REVIEW: "Web Security, Privacy and Commerce", Simson Garfinkel/Gene Spafford
- BKWBSPCM.RVW 20021106
"Web Security, Privacy and Commerce", Simson Garfinkel/Gene Spafford,
2002, 0-596-00045-6, U$44.95/C$67.95
%A Simson Garfinkel simsong@...
%A Gene Spafford spaf@...
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$44.95/C$67.95 800-998-9938 707-829-0515 nuts@...
%P 756 p.
%T "Web Security, Privacy and Commerce"
Anyone who does not know the names Spafford and Garfinkel simply does
not know the field of data security. The authors, therefore, are well
aware that data security becomes more complex with each passing week.
This is, after all, the second edition of what was originally
published under the title "Web Security and Commerce," and, while it
is still recognizable as such, the work is essentially completely re-
written. The authors note, in the Preface, that the book cannot hope
to cover all aspects of Web security, and therefore they concentrate
on those topics that are absolutely central to the concept, and/or not
widely available elsewhere. Works on related issues are suggested
both at the beginning and end of the book.
A greatly expanded part one introduces the topic, and the various
factors involved in Web security. Chapter one is a very brief
overview of Web security considerations and requirements, with some
material on general security concepts and risk analysis. The
underlying architecture of the Web is examined in chapter two,
although this is basically limited to Internet structures. (While the
material is quite informative, perhaps some examples of HTTP
[HyperText Transfer Protocol] would add value.) Cryptography is
explained reasonably well in chapter three: there is no in-depth
discussion of cryptographic algorithms, but these details can be
readily found in other works. Chapter four deals with cryptographic
uses, and also with legal restrictions. The concepts and limitations
of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) are
given in chapter five, although the operational details are not
covered. Chapter six starts out with a general discussion of
identification and authentication,but then gets bogged down in the
details of using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). The coverage of digital
certificates, in chapter seven, is likewise constricted by a
dependence upon system technicalities.
Part two concerns the user.
Chapter two looks at the various possible problems with browsers, not
all of which are related to Web page programming. Chapter eight looks
analytically at the possible invasions of privacy that can occur on
the Web. Some non-technical techniques of protecting your privacy,
such as good password choice, are described in chapter nine, with
various technical means listed in chapter ten. Chapter eleven reviews
backups and some physical protection systems. ActiveX and the
limitations of authentication certificates, as well as plugins and
Visual Basic, are thoroughly explored in chapter twelve. Java
security is only marginally understood by many "experts," and not at
all by users, so the coverage in chapter thirteen is careful to point
out the difference between safety, security, and the kind of security
risks that can occur even if the sandbox *is* secure.
Part three details technical aspects of securing Web servers. Chapter
fourteen looks at physical security and disaster recovery measures.
Traditional host security weaknesses are reviewed in chapter fifteen.
Rules for secure CGI (Common Gateway Interface) and API (Application
Programmer Interface) programming are promulgated in chapter sixteen,
along with tips for various languages. More details on the server-
side use of SSL is given in chapter seventeen. Chapter eighteen looks
at specific strengthening measures for Web servers. You legal options
for prosecuting a computer crime is reviewed in chapter nineteen.
Commercial and societal concerns in regard to content are major areas
in Web security, so part six reviews a number of topics related to
commerce, as well as other social factors. Chapter twenty discusses a
number of technical access control technologies, by system. Obtaining
a client-side certificate is described in chapter twenty one.
Microsoft's Authenticode system is reviewed yet again in chapter
twenty two. Censorship and site blocking are carefully examined in
chapter twenty three. Privacy policies, systems, and legislation are
reviewed in chapter twenty four. Chapter twenty five looks at current
non-cash payment systems, and the various existing, and proposed,
digital payment systems for online commerce. Having already studied
criminal problems earlier, the book now turns to civil and
intellectual property issues, such as copyright, in chapter twenty
Although it has almost nothing to do with Web security as such, I very
much enjoyed Appendix A, Garfinkel's recounting of the lessons learned
in setting up a small ISP (Internet Service Provider). (I suppose
that this could be considered valid coverage of Web commerce.) The
other appendices are more directly related to the topic, including the
SSL protocol, the PICS (Platform for Internet Content Selection)
specification, and references.
Although the material has been valuably expanded and updated, some of
the new content is less worthwhile. The extensive space given to
specific products will probably date quickly, although the surrounding
conceptual text will continue to provide helpful guidance. Certainly
for anyone dealing with Web servers or running ISPs, this is a
reference to consider seriously.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998, 2002 BKWBSPCM.RVW 20021106
rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
Find book info victoria.tc.ca/techrev/ or sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/
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