Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks

Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks

by Michal Zalewski
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Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks by Michal Zalewski

There are many ways that a potential attacker can intercept information, or learnmore about the sender, as the information travels over a network. Silence on the Wireuncovers these silent attacks so that system administrators can defend against them,as well as better understand and monitor their systems.

Silence on the Wire dissects several unique and fascinating security andprivacy problems associated with the technologies and protocols used in everydaycomputing, and shows how to use this knowledge to learn more about others or tobetter defend systems. By taking an indepth look at modern computing, from hardwareon up, the book helps the system administrator to better understand security issues,and to approach networking from a new, more creative perspective. The sys admin canapply this knowledge to network monitoring, policy enforcement, evidence analysis,IDS, honeypots, firewalls, and forensics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593270469
Publisher: No Starch Press
Publication date: 04/28/2005
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 1,299,342
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Michal Zalewski is an internationally recognized information security expert with a long track record of delivering cutting-edge research. He is credited with discovering hundreds of notable security vulnerabilities and frequently appears on lists of the most influential security experts. He is the author of Silence on the Wire (No Starch Press), Google's "Browser Security Handbook," and numerous important research papers.

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4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Luis_M More than 1 year ago
Before I bought this book I had seen some of Zalewski's work: his museum of broken packets and his famous Mozilla Firefox vulnerability reports. Because of that, I suspected Zalewski's book would be worth reading. Well, It actually turned out to be much more than that. Silence on the wire is an awesome book, clearly targeted for security enthusiasts. In its 18 chapters, it shows many different (and often undetectable) ways in which an attacker can obtain useful information just by watching the way your systems behave. Did you know that in some cases it's possible to determine an attacker's system clock time that is port-scanning one of your boxes? Did you know that there are ways to identify decoys and spoofed packets? Or that you can recover the information being transmitted by a modem just by observing its LEDs? Reading the book you may find that your Ethernet card is leaking kernel-space information, that your system's pseudo-random-number-generator is not that random but totally predictable or that someone is remotely port-scanning your server while all you can see are incoming TCP SYN packets coming from a trusted box. Every chapter starts with an introduction, then discusses one or more attack vectors and finally gives some "food for thought", this is, ideas for further research or further paranoia. Sometimes those introductions are longer than they should but at the same time they provide the background required to understand what comes next. For every chapter, the book also includes a list of references to relevant papers, specifications or research projects. It is true that the book is 5 years old, but believe me, I didn't find a single line that was outdated. Hey, the book even talks about the recent Kaminsky's DNS vulnerability research and it was published 4 years before it became public! Its fair to say that some of the techniques explained in the book are difficult to use in real world situations but still, they will give you an idea of all the threats you are exposed to. Things can sometimes get scary... Honestly, I highly recommend this book for anyone that enjoys network security from a technical point of view, anyone that has to protect critical systems against skilled attackers, or anyone that is interested on knowing how much can someone know about a computer system just using passive and undetectable techniques. I think this is the most interesting security-related book I've read since Schneier's "Applied Cryptography".
Guest More than 1 year ago
Makes you ponder. 'Silence' is not a book about using the latest version of an IDS like Nessus, where you get tons of detail about all its abilities. Instead, Zalewski goes back to the basics of IP and TCP. Much of the book revolves around low level fields in the IP or TCP headers. And how different operating systems often have different policies about filling these fields. A Microsoft OS and a Unix OS would initialise a TTL with different values. So what? Well, a passive surveillance of traffic might give a reasonable guess as to the OS, based on observed TTLs coming from that machine. Other aspects also come under similar reductionist scrutiny. Some of you with a maths background might appreciate the book's analysis of the pseudo random number generators using in making sequence numbers. There are 3 dimensional plots of these outputs, which show very different shapes for different OSs. More importantly, most do not exhibit good randomness. Zalewski eloquently demonstrates these shortcomings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago