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The Network Security Test Lab

A Step-by-Step Guide



Michael Gregg













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About the Author

Mr. Michael Gregg is the CEO of Superior Solutions, Inc., a Houston based IT security-consulting firm. He has more than 20 years experience in the IT field and holds two associate's degrees, a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and many IT certifications such as: CISSP, CISA, CISM, MCSE, and CEH. Michael has authored/co-authored more than 20 books. Some include: Inside Network Security Assessment, SAMS 2005; Hack the Stack, Syngress 2006; Security Administrator Street Smarts, Syngress 2011; and How to Build Your Own Network Security Lab, Wiley 2008.

Michael has testified before the United States Congress on privacy and security breaches. He also testified before the Missouri State Attorney General's committee on cybercrime and the rise of cell phone hacking. He has spoken at major IT/Security conferences such as the NCUA auditors conference in Arlington, Virginia. He is frequently cited by major print publications as a cybersecurity expert and has also appeared as an expert commentator for network broadcast outlets and print publications such as CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, The Huffington Post, Kiplinger's, and The New York Times.

Michael enjoys giving back to the community; some of his civic engagements include Habitat for Humanity and United Way.

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Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge Christine, Betty, Curly, and all my family. Also, a special thanks to everyone at Wiley. It has been a great pleasure to have worked with you on this book. I am grateful for the help and support from Carol Long, Sydney Argenta, Debbie Dahlin, and Rob Shimonski.

Introduction

Welcome to The Network Security Test Lab. With this book, you can increase your hands-on IT security skills. The techniques and tools discussed in this book can benefit IT security designers and implementers. IT security designers will benefit as they learn more about specific tools and their capabilities. Implementers will gain firsthand experience from installing and practicing using software tools needed to secure information assets.

Overview of the Book and Technology

This book is designed for individuals who need to better understand the functionality of security tools. Its objective is to help guide those individuals in learning when and how specific tools should be deployed and what any of the tools’ specific limitations are. This book is for you if any of the following are true:

How This Book Is Organized

The contents of this book are structured as follows:

Who Should Read This Book

This book is designed for the individual with intermediate skills. While this book is focused on those who seek to set up and build a working security test lab, this does not means that others cannot benefit from it. If you already have the hardware and software needed to review specific tools and techniques, Chapter 2 is a good starting point. For other even more advanced individuals, specific chapters can be used to gain additional skills and knowledge. As an example, if you are looking to learn more about password hashing and password cracking, proceed to Chapter 6. If you are specifically interested in wireless systems, Chapter 8 is for you. So, whereas some readers may want to read the book from start to finish, there is nothing to prevent you from moving around as needed.

Tools You Will Need

Your desire to learn is the most important thing you have as you start to read this book. I try to use open source “free” software as much as possible. After all, the goal of this book is to try to make this as affordable as possible for those wanting to increase their skills. Because the developers of many free tools do not have the development funds that those who make commercial tools do, these tools can be somewhat erratic. The upside is that, if you are comfortable with coding or developing scripts, many of the tools can be customized. This gives them a wider range of usability than many commercial tools.

Tools are only half the picture. You will also need operating systems to launch tools and others to act as targets. A mixture of Linux and Windows systems will be needed for this task. We will delve into many of these issues in the first chapter. You may also want to explore sites like http://www.linuxlinks.com/distributions. There is more on this in the next section.

What’s on the Wiley Website

To make the process as easy as possible for you to get started, some of the basic tools you will need are available on the Wiley website that has been setup for this book at www.wiley.com/go/networksecuritytestlab.

Summary (From Here, Up Next, and So On)

The Network Security Test Lab is designed to take readers to the next stage of personal knowledge and skill development. Rather than presenting just the concept or discussing the tools that fit in a specific category, The Network Security Test Lab takes these topics and provides real-world implementation details. Learning how to apply higher-level security skills is an essential skill needed to pursue an advanced security career, and to make progress toward obtaining more complex security certifications, including CISSP, CASP, GSEC, CEH, CHFI, and the like. I hope that you enjoy this book, and please let me know how it helps you advance in the field of cyber security.