07 May 2020

Linux Firewalls by Michael Rash

Linux Firewalls: Attack Detection and Response with iptables, psad, and fwsnort is a quite interesting book about iptables features to be configured as an UTM device through its integration with Snort specific iptables plugins for log correlation, traffic access control.
This book has many real examples and detailed configurations. I could not test those configurations in a lab so I cannot see them running, but expect this tool and its way to be configured evolve with time.

In my humble opinion, tools detailed in this book are useful for home usage and SOHO environments only able to afford free open source tools. For more exigent corporate environments, I feel this solutions loosely integrated, with a difficult maintenance if your network is big and heterogeneous  and besides nowadays there are many commercial tools with a reduced price for almost every firm.

I felt more interesting explanations given by author for many networks attacks. Those explanations are very detailed but easily understandable. Nevertheless, most part of those attacks are known at the public domain for long time, so hardened security engineers won't learn anything new here.

Summarizing: This book is correct but only really useful for those who are making their first steps in security engineering world.  

20 April 2020

"Bitcoin for the befuddled" by Conrad Barsky and Chris Wilmer

Bitcoin is one of the hottest topics today. It has gone further than a technological oddity to an evolutionary lap for finances and a matter of discussion for politicians. But understanding Bitcoin is hard. Its concepts are new and its foundations are mathematical and technological so average people have an hard time trying to understand what Bitcoin is based on.

The main good point of this book is that it tries to follow the way described by its title. You are not supposed to have any technical background to read this book, as it explain things for average people using usual day concepts and examples. Even using comics and funny drawings author are able to make easy really complex concepts that other books try to explain overwhelming you with math formula.

Sure, your are not going to develop a bitcoin based app or become the next digital billionaire just reading this book, but at least you'll lose your fears and start to understand what all this fuss is about and how it can change your life in the future. It is a light reading that you can end in just a weekend.

So, this book is quite recommended for everybody who wants to learn quickly the very basics of Bitcoin, both just to understand media news about cryptocurrencies and as a first step of further learning about this topic.