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Windows(R) XP Professional Security

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Microsoft Windows Security Resource Kit

[Smith&Komar2003]Microsoft Windows Security Resource Kit

by Ben Smith and Brian Komar

Publisher page: Microsoft Security Resource Kit
Stay secure with this in-depth, straight-from-the-source guide covering systems, servers, clients, networks, and Internet services.

  Table of Contents
  Sample Chapter
An overly wordy reference with lots of hidden gems, January 27, 2004
Reviewer: Craig Humphrey (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews

I've read nearly a dozen security related books now, including a lot from the Hacking Exposed team. This doesn't compare. There's no flare, there's no personality, it's a reference text.

It reads like a text book, infact, 90% of what's in it is probably in the standard MS texts, manuals and online. So while it's great they've brought all this info together in one place, they might have been better to wrap explination around references, rather than repeating information verbose.

There are lots of gems hidden away, like a detailed description of how kerberos and the token issueing processes work. But sometimes it really falls short, like when listing security related event IDs, it only lists the "more common" ones and there's no reference to locate the rest.

I read this cover to cover, which I think was a mistake, it's probably better as a reference, where if you've got a task to perform, you skim the relevant sections.

Your milage may vary.

Great security info and not just for administrators, August 12, 2003
Reviewer: Steven L. Umbach (Bartlett, Il United States) - See all my reviews

The Windows Security Resource Kit is a wonderful wealth of information on securing Windows networks and operating systems. It is useful for anyone above the beginner level. It concentrates on using features of primarily Windows 2000 and XP to maximize security for various levels of needs. It is not about building a bastion host or configuring firewalls.

It is not a "cookbook" like too many training manuals are these days and is not full of fluff - it covers a lot of territory in it's 680 pages and is not geared for technogeeks, but is clearly written and understandable to the average Joe and Jane [except page 349]. The first two chapters put you in the security "mindset" - Key Principles of Security [including the Ten Immutable Laws of Security] and Understanding Your Enemy. I think that is very important, because security needs to be approached from an attitude about what you are up against and how only one vulnerability can sink your boat.

The next twenty three chapters are logically divided into security topics that can later be accessed easily as needed for reference purposes. Each chapter ends with best pratices recap and references to other books or Knowledge Base articles.

I thought the "meat" of the book was thorough, interesting, and accurate. Finally I have one place to go for an explaination of what ALL the user rights, security options, and services are. There is an excellent chapter on securing tcp/ip with specific recommendations on registry modifications to defend against a denial of service attack and even a .vbs script on the cdrom to implement them all. An equally excellent chapter on auditing including comprehensive tables explaining Event Ids and Event ID 681 failure codes. I finally know what the difference is between auditing account log on and log on events.

Chapter 10 goes into great detail about ALL of the various settings in the Web Content Zones for Internet Explorer and how to configure them for your needs. Cookie/Privacy settings are also explained in detail. Chapter 7 includes specific recommendations on ntfs security settings for every folder in a new installation and a security template to implement them.

I was impressed with Chapter 21 in that it shows you how to secure an IIS 5.0 server without having to be an IIS expert. Chapters 22 and 23 nicely explain patch management, Windows Update, using Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer tool, and using SUS for patch management on a large scale basis. The chapter on remote access and vpn explains the differences in pptp and l2tp and when to use each.

Other chapters cover securing Terminal Services, authentication - various settings for Lan Manager authentication level, managing security templates/Security Configuration and Analysis tool, wireless networking/WEP, EFS [ten pages of crucial info], ipsec, Certificate Services, Group Policy, Active Directory [I now know how to use dsacls to reset object permissions to default], securing laptops [very informative], permissions, account/password policies, and managing users. Chapter 24 covers using security assessment tools including how to port scan and a extensive chart of common Windows ports and what applications use them.

Part VI of the book breaks away from Windows specific configurations and is called Planning and Performing Security Assessments and Incident Responses. It discusses vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and security audits. This part is also extremely informative to those of us who are not trained in what to do after an incident - what to do when an intrusion is detected, who to inform , and most importantly how to preserve data in the event of criminal prosecution or to reconstruct the attack. The last chapter goes into privacy issues that one needs to know as how far can one go in gathering information from a legal standpoint.

Windows Security Resource kit is a very valuable resource in my opinion to anyone interested in securing a Windows computer or network. The writing style is very understandable and you do not have to read the whole book for it to make sense if only certain topics are of interest. It does not however go into too much detail on importance of virus/trojan protection or perimiter/firewall security but there are whole other books written on those topics. The included cdrom has many tools from the Resource Kit and the book itself. I also highly recommend it to anyone studying for their MCSE and consider it a "must have" for anyone planning to take any of the MCSE security exams or pursue the MCSE Security certification. Kudos to Microsoft Press for this one.

 Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows Server

[Northrup&Thomas2004]  Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-299): Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows Server(TM) 2003 Network (Pro-Certification (Paperback))
by Tony Northrup, Orin Thomas

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

this is an example how a mcse book should be written, October 10, 2004

Perna Antonio "Antonio review" (Italy) - See all my reviews

I have taken, and passed, this 70-299 exam just reading _deeply_ this text and the recommended free on-line resources associated with it. It means it is very well written, since l haven't taken other ms win 2003 exams. I would say a must for people interested in securing ms enviroments and for professionals that want to understand what are they doing. I have also read other mcse books, like 70-270 and win2k one's, no one can be compared with this one, no one was useful for the certification like this one has been.

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Passed the Exam and Great content, June 16, 2004
William V. O'Sullivan (Springfield, IL United States) - See all my reviews

I just passed the exam, and this book was an important method of study for me. There are quite a few pragmatic examples regarding security and various standards and questions that will help on the exam, and just increase a general understanding of Windows Server 2003 security,


Microsoft Windows Security Inside Out for Windows XP and Windows 2000


[Bott&Siechert2002]Microsoft Windows Security Inside Out for Windows XP and Windows 2000

by Ed Bott Carl Siechert

Part 1 Windows Security Essentials

Part 2 Protecting Your Personal Computer

Part 3 Protecting a Network

Part 4 Extreme Security

Windows(R) XP Professional Security

[Weber&Bahadur2002] Windows(R) XP Professional Security

by Chris Weber, Gary Bahadur

Programming Windows Security

[Brown2000] Programming Windows Security

by Keith Brown