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REVIEW: "The Software Vulnerability Guide", Herbert H. Thompson/Scott G. Chase

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKSWVLGD.RVW 20051109 The Software Vulnerability Guide , Herbert H. Thompson/Scott G. Chase, 2005, 1-58450-358-0, U$49.95/C$64.95 %A Herbert H. Thompson
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2006
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      BKSWVLGD.RVW 20051109

      "The Software Vulnerability Guide", Herbert H. Thompson/Scott G.
      Chase, 2005, 1-58450-358-0, U$49.95/C$64.95
      %A Herbert H. Thompson
      %A Scott G. Chase
      %C 403 VFW Drive, PO Box 417, Rockland, MA 02370
      %D 2005
      %G 1-58450-358-0
      %I Charles River Media
      %O U$49.95/C$64.95 800-382-8505 fax 6178714376 info@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1584503580/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/1584503580/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience a- Tech 2 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 354 p. + CD-ROM
      %T "The Software Vulnerability Guide"

      As part one is an introduction to security and vulnerabilities,
      chapter one is what would normally be the introduction or preface to
      the book. The content is surprisingly vague about the intention of,
      and audience for, the text. A few security and network topics make up
      chapter two. Miscellaneous security utilities are listed in chapter

      Part two looks at system level attacks. Chapter four examines some
      issues with access control and privilege. Password strength is the
      topic of chapter five, but a lot of space is devoted to code for a
      cracking program. Scripts, and some of the ways they can be used
      maliciously, are mentioned in chapter six. Chapter seven examines
      some of the ways that the use of dynamic link libraries can affect

      Part three reviews data parsing. Chapter eight contains a clear
      explanation of buffer overflows, although it takes a great deal of
      space to convey relatively limited information. An unclear exposition
      on proprietary data formats and the corruption of files is in chapter
      nine. The material on format strings, in chapter ten, describes one
      particular case involving the lack of strong data typing, malformed
      input data, and buffer overflows. Chapter eleven remarks that integer
      overflows can be prevented by testing values at the extremes of
      expected ranges.

      Part four surveys information disclosure issues. Chapter twelve says
      that passwords should not be stored in plain text and notes some
      (rather complicated) ways to test for programs that do make this
      mistake. Dangers in the sloppy use of temporary files are addressed
      in chapter thirteen. The reuse of memory is covered in chapter
      fourteen, along with issues of garbage collection. Chapter fifteen is
      supposed to deal with finding memory traces left in the swap file, but
      really only searches for text from a deleted file on a floppy disk.

      Part five looks at network activity. Chapter sixteen discusses
      various versions of spoofing. Reducing the amount of information
      given in response to probes and errors is suggested in chapter

      Part six turns specifically to Web sites. Chapter eighteen outlines
      cross-site scripting, although it does not do well at explaining how
      the attack would work in the real world. Careless programming of the
      Common Gateway Interface (CGI) is deplored in chapter nineteen, and a
      few other malicious possibilities are explored in twenty. SQL
      injection is outlined in chapter twenty-one. A grab bag of other Web
      issues is in chapter twenty-two.

      Part seven finishes off with chapter twenty-three encouraging the
      reader to learn from the mistakes of others.

      The chapters are very short, and so the material is quite terse. It
      is also poorly structured, and generally far from complete. In some
      cases the content deals at great length with one specific problem in
      one specific language, while other more sweeping issues are barely
      mentioned. The security literature is certainly deficient in titles
      dealing with the practice of secure programming and development, but
      this work, even though it does contain any number of valuable tips,
      does not deal with the need for application development security in a
      complete and straightforward fashion.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2005 BKSWVLGD.RVW 20051109

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      Q. What is the difference between a computer salesman and a used
      car salesman?
      A. A car salesman knows how to drive, and knows when he's lying.
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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