THE MAGAZINE

New in Plaintext: Network Security Assessment

By Chris McNab; Reviewed by Ben Rothke, CISSP

A network security assessment is critical for any company that is serious about information security and wants to know what threats and vulnerabilities its network and systems are facing. Network scans are simple, as there is no shortage of automated tools for scaning corporate networks.

But what do you do when the scanning yields more than 5,000 vulnerabilities? How do you determine what is a real threat? Network Security Assessment by Chris McNab can help.

What differentiates this book is that it gives the reader a formal testing model that can be used as the basis for designing and setting up their networks. These steps enable servers and other network devices to be deployed in a context that hardens them and makes them much more resilient against network-based attacks.

The book details myriad methods attackers will use to find vulnerable systems on your network. Further chapters outline how to scan the most common Web servers, including Microsoft (MS) Internet Information Services and Apache Tomcat. The book concludes by examining the various subsystems running on those servers, including OpenSSL, MS FrontPage, MS Outlook Web Access, MS Active Server Pages, JavaServer Pages, PHP, and various backend databases.

While the book is quite technical, it is also very readable. This text is best used in the hands of your company’s network and security administrators. Once they finish reading it, your network security will improve.

(Network Security Assessment, 2nd Edition By Chris McNab, is published by O'Reilly; www.oreilly.com (Web); 396 pages; $39.99.)


Reviewed by Ben Rothke, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), a New York-based IT security consultant with BT Professional Services.

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