8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Serious candidate for Best Book Bejtlich Read 2009,
This review is from: The Web Application Hacker's Handbook: Discovering and Exploiting Security Flaws (Paperback)
The Web Application Hacker's Handbook (TWAHH) is an excellent book. I read several books on Web application security recently, and this is my favorite. The text is very well-written, clear, and thorough. While the book is not suitable for beginners, it is accessible and easy to read for those even without Web development or assessment experience.
At 736 pages, TWAHH is the sort of book that one needs to read more than once in order to digest its contents. At every turn I perceived the authors to be experts and I trusted their advice. Their "Hack Steps" sections nicely summarize key points for operators. The authors integrate explanations of HTTP as a protocol into their text, without boring readers already familiar with the protocol. They also also demonstrate their subject using code snippets for multiple languages and products.
While I considered almost all of the book to be equally helpful, I'd like to mention three specific chapters or sections. First, chapters 1-3 provided a great technical overview of the subject. Chapter 11, Attacking Application Logic, featured examples from the authors' consulting experience which really resonated with me. Finally, I liked the recognition of the importance of locally-written applications, called "bespoke" applications, in chapter 13.
I struggled to find much to complain about in TWAHH. My only concern appeared early in the book, when the authors talked about "all user input is untrusted." They really meant "all user input is untrustworthy," or they should have said "Web developers should consider all user input to be untrusted, but they often trust it." The difference between "untrusted" and "untrustworthy" is subtle, and I still understood the authors' point.
I strongly recommend TWAHH to anyone with a role in defending Web applications. The authors have set a very high standard with this book. Great work!
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Initial post: Nov 21, 2009 3:14:24 AM PST
Thanks for the review. I'm glad I read the reviews before buying it. What book would you recommend to folks who are less skilled/informed---not total newbies, but middle of the spectrum (computer knowledge wise.)
Thanks again. I'll have to check out your website.
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