Know Your Enemy
Learning About Security Threats
by The Honeynet Project
Published by Addison Wesley (2004)
768 pages plus CD-ROM
~US$55 from Amazon
The Honeynet Project is a fascinating project researching hacker techniques by inviting hackers to do their stuff on specially-configured network machines placed on the Internet or internal networks with the specific intention of being hacked. This well-written and inspirational technical book goes into detail on how honeypot systems are configured in honeynets, and how hacker activities are captured and analyzed.
Honeynets and honeypots are specialized tools for analyzing hacker threats. The book focuses entirely on honeynets and honeypots - no more, no less.
If the technical end of network security is not your cup of tea, this book is probably not for you. However, if you are technically-minded information security who understands (at least in principle) how a TCP datagram is constructed, or a network professional with an interest in what hackers might be getting up to on your beautiful network, you will probably enjoy Know Your Enemy. Most of the examples and tools mentioned are UNIX-based but Windows networking gurus shouldn’t feel too out of sorts.
Some 21 well-respected members of the Honeynet Project team (the Honeynet Research Alliance), all authorities in their own right on various aspects of network security, contributed chapters on their primary areas of expertise. It is rare to find such an erudite team of authors, and good to read about how they personally developed the technologies described in the book.
Books written by panels of authors usually suffer from a lack of continuity and distinct differences in style, but this one has been superbly edited and reads very well indeed. There are lots of words with just a few few network diagrams, screenshots and program listings, but they are all useful (unlike some texts that seemingly stuff in pictures purely to increase the page count!).
Utility & value
If you have the skills, time, equipment and inclination to consider setting up your own honeynet, you will find Know Your Enemy extremely helpful, especially at the price. Short-cut the learning curve by reading how the pioneers learnt from their early mistakes.
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