Penetration Tester's Open Source Toolkit, Volume 2

Jeremy Faircloth, Chris Hurley, Jesse Varsalone

  • 出版商: Syngress Media
  • 出版日期: 2007-11-30
  • 定價: $1,800
  • 售價: 2.2$399
  • 語言: 英文
  • 頁數: 592
  • 裝訂: Paperback
  • ISBN: 1597492132
  • ISBN-13: 9781597492133

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* Automate even the most complex tasks using IDA Pros development environment I am not sure why Penetration Tester's Open Source Toolkit (PTOST) was published. If you have no other security assessment books, you may find PTOST helpful. Otherwise, I don't believe this book offers enough value to justify purchasing it. Other books -- some published by Syngress -- cover some of the same ideas, and 5 of PTOST's chapters are published in other books anyway.

I was somewhat confused by PTOST's approach. The book features the logo of the Auditor live CD, along with a foreword by Auditor developer Max Moser. A version of Auditor is included with the book. However, PTOST isn't exactly a guide to Auditor. In fact, only on the back cover do we see a listing of the "CD contents." This list is odd since it does not distinguish between categories of tools (e.g., "Forensics") and the tools themselves (e.g., "Autopsy"). At the very least the book should have included an appendix listing the Auditor tools and a summary of their purpose.

PTOST does not feature enough original content to warrant buying the book. I think Osborne's Hacking Exposed, 5th Ed (HE5E) (or even the 4th Ed) addresses the phases of compromise in a more coherent and valuable manner. This is especially true for Ch 1 (Reconnaissance) and Ch 2 (Enumeration and Scanning); is there really anything original left to say on those subjects? I admit that coverage of certain SensePost tools was helpful, and SpiderFoot was cool.

Those looking to learn about database assessment (Ch 3) or Web hacking (Ch 4) would be better served by Syngress' own Special Ops: Host and Network Security for Microsoft, Unix, and Oracle. HE5E has a good chapter on Web hacking, and there's even a Hacking Exposed: Web Applications (HEWA) book. (A second edition of HEWA arrives this year, as does Syngress' new Web Application Security: A Guide for Developers and Penetration Testers.) However, I did like hearing about OScanner, SQLAT, and OAT in Ch 3.

Ch 5 (Wireless Penetration Testing Using Auditor), was one of my favorite chapters. It covered the material well enough, and it covered tools included with Auditor. The case studies were also helpful. Ch 6 (Network Devices) resembled Chs 1 and 2; it didn't contain anything really new. I could not understand why Ch 7 (Writing Open Source Security Tools) appeared in a book more or less about using a penetration testing live CD. The audiences for those using live CDs and those writing their own tools seem very different.

I also liked Ch 8 (Running Nessus from Auditor). Like Ch 5, it looked at the unique problems one encounters using a live CD for security work. For example, author Johnny Long offers multiple ways to update the Nessus plugins to a USB drive. This is exactly the sort of knowledge not found in other Nessus books. He also takes a look behind the scenes of the Nessus startup script on Auditor. Bravo.

I stopped reading PTOST after Ch 8. Why? Chs 9, 12, and 13 are published in Syngress' Writing Security Tools and Exploits (as Chs 9, 10, and 11). Chs 10 and 11 from PTOST are the same as Chs 3 and 4 from Syngress' Nessus, Snort, and Ethereal Power Tools. This tendency to reprint chapters from other books is worrisome.

I believe a second edition of PTOST would be more helpful if it focused strictly on tools found on a future assessment live CD, namely BackTrack. (BackTrack is a new live CD uniting the Auditor and Whax projects.) In fact, the authors might consider taking a case-based approach for the whole book. I thought the case studies in PTOST were some of the best material. For those looking for a comprehensive guide to security assessment, I recommend waiting for a second edition of Special Ops. Those who want a wide-ranging guide to security tools will like the recently published third edition of Osborne's Anti-Hacker Toolkit.

 

The Penetration Tester's Open Source Toolkit is a new offering from Syngress that primarily focuses on using the Auditor live CD. The 200605-02-ipw2100 version comes included with the book; if you have an IPW2200 wireless interface in your laptop, though, the 802.11x tools won't work as it doesn't include the proper driver.

The book walks through using a number of Open Source or free tools for overall reconnaissance, enumeration, and scanning (most of which everyone's seen before), but then it delves into database, web application, and wireless testing as well as network devices. There's a chapter on "Writing Open Source Security Tools", but it's a little misleading as it's a quick guide to writing security tools without any real discussion of open source development or what it means other than an appendix that briefly includes and talks about the GPL and why it's good.

There are four chapters on Nessus, most of which focus on using NASL and other ways of extending the venerable vulnerability scanner. The final two chapters discuss the Metasploit Project; the first of these is also misleading as it's not so much about "Extending Metasploit" as it is an (admittedly good) introduction to the Framework. The second does a decent walkthrough of developing an exploit with Metasploit, including other offerings from the project like the Opcode Database and such.

It's a very useful book; much of it you'll already know, but there's a lot of discussion about tools that I hadn't seen before. A few of the tools are mostly out-dated, and not all of them are on the Auditor CD, but this goes beyond simple discussions of nmap and whois; even some Google tools from Sensepost are examined. The database chapter features a lot of great information about Oracle but is cursory in its discussion of SQL Server (though I'll be reviewing another book focusing on database testing in the near future). The other topic areas receive decent coverage, if somewhat fast-paced from time to time.

I'm not an expert in NASL, so all I can say about the Nessus chapters is that they appear fairly in-depth and should be useful to me in the future; if you don't know much about scripting for Nessus, at a minimum they'll be a good introduction. The Metasploit Framework was something I'd never used before, but with the help of this book and a few other resources on the Net, it's immediately become a staple in my toolbox along with venerable testing resources like nmap and Nessus - the software is that good, and the text here is clear enough that you should be able to get started with it right away.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this book, but it's not as in-depth as I had expected when it arrived. Even though the book is 678 pages long, not including the GPL or the index, the type face is fairly large and there are a lot of examples and sidebars. I'd like a little wider margins and a little smaller point size so that I could make better notes. There are a number of typos, few of which have any technical signifance (those that do are mostly incorrect acronym explications). The technical level feels just right to me for a mid-level security consultant: this is deeper than Hacking Exposed but it's not quite as technical as Hacking: The Art of Exploitation. It won't hold your hand, but you don't need to understand assembly and the intricacies of buffer overflows for all but a few portions of the book (it would be a good idea for you to learn them, though!) Also note that the book focuses on vulnerability assessment; further exploitation of a compromised system is not really discussed. That is, tools and techniques to demonstrate vulnerabilities are shown, but once you're in, you're on your own.

I'd recommend this to anyone involved in vulnerability assessment or penetration testing, whether as a consultant, system administrator, security engineer, etc., if for no other reason than it may introduce you to some tools you haven't seen before.