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Honeypots: Tracking Hackers

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 007-6092017530
ISBN-10: 0321108957
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"The text is comprehensive, an honest survey of every honeypot technology I had ever heard of and a number I read about for the first time."
--Stephen Northcutt, The SANS Institute

"One of the great byproducts of Lance's work with honeypots and honeynets is that he's helped give us a much clearer picture of the hacker in action."
--From the Foreword by Marcus J. Ranum

"From the basics of shrink-wrapped honeypots that catch script kiddies to the detailed architectures of next-generation honeynets for trapping more sophisticated bad guys, this book covers it all....This book really delivers new information and insight about one of the most compelling information security technologies today."
--Ed Skoudis, author of Counter Hack, SANS instructor, and Vice President of Security Strategy for Predictive Systems

Honeypots are unique technological systems specifically designed to be probed, attacked, or compromised by an online attacker. Implementing a honeypot provides you with an unprecedented ability to take the offensive against hackers. Whether used as simple "burglar alarms," incident response systems, or tools for gathering information about hacker motives and tactics, honeypots can add serious firepower to your security arsenal.

Honeypots: Tracking Hackers is the ultimate guide to this rapidly growing, cutting-edge technology. The book starts with a basic examination of honeypots and the different roles they can play, and then moves on to in-depth explorations of six specific kinds of real-world honeypots: BackOfficer Friendly, Specter™, Honeyd, Homemade honeypots, ManTrap®, and Honeynets.

Honeypots also includes a chapter dedicated to legal issues surrounding honeypot use. Written with the guidance of three legal experts, this section explores issues of privacy, entrapment, and liability. The book also provides an overview of the Fourth Amendment, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Wiretap Act, and the Pen/Trap Statute, with an emphasis on how each applies to honeypots.

With this book you will gain an understanding of honeypot concepts and architecture, as well as the skills to deploy the best honeypot solutions for your environment. You will arm yourself with the expertise needed to track attackers and learn about them on your own. Security professionals, researchers, law enforcement agents, and members of the intelligence and military communities will find this book indispensable.


About the Author

Lance Spitzner is a senior security architect for Sun Microsystems, Inc., and an acknowledged authority in security and honeypot research. He is a developer, the moderator of the honeypots mailing list, and an instructor for the SANS honeypot course. He is also the founder of the Honeynet Project, a nonprofit group of thirty security professionals dedicated to Honeynet research and learning the tools, tactics, and motives of blackhats and sharing their lessons learned. Lance has presented data on honeypot technologies to organizations such as the Pentagon, the FBI Academy, the Naval War College, the National Security Agency, West Point, SANS, CanSecWest, and Black Hat Briefings.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (September 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321108957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321108951
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you liked "Know Your Enemy" by the Honeynet Project, you will
undoubtedly like Lance Spitzner's (the Honeynet Project founder) new
book "Tracking Hackers" much more. In fact, even if you did not quite
like "Know Your Enemy", you will likely be deeply impressed with the
new book on honeypots and their use for tracking hackers.
The structure of the book is different from the "Know Your Enemy":
Lance starts from the very beginning - namely, his first honeypot
penetration experience and then goes on to talk about all aspects of
honeypots. In-depth and structured background on honeypot technology
is provided. Honeypots are sorted by the level of interaction with
attacker they are able to provide.
In addition, the book covers the business benefits of using
honeypots. By classifying the value of honeypots into prevention,
detection and response (exactly as done in Honeynet Project white
papers) Lance Spitzner analyzes the honeypot technology contributions
to an overall security posture. Also, the book describes the
differences between the research and production honeypots and
demonstrates the benefits of both for various deployment scenarios.
A good part of the book is devoted to particular honeypot solutions:
'honeyd' by Niels Provos and several commercial honeypots with
detailed explanation of how they work. For example, there is a clear
description of ARP spoofing and how it is used by the 'honeyd'
honeypot daemon.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Lance is the "been there, done that" guy when it comes to honeypots and that really shows this book teaches, but it also entertains. Honeypots: Tracking Hackers grabs your interest from the start with a real life story of an underground hacker with a powerful new hacking tool, attacking hundreds, if not thousands, of systems all over the world.
Lance begins with how he got interested in honeypots and goes on to describe the different tools that are available, how they work and how anyone can set up their system to learn how to defend from novel attacks attacks. From the personal home computer to huge networks, Lance and his team have a solution.
He puts attackers in two categories: those who want to attack as many systems as possible and those who target a specific system of high value. By defining these attackers the audience has a clear understanding of what they are dealing with.
Starting with the history and definition of honeypots and honeynets, he takes us through characteristics and the different levels of interaction, how to configure different levels of honeypots, then on to the need to convince management of the value of honeypots and finally the legal issues (USA law) involved.
Honeypots are becoming more acceptable as hackers get into more systems and management is mandated to stop the attacks. They shouldn't be anyone's first line of defense, but for advanced sites, this is an important suite of technologies.
Honeypots: Tracking Hackers is a must read for novices and experienced security officers, alike. It will keep your attention and make you want to set up your own honeypot! If the book is not on your bookshelf and if honeypots are not part of your defensive information plans, something is wrong!
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Format: Paperback
During the 1990s, publishers printed a handful of computer security books per year. Now dozens appear each month, all competing for our limited time and shelf space. Of these "new" books, hardly any offer original, innovative material. Thankfully, Lance Spitzner's "Honeypots" breaks this trend. His is the only book devoted to honeypot technologies, and it will both motivate and inform any reader.

"Honeypots" is one-stop-shopping for the world of blackhat deception and observation. Spitzner gets the reader up to speed on commercial and free honeypot technologies, then effectively argues how these tools fit within the enterprise's security infrastructure. He concludes with explanations of how to configure, deploy, and operate a variety of honeypots.

"Honeypots" shines with good material, like the honeypot history in chapter 3, the explanation of GenI and GenII honeynets in chapter 11, and the all-star legal discussion in chapter 15. Spitzner also demonstrates his understanding of subtle but critical security engineering concepts, such as learning by analyzing failure (p. 8) and studying second-order effects when first-order events are tough to detect (chapter 4).

I have two minor critiques. First, the text could have been a bit more concise. Second, it's best not to confuse people by calling the "link" layer by the name "layer 1" and the network layer as "layer 2" (p. 149). Stevens and others do show the TCP/IP model as link - network - transport - application. However, network engineers usually think of "layer 2" as the data link layer and "layer 3" as the network layer.

I was a big fan of the HoneyNet Project's book, minus the 150 pages of IRC logs. I think all security-minded readers will find the entire "Honeypots" book exciting. I rarely find security books that rally me to join a cause, but Spitzner's is an exception.
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