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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon, Steve Wozniak
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Common sense


I just finished Kevin Mitnick's Art of Deception. I started the book after I saw 3rd episode of The Broken and a friend told me he has just bought a copy while visiting London.
I expected an eye opening and high-tech hacker book, but I was very disappointed. In his book Mitnick lists plenty of social engineering stories, couple of which do represent a fresh way to look at things, but after reading couple of them, he just starts to repeat himself. Another disappointment was that there are absolutely no practical hacker hints or tricks and almost no computer related stuff in this book. After every story Mitnick gives advice, but that is typically just common sense and I have doubts how his methods of keeping a company safe of social engineers could be practical in a professional world.
So, if you don't have any other idea what to read on the beach this summer, you can grab a copy. But if you are into computers and over 14, you'll probably struggle to read the book to the end



Product: Book - Textbook Binding
Title: Routing TCP/IP Volume I (CCIE Professional Development)
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Jeff Doyle
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Routing TCP/IP Volume I


I've just finished reading Jeff Doyle's "Routing TCP/IP Volume I" book and feel confident that I can now pass the CCIE lab in the near future. His presentation of TCP/IP IGP routing protocols is very clear and concise, with a perspective and insight into internetworking which is rarely encountered. This edition combines introductory, historical, conceptual and practical materials, and RFC's, with a first rate writing ability into one scintillating package.
The chapter on OSPF was particularly satisfying going into the depth where the next step would be research into the protocol. Having said that there is a very pragmatic side to this book including configuration examples within the text as well as configuration and troubleshooting exercises and review questions at the end of the relevant chapters.
By leaving nothing on IGP's out and all the while remaining emminently readable, this book marks a very welcome and refreshing addition to the internetworking literature and will no doubt become known as a seminal work. I truly appreciate what I have learnt from this book, and am very much looking forward to the publication of Jeff's next work on EGP's, in Volume II, in July.



Product: Book - Textbook Binding
Title: Routing TCP/IP Volume I (CCIE Professional Development)
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Jeff Doyle
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Routing TCP/IP Volume I


I've just finished reading Jeff Doyle's "Routing TCP/IP Volume I" book and feel confident that I can now pass the CCIE lab in the near future. His presentation of TCP/IP IGP routing protocols is very clear and concise, with a perspective and insight into internetworking which is rarely encountered. This edition combines introductory, historical, conceptual and practical materials, and RFC's, with a first rate writing ability into one scintillating package.
The chapter on OSPF was particularly satisfying going into the depth where the next step would be research into the protocol. Having said that there is a very pragmatic side to this book including configuration examples within the text as well as configuration and troubleshooting exercises and review questions at the end of the relevant chapters.
By leaving nothing on IGP's out and all the while remaining emminently readable, this book marks a very welcome and refreshing addition to the internetworking literature and will no doubt become known as a seminal work. I truly appreciate what I have learnt from this book, and am very much looking forward to the publication of Jeff's next work on EGP's, in Volume II, in July.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Authors: SIMON SINGH
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
"Popular science" that is accurate and easy to read


I'm sure everyone is familiar with the idea of the "monoalphabetic cipher," wherein a message is written in code by letting one letter represent another. To the untrained eye, the resulting text looks like gibberish without any structure. This is the starting point of Simon Singh's excellent primer on the nature of codes and ciphers, and he quickly points out the inherent weakness of the monoalphabetic cipher. As fans of game shows like Wheel of Fortune know, some letters are more common than others; the cipher is easily broken by frequency analysis - the most common letters in the enciphered text are going to be E, A, and S, for example. So, in fact, the enciphered text DOES have structure, and it's there for the deciphering by a codebreaker.
The strength of Singh's book is its readability and structure. He introduces various methods of encoding information, points out the weaknesses that were exploited to break the code, then how the cryptographers came up with a new code to foil the codebreakers. Singh especially stresses the practicality of each method - there are very simple encoding schemes that are actually unbreakable, but also completely impractical for everyday use. This is especially important to the military - what good is a battlefield code if it takes too long to decode?
Early chapters are of historical interest, but also contain codes and ciphers that are very easy to understand, so the reader gets comfortable with the language and problems of cryptography. Each chapter presents a more complex cipher than the previous, and each time Singh explains it easily, even such convoluted automations as the Nazi Enigma machine. He offers some fascinating diversions into ancient language elucidation (e.g., heiroglyphics), and eventually ends with a discussion of quantum computers and quantum cryptography. This is an area especially challenging to explain to the lay reader - based on the other reviews, he has done well. This section is clear and fascinating to read. As a chemist familiar with quantum mechanics, I can assure you that the scientific facts are presented accurately, much to the author's credit.
Therefore, I highly recommend this book as an insightful, educational, and enjoyable introduction to cryptography. You will learn a lot, and will enjoy learning it.