Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Dec 20 2010   3:31PM GMT

Our guide to the best Network Security books

Melanie Yarbrough Profile: MelanieYarbrough

If IT Knowledge Exchange‘s Network Security month has sparked an interest in learning more, then you’ve come to the right place for some network security reading. We scoured the Internet, the forums and the search sites for network security reading materials vital to your success and understanding. So, without further ado…


Suggestions from members

The Tao of Network Security Monitoring: Beyond Intrusion Detection by Richard Bejtlich was recommended by a member of the Information Security Community LinkedIn group. Recommended for those looking for the next step after TCP/IP protocols, fairly new to network security.

Carlosdl recommends Hacking Exposed: Network Security Secrets and Solutions by Stuart McClure, Joel Scambray, and George Kurtz. It’s in its sixth edition now, published in 2009, though Carlos still has the second edition (and still recommends it!). Rather than approaching security from the defensive, Hacking Exposed puts you in the offense.

Rechil recommends Linux Network Security by Peter G. Smith, which provides an extensive analysis of network and system security practices, procedures, technologies, design issues and architectures. Another pick of Rechil’s, Aggressive Network Self-Defense by Neil R. Wyler, Bruce Potter, and Chris Hurley, also takes an offensive position rather than defensive, encouraging “security professionals [to] reach into the dark side of their tool box to identify, target, and suppress their adversaries.” Rechil goes into detail why he recommends it:

This book provides intact details of network security with root causes. Most probably, this is the first book that written on ADAM methodology for administrator to defend networks against illegal hackers and unauthorized access.

Then there are the two books that Labnuke99 finds indispensible:

NMAP Network Scanning by Gordon “Fyodor” Lyon: nmap is a must-have tool in any network or security admin toolkit – the book is great to have when you don’t have access to online docs.

Wireshark Network Analysis by Laura Chappell: You have to know how to read packet captures to be an effective network/security analyst – this book is a great source to have by your side – be sure to checkout my case study included in the book.

Some other great network security books to consider from us and SearchSecurity

Security Engineering by Ross Anderson:Anderson emphasizes the importance of marrying technology and management when trying to keep information secure.

But don’t just take our word for it, check out some recommendations by the SearchSecurity Experts for those looking to get started with network security:

* If you’re just getting started, the all-time classic book on the topic is Practical Unix & Internet Security by Gene Spafford and Simson Garfinkel. It’s the first security book I ever read and one that I still recommend. The third edition was published in 2003 and is still available. Though it is getting a little gray around the ears, it’s still a great read. The book provides an excellent introduction to security and outlines the basic principles of our craft.
* Mastering Network Security, by SANS instructor Chris Brenton, covers a wide variety of technical topics in good detail. It includes chapters that provide general network security advice as well as specific details for Cisco Systems Inc. devices, Windows and Unix systems.
* Finally, the book Network Security Hacks by Andrew Lockhart offers a good, hands-on approach to securing your network. It offers concise, practical tips that you can implement immediately.

Those are three of my top picks, but there are tons of alternatives out there as well. If you’re interested in securing a particular network technology, go visit the shelves of your local bookstore, or SearchSecurity.com’s Information Security Bookshelf, and flip through a few!

Have your own favorite network security resources you’d like to recommend? Let us know in the comments section, in the forums or by email at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

Melanie Yarbrough is the assistant community editor at ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Follow her on Twitter or send her an email at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

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