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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Surprised that some people rated this book poorly


This book isn't for the weak minded. It's not an introductory book on the subject of design patterns, but it is the best design patterns reference available. The book is technical and complex, but if you want to know anything and everything about patterns, here you are.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Security Warrior
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Cyrus Peikari, Anton Chuvakin
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
excellent breadth with substantial depth


The difficulty with writing a book like this--a comprehensive look at security of applications, systems, and networks from the perspective of attacker and defender--is that it covers such a wide territory that it is impossible to touch on everything, let alone go into great detail, and is almost instantly out-of-date.

Peikari and Chuvakin have done quite well at presenting a book that offers something for beginner and expert alike, though it of course suffers from these flaws. The book is already out-of-date in a number of respects. The biggest such deficiency that I noticed was in its coverage of denial of service attack tools, which seemed to date circa 2001 (Trinoo, Tribal Flood Network, Stacheldraht), leaving out mention of the current scourge of bots and botnets.

The book is unusual in its coverage of an issue that has not received the attention it deserves--application security--though it focuses only on reverse engineering and the writing of exploits such as buffer overflows. To be fair, the book's section of five chapters on software are under the heading "Software Cracking," and aren't intended to be coverage of software flaws or secure coding (see Graff and van Wyk's book for an overview of that subject).

The second section of the book is on "network stalking"--reconnaissance, scanning, fingerprinting, and includes a thin and light chapter on social engineering (citing Cialdini's classic and highly recommended book Influence as well as Kevin Mitnick's The Art of Deception, though the latter work is not properly referenced).

Part three is on "Platform Attacks" and covers Unix, Windows, SOAP XML, SQL Injection, and Wireless Security. This material isn't much different than what you'd find in the Hacking Exposed series.

The final part is on "Advanced Defense" and includes chapters on analyzing logs, using IDS and honeypots, incident response, and forensics and anti-forensics. In some ways it seems like the authors were trying to do too much, and some of the chapters seem rather thin compared to more in-depth works on those particular subjects. The breadth, however, is quite impressive and unmatched by any other book on these subjects I'm aware of, while the depth is also greater than many security books. I recommend it as a good introduction and overview, to be supplemented by other works for further depth.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: PHP Cookbook
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: David Sklar, Adam Trachtenberg
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Allow Unix scripters to learn PHP in record time.


This book, utilizing O'Reilly's cookbook format, starts each chapter with common tasks and describes nearly every aspect of PHP required to perform the task. I have previous Unix scripting experience and I was quickly able to develop quality PHP applications in a very short amount of time. The cookbook format allows me to easily return to important sections for refresher information.... thus making this a great learning tool and an excellent reference.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Operating Systems (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Harvey M. Deitel, Paul J. Deitel, David R. Choffnes
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The best of learning operating systems theory


If your not an expert in computer science, or even if you are just a beginner, you'll find this book quite useful no matter the operating system you work with. This is also an entertaining book, since it can be read from the beginning to the end the same way you could do it with an exciting novel.Concepts are explained very clearly and, if you'd like to go deeper in any topic, there's an extensive bibliography for every chapter. The document's structure is the same along the book, beginning with introductory text, an ending with a summary of concepts.Don't be afraid if you're not a brilliant hacker. This book explains everything in such a friendly way, that it makes operating systems theory appear easier than other operating systems books do. Everybody can learn from it!