June 18, 2003
Expert Recipes to Bolster Security: O'Reilly Releases "Linux Security Cookbook"
Sebastopol, CA--Recipes for security? The mere suggestion would raise a
few skeptical eyebrows among security experts. For computer security is
not a simple matter; it is, rather, an ongoing process, a relentless
contest between system administrators and intruders. A good
administrator needs to stay one step ahead of any adversaries, which
often involves a continuing process of education. But if you're well
grounded in the basics of security, you won't necessarily want a
complete treatise on the subject each time you pick up a book.
Sometimes you'll want to get straight to the point. That's exactly what
the new Linux Security Cookbook by Daniel J. Barrett, Richard E.
Silverman, and Robert G. Byrnes (O'Reilly, US $39.95) will help readers
do. Rather than provide a total security solution for Linux computers,
the authors present a series of easy-to-follow recipes--short, focused
pieces of code that administrators can use to improve security and
perform common tasks securely.
The "Linux Security Cookbook" is a repository of useful and important
recipes to be used within a well thought-out security policy. "Security
tools often have numerous options, configuration parameters, and so
forth, requiring the reader to dig through documentation," notes
coauthor Barrett. "The cookbook format provides a shortcut, presenting
the precise syntax needed for common, important security tasks."
"The 'Linux Security Cookbook' is accessible, without being simplistic,
which would be especially dangerous for security," adds Byrnes. "The
effectiveness of a security solution is only as good as the weakest
"There's a vast literature dedicated to computer security, but that can
be daunting for anyone who is trying to find a way to get started,"
Byrnes adds. "There are also a lot of products that purport to offer
'security in a box,' but those never work because you can't just set up
a firewall or intrusion detection system and think that your security
problems are over. We offer specific recipes that are useful as both
standard operating procedure as well a learning tools, and we tell
people how to learn more."
The "Linux Security Cookbook" includes real solutions to a wide range
of targeted problems, such as sending encrypted email within Emacs,
restricting access to network services at particular times of day,
firewalling a web server, preventing IP spoofing, setting up key-based
SSH authentication, and much more. With more than 150 ready-to-use
scripts and configuration files, this unique book helps administrators
secure their systems without having to look up specific syntax.
The book begins with recipes devised to establish a secure system, then
moves on to secure day-to-day practices, and concludes with techniques
to help a system stay secure.
Some of the recipes in the "Linux Security Cookbook" are:
Controlling access to your system at various levels, from your
firewall down to individual services, using iptables, ipchains, xinetd,
inetd, and more
Monitoring your network with ethereal, dsniff, netstat, and other
Protecting network connections with SSH and SSL
Detecting intrusions with tripwire, snort, tcpdump, logwatch, and more
Securing authentication with cryptographic keys, Kerberos, and PAM,
and authorizing root privileges with sudo
Encrypting files and email messages with GnuPG
Probing your own security with password crackers, nmap, and handy
This cookbook's proven techniques are derived from hard-won experience.
Whether readers are responsible for security on a home Linux system or
for a large corporation, or somewhere in between, they'll find
valuable, to-the-point, practical recipes for dealing with everyday
Praise for the "Linux Security Cookbook":
"An outstanding, functional collection of the most recent tools for the
safe running of your Linux systems."
--Sandra O'Brien, Security consultant, Keynote Security, LLC
"This book is useful for the beginner learning practical tasks, and for
the professional who wants to look up something done long ago. I like
the concise style covering most of the everyday technical work in
--Klaus Miller, DFN-CERT GmbH
Linux Security Cookbook
Daniel J. Barrett, Richard E. Silverman, and Robert G. Byrnes
ISBN 0-596-00391-9, 311 pages, $39.95 (US), $61.95 (CAN), 28.50 (UK)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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