Title: HACK I.T - Security Through Penetration Testing
Authors: T.J. Klevinsky, Scott Laliberte, Ajay Gupta
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Published: February 11, 2002
Edition: 1st Edition
Hack I.T. – Security Through Penetration Testing, is probably the only book you'll find devoted to the subject of penetration tests and their methodology.
When I first saw it, I was intrigued because most other security books will tell you the usual stuff and then get down to the hardening bits. Since I pen-test as a profession, I had to get my hands on the book.
My initial impression of the book was that it was just a review of a whole lot of tools – however after reading through it further, I realised that there was a lot of very useful information involved. I hadn't heard about a large number of the tools they were talking about, and picked up some very interesting tips as well.
This book is an incredibly useful reference when you're in the middle of a test and want to look up the right tool, or figure out a new technique. I have assigned it a permanent place in my travel bag from now on.
The book is broken up into different sections like scanning, sniffers, trojans, remote access, firewalls, password crackers, web-testing tools, IDS's etc. Each section then describes at least 5 tools in that category. You wont find yourself laden down with a whole lot of theory in this book, it is here to show you that this is the right tool for the job, and does that well.
Another thing I really liked is the appendixes at the end. One of them covers different sources (websites, mailing lists etc) where you can keep up to date with security information. I've found a few good sites there already. The second one is a collection of the top 20 most common vulnerabilities as put together by the guys at SANS. Very useful stuff.
As with most I.T. books, you get a CD bundled. This is also a pleasant surprise, as it doesn't have the same collection of tools that you tend to find with other books. You get demo versions of industry strength software such as Realsecure and Internet Security Scanner, as well as Nessus and a few other miscellaneous goodies.
If I have one grouse about this book, its that I wish it went into a little more detail with some of the tools. While Windows enumeration may get a whole section, there is a lot less for the *nix world, and practically nothing for Solaris. However this is well offset by the very useful methodology they provide (I have started using a lot of their data management tips and tricks). All in all, this one gets a 3/5.