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Books Book Reviews

Book Review: the Network Security Test Lab: a Step-by-Step Guide 19

benrothke writes: It wasn't that long ago that building a full network security test lab was an expensive prospect. In The Network Security Test Lab: A Step-by-Step Guide, author Michael Gregg has written a helpful hands-on guide to provide the reader with an economical method to do that. The book is a step-by-step guide on how to create a security network lab, and how to use some of the most popular security and hacking tools. Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
The Network Security Test Lab: A Step-by-Step Guide
author Michael Gregg
pages 480
publisher Wiley
rating 9/10
reviewer Ben Rothk
ISBN 978-1118987056
summary Good reference to use to build out home test lab for information security
The book is a straightforward guide that will help the reader in their quest to master the art of effective use of security and hacking tools. The reader that can put in the time and plow through the 400 pages will certainly come out with a strong understanding of how to run the most common set of popular security tools.

The book is written for the reader on the budget. In the introduction, Gregg writes how one can easily find inexpensive networking equipment at budget prices on eBay. While brand new hardware devices can cost in the thousands; one can find Cisco Catalyst switches, and Nokia IP and Check Point firewalls for under $50. Combined with his emphasis on open source software and tools, this is a most practical reference for those looking to increase their security skills without breaking the bank.

The Network Security Test Lab is meant for the reader with a strong technical background looking to gain experience with network security and related security tools. Other similar books will often waste paper and the reader's time by devoting the first 50 to 100 pages with unwanted introductory text. This book hits the ground running and by page 100, the reader is already analyzing network packets with Wireshark.

As to Wireshark, the book references often. The books online site includes 6 pcap files that can be downloaded and used by the tool in order to analyze various attacks.

The book provides a good balance of coverage between Windows and Linux, and details the use of the many tools for each operating system. Each chapter ends with a series of exercises which can be used to help the reader put the information covered into practice. Those looking to gain experience on a wide variety of tools will enjoy the book. It covers a wide-range of tools and utilities.

The Network Security Test Lab is in the same genre as books such as Hacking Exposed 7: Network Security Secrets and Solutions. The difference is that Hacking Exposed focuses more on the tools, while this book shows the reader how to build a lab to mimic a real world environment. In addition, this book focuses a bit more on using a holistic approach to creating a secure network, as opposed to just hacking in.

In the effort to make the test lab as inexpensive to build as possible, the book places on emphasis on using virtualization. The book focuses on using the VMware Player; a free virtualization software toolkit for Linux and Windows.

The book is a straightforward read for the serious reader. Those willing to put in the effort and the time, to learn through the various tools will find The Network Security Test Lab: A Step-by-Step Guide a great resource in which to build and develop their information security skills.

Reviewed by Ben Rothke.

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Book Review: the Network Security Test Lab: a Step-by-Step Guide

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  • >> this book shows the reader how to build a lab to mimic a real world environment
    >> inexpensive networking equipment at budget prices on eBay

    Well, which one is it?

    • For those that want to buy used equipment on eBay, they can get it rather cheap.
      For those that don’t need cutting edge hardware, there is a lot available at near giveaway prices.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You can get a Cisco 2600 router on ebay for about $45 to $60. They are past end of life so big IT outfits don't want them in the closet, but for a home lab they are a good fit. The older gear uses almost all the same commands and protocols as the new stuff, they're just not as fast and are no longer supported. I have 3 2600's and three switches on my desk at home that I used when I was working for my CCNA. The whole rack cost me less than $250. Add a Raspberry PI as a DNS/NIS server and one or two budget PC

  • I mean, did he read past page 100? This short of a review may have worked when I was in elementary school for a kids book but I think for a book with 480 pages and is supposed to be used to gain knowledge in the field of cyber security, we need more. This is more like an ad copy than anything.

    All these books list the common tools like nmap, wireshark, kali, and use virtualization for the lab, which book doesn't?

    What makes this first edition book of an already well covered topic worth my time and money?

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