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Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box Paperback – Illustrated, May 29, 2003
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Stealing the Network is a book of science fiction. It's a series of short stories about characters who gain unauthorized access to equipment and information, or deny use of those resources to the people who are meant to have access to them. The characters, though sometimes well described, are not the stars of these stories. That honor belongs to the tools that the black-hat hackers use in their attacks, and also to the defensive measures arrayed against them by the hapless sysadmins who, in this volume, always lose. Consider this book, with its plentiful detail, the answer to every pretty but functionally half-baked user interface ever shown in a feature film.
One can read this book for entertainment, though its writing falls well short of cyberpunk classics like Burning Chrome and Snow Crash. Its value is in its explicit references to current technologies--Cisco routers, OpenSSH, Windows 2000--and specific techniques for hacking them (the heroes and heroines of this book are always generous with command-history dumps). The specific detail may open your eyes to weaknesses in your own systems (or give you some ideas for, ahem, looking around on the network). Alternately, you can just enjoy the extra realism that the detail adds to these stories of packetized adventure. --David Wall
"Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box is a unique book in the fiction department. It combines stories that are false, with technology that is real. While none of the stories have happened, there is no reason why they could not. You could argue it provides a road map for criminal hackers, but I say it does something else; it provides a glimpse into the creative minds of some of today's best hackers, and even the best hackers will tell you that the game is a mental one." - from the foreword by Jeff Moss, President & CEO, BlackHat, Inc.
"...the reader will find this an informative, instructive and even entertaining book." - Managing Risk magazine
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When I first saw this title I was captured. I knew I had to read this book. I wanted to own boxes. When I got it, it took me just a few hours to read through it page after page. Syngress became my hero publishing company.
This book is the first in series of several Stealing the Network books. It's a cyber fiction book about hackers. The stories in this book are fake but there's no reason why they couldn't be real. Every story explains how the hacks are performed, which tools and techniques are used. If you can think then you'll quickly be able to apply these ideas for your own profit, whether it's securing your own networks or breaking into someone else's networks. Absolute must read for anyone.
There are more books in Stealing the Network series by Syngress:
* Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent
* Stealing the Network: How to Own an Identity
* Stealing the Network: How to Own a Shadow
* Stealing the Network: The Complete Series Collector's Edition
Don't read these books if you're a system administrator and want to sleep at night. You won't be sleeping because I'm coming after your network! Bwahaha!
I've placed this book #29 in my Top 100 Mathematics, Computer Security and Science books list. Google for >>catonmat top 100 math security science books<< to find my list.
I think this would be a good intro for a non-technical manager of security staff who needs to know why we have to worry about these things. It's a faster read than Bruce Schneir's admirable _Secrets and Lies_, which is a straight discussion of how to think about security, and probably more rigorous and complete. This offers specific examples and leads to many similar lessons. I will read the next one, How to Own a Continent, when its turn comes up in the queue.
One quibble: for a book published in 2003, with a chapter that mentions Snort a couple of times, I was disappointed in the Laws of Security Appendix. Specifically, the Law that "Any IDS can be Evaded" contains some material that is way out of date. To state that "free ones are starting to come available" at least a decade after Shadow, and at least a couple of years after Snort surpassed proprietary intrusion detection solutions, is a bit, well, weird. Snort is big time - Checkpoint just bought the company that writes it. The two chapters telling a defender's tale refer to Snort.
Also, I'm not convinced of the law's validity. The escalation between intrusion evaders and detectors is an interesting one but I think IDS has the advantage in this go-round. We can detect it, if we're watching the right things. Many of the evasion techniques are themselves alertable!
Apart from that, I found myself nodding in agreement with most of what was said. This taught me some things, and I've read pretty widely. This title is available cheap if you look at used. Check it out.
*It's at least better than Tom Clancy, whose plots are the only thing separating him from pure cheese, the male equivalent of a romance novel.
I got what I bargained for. The book covers a broad spectrum of possible intrusion senarios, going over tools and tactics used by hackers and network adminstrators. It gives the security administrator a good view of what is possible. Each chapter covers a different intrusion senario, tools that are used and tactics.
Buy this book along with an in depth book such as Hacking Exposed, Special Ops, Hack Proofing your Network, etc. that covers the usage and capabilities of the tools that are described in 'Stealing the Network' and you will be on a pretty good road to information security knowledge.
Inform yourself and find out what is possible so that you can better protect your system and know what's going on.
The stories are okay, but on more than one occasion the author writes so poorly you can't even follow the plot making the reader lost and confused as to what's going on.
Overall, I would not recommend this book.