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Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box Paperback – Illustrated, May 29, 2003
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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
"...the reader will find this an informative, instructive and even entertaining book." - Managing Risk magazine
Top Customer Reviews
Each chapter presents a mini-scenario that demonstrates how specific network vulnerabilities can be exploited, causing potential problems and losses from organizations. What sets this apart from many of these books that I have read is that is kind of set up in the style employed by the television serial "Law and Order: Criminal Intent": a focus on narrative and knowledge from the point of view of the bad guys. While this is a work of "techno-fiction", the level of detail suggests that only the names were changed to prevent the innocent (or the guilty system administrators who fail to lock systems down as well as they should or could).
Another interesting point throughout this book is the emphasis on "social engineering", an oft overlooked weakness that has only started gaining true visibility in the evaluation and education of system administrators, managers, and end-users through highly visible incidents. It is kind of refreshing to read a detailed tale of what led a hacker to jump in a dumpster to find out information, and what led him to that point.Read more ›
In particular I wanted to read the chapter about H3x's adventure in networkland, since it seemed the most intriguing. She's a sexy female hacker that hits nightclubs and has a neon social life - so already we know the story is fiction, right?
I noticed that the author of one of the chapters posted a review. I didn't pay attention to which chapter and don't have the book in front of me, but he states that all the methods used are possible. Well, you can't have a technical book without subjecting it to technical scrutiny. Here's where the meat of my review weighs in: H3x's adventures sometimes make no sense, and other times are technically wrong. Let me explain.
First she realizes the changes she made on the routers at a university were logged to a syslog server, so she hacks that to cover her tracks by taking out the network address she used. Nevermind that she configured the routers to point a GRE tunnel to her home network, and then set "0wn3d" (or something similar) as the interface desription. Isn't that like sneaking tiptoe through a house late at night with a blaring stereo on your shoulders? And what kind of pipe would be going into her home to be able to keep up with an ethernet connection on a campus network? At this point everything is still technically possible, although somewhat unbelievable. Still - this is fiction after all.
The administrators catch wind of this and do all the obligatory password and community string changes, tightening of security with access lists and pant-wetting.Read more ›
My favorite chapter was written by FX of Phenoelit, where a female black hat battles white hat defenders. The playing field includes HP printers, GRE tunnels between routers, and other novel tricks. Reading both sides of the story was fun and educational. I also liked Joe "Kingpin" Grand's insider theft case (ch 3), featuring Palm hacks and Blackberry sniffing. The worm disassembly chapter by Ryan Russell and Tim Mullen is worth reading as well.
This book is worth reading, but it's $... cover price is steep. While the stories are fictional, much of it is probably based on the author's experiences either consulting or studying similar incidents. This book can best be used by security professionals to test how they would have responded to the threats presented by the fictional adversaries profiled in STN. There's plenty to be learned by reading STN, and I hope to see sequels.
For those who have some familiarity with the subject matter, this book rings completely true and for those who do not, it's still fun and understandable.
It's an expensive book, so I waited a while, but in retrospect it delivers on the high price. Unlike most of the novels I read which wind up on my living room shelves for a while or are passed along to friends, this one wound up on the reference shelf in my computer room along with other network security books (and with a few post-it bookmarks sticking out to boot).
If you are hesitating because of the price or are worried that the writing will disappoint, I can assure you that you will be pleasantly rewarded for your investment. Best thing I've read in the genre since Stoll's superb "The Cuckoo's Egg."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The spelling in this book is horrible, there are mistakes on nearly every other page. Really the person who proof read this book should be fired, it's that bad. Read morePublished 17 months ago by John Smith
This was an interesting read and very technical. The reason I did not like it is because their are many screen shots on the Kindle version(that I read on my iPad) and not a single... Read morePublished on December 29, 2012 by N0L0V3
its a pretty well written book. It is simple and easy to understand. I would read it for entertainment because the scenarios are really old.Published on June 28, 2011 by B. Wan
This is not a book that's going to prepare you for a test. Although it is recommended for the CEH. It's not a book that is going to teach you different techniques. Read morePublished on June 6, 2010 by Lawrence Patterson
This is a entertaining peek into the mindset of hackers. It's definitely not a "how-to" manual to exploiting a system, but it gives you a great overview of the steps involved. Read morePublished on September 7, 2008 by bookworm
While they present this as a work of fiction, there is a large amount of information that can be immediately applied to your own situations. Read morePublished on January 9, 2007 by M. Ulm