardcover – August 10, 2011

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1597495721 ISBN-10: 1597495727 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Timothy “Thor” Mullen, Author of Thor’s Microsoft Security Bible, “Defensive Security”

Timothy Thor Mullen
Timothy "Thor" Mullen

As a kid, I used to take things apart so I could figure out how they worked. I thought it made perfect sense: to figure something out, just break it down into its components and it will all be clear. As it turned out, it wasn’t until I had to put something back together again that I actually learned something about its function and form.

I think it was one of my earliest experiences of being proved wrong when I thought I had it all figured out, and that lesson has served me well ever since. It’s really amazing how much more I learn when I tell myself that I’m not nearly as clever as I think I am, and how true subject matter expertise is as much a factor of realizing how much one doesn’t know as it is the collection of little bits of knowledge in any particular area.

As it relates to information security, I find the same mindset draws me to the design of defensive security measures as opposed to the more popular “break it” mentality that is so pervasive today. I simply find it more fulfilling and satisfying. It’s also more valuable. This may not make me very popular with all my hacker friends, but breaking security really isn’t all that hard. Just about anyone can come up with some attack technique they think is super cool and pretend it represents real security risks, but the truth is that they are a dime a dozen. I’m not knocking the research business and the conferences about how to hack and attack, I just don’t personally find much value in it.

As such, you’ll find that my writings are all about defense. It works, and it provides tangible value to an industry that clearly continues to suffer from security issues. If you are all about attacking and trying to break things, then you probably won’t find my books too interesting. But if you like having the skills to thwart everyone else’s attacks, then I hope that my work is of some value to you.

In either case, I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute in an area in which I feel that I add value, and hope you enjoy the material you find here.


Review

"Mullen presents realistic business scenarios with tips on products, tools, and methods to create an autonomous web traffic monitor, analyze and block traffic based on geolocation, set up a secure external web proxy, cover remote desktop protocol security, and create and maintain service users."--Reference and Research Book News, August 2013 "This book presents a fascinating collections of practical and immediately implementable Microsoft security techniques, processes, and methodologies uniquely illustrated through real-world process examples. The author enriches the reader with detailed technical information on security processes for all major Microsoft applications in simple readable form…Top security professionals as well as many younger aspirants in the security sector should find this book extremely informative and useful."--Security Management, December 2012, page 83 "I was looking for the standard security bible (change this setting or that setting), and I did ultimately get that. Thor’s chosen delivery method does walk through the changing of settings, but does it in such a subtle way as to not make the content boring. This is a book that when you begin, you think ‘huh?’ But once you complete it, you think ‘Ah ha!’ Generally, security bibles can be dull, but given the author’s humor, vast knowledge of securing Windows Server 2008, and his ability to explain the topics to even a novice, makes this work shine. Anyone working in a Windows Server environment is doing themselves a disservice by not reading this book. The included video content was refreshing, as the author continues his dialogue with you. He walks through setting up Chapter 1 and Chapter 7 on the fly, so any mistakes you will see. It was nice to hear his voice, since, if you’re like me, it makes it easier when reading. TMSB is a great book, and for all you Windows 2008 Server Administrators out there, I’d run, not walk, to get this book!"--EthicalHacker.net "This book is aimed at technical, security and non-security professionals alike, used to bolster their security knowledge and to allow them to harden services that are often reliant on general OS hardening and firewalls. The book offers detailed descriptions on how to provide secure infrastructure services, such as SQL, as a least- privileged account, and therefore offers system engineers a guide to bolstering their system’s security posture as much as is possible."--Best Systems Administration Book in InfoSecReviews Book Awards

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Syngress; 1 edition (August 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597495727
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597495721
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,577,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John on August 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I completed the book last week and recommend it to anyone who works with Windows Server 2008. This isn't your typical bible, the author explains everything that he does and he uses examples throughout the entire book. Each project has parts that could be applied to a lot of the things a system administrator would do on a daily basis. The author's expert knowledge of Server 2008 shines through and he explains many hard topics without issues. I did have a couple of issues, but not with the content (per say).

1. Chapter 5 should have been Chapter 1
2. The media should be at the end of the book not in the middle of it
3. Screen shots should have been better organized (there are a lot, which is good, but sometimes you are referring to one several pages ahead)

Highly recommend this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott on May 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book's particular strength is that it focuses on the fundamentals. The author hits on a profound truth early in the book, that all of information security ultimately comes down to the two timeless principles of least privilege and separation of duties - everything else flows from those two. The book is all about getting those two things right in a variety of real-world scenarios.

The author hit a really nice spot in terms of the balance between step-by-step instructions and high-level guidance. This isn't one of those books that just walks you through the dialog boxes and tells you what they mean, nor does it do a lot of hand-waving. It lays out the scenario, identifies the security-critical points, and shows exactly how to implement the solution. (In fact, in several scenarios, the book provides several alternatives for solving the problem in multiple ways, progressing from min bar to really robust).

The scenarios are very practical and span multiple technologies. For instance, the first scenario is about how to implement proxy logging and blocking using TMG and SQL, which creates a nice opportunity to tackle everything from the authentication options to scripting group membership changes. Great book for anyone, but especially for practitioners.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mikhail Utin on September 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again Thor is sharing his experience as high level security professional and expert in Microsoft products' security. He gives us practical "bible" book and presents his understanding of knowledge value. There are seven chapters, which are in fact projects, and the author guides us from introduction and scope to final implementation. As promised, each project provides a lot of practical advising and knowledge, which can be used in your own projects. The book is full of practical material, including diagrams, screenshots, software code, etc. It explains possible pitfalls you will meet down the road. Integration of Microsoft products never was seamless. Specifics of Microsoft's philosophy and design approach can run you into unpredictable system error disrupting your plans. After reading the book you will find yourself much more prepared for such challenges. It worth of reading whether you are just starting your security career (and would need to know what information security is about; it is not hacking so far), or you are seasoned professional in trenches and need real weapon. Read it from the book Introduction and to the very end, and very likely that next time you start Windows security integration you will use its approach and practical material. Thank you, Master!
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By JB on February 16, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good product and got it on time.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bruce D. Wilner on June 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
One truly wonders about the "security professionals" who pen positive reviews for books of this sort. Since they clearly lack any professional (read that as "academic," if you will, but read it as "having built such things") knowledge in the area, I guess their interpretation of "in-depth" is that the book offers pretty pictures of precisely how this Windows utility or that one operates. What we have here, fundamentally, is a detailed guide to using "security" utilities and tools associated with Windows and various services that execute thereupon. But a "collection of practical security . . ."--which, as I already said, means "detailed screenshots of how to use various security-oriented Microsoft tools"--can HARDLY be called a "security Bible."

One, unfortunately, finds glaring--rather, SCREAMING--errors in the most basic terminology and in the most fundamental concepts. One of my favorite is "least privilege." The principle of least privilege has to do with the internal structure of security components of the O/S and tools (I'll avoid "loaded" Orange Book terminology such as "TCB" and "trusted program"). It has nothing to do with administrators' privileges or what permissions this program or that may have or how one has oh-so-cleverly used an ACL to ensure that, while Joe can do this, Bill cannot do that. The actual meaning of LPP is WAY beyond Mr. Thor Mullen. Admittedly, that's quite a common error, frequently seen in those "senior intermediate" programmers who think themselves senior.

"Thor." That's truly funny.
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