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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, Clifford Stein
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Too much coverage and few examples


I am a MS student, we used this book as Text Guide. Thank God I pass although I just got a B in part due to the poor coverage of exercises of this book. Despite of my willingness to try the examples and exercises it was really frustating not be able to check any of my answers.
First of all the book tries to cover all the possible topics related to Algorithms from sorting to NP-completeness problems. My recommendation, focus on what you know well and cover it thouroughly or at least split this book in 2 volumes.
Second, the anoying way to explain things by leaving them as exercises.
Third, the exercises were not in any way helpful to reinforce the material covered in the chapter, on the contrary are just the introduction of new concepts; and on top of that no answers available. In some cases the answers are not even related to the chapter you are reviewing, just an example, the solution for some of the problems in NP chapter are the application of Dynamic Programming which is a different chapter in the book.

If you have the unfortune of using this book, search on the net for answers that may guide you on your homework assignments.

Best of the luck.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Network Intrusion Detection (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Stephen Northcutt, Judy Novak
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Readable, intelligent, down-to-earth.


Network Intrusion Detection is rare among technical books - it's comprehensive, accurate, interesting, and intelligent; it's got none of the "filler" chapters which seem to be prevalent in the genre. It's well worth the relatively small investment of time and money required to read and understand it.
The author has "been there, done that" which gives him a perspective unavailable to professional technical authors who write about Java one month, CORBA the next, will be assigned a firewall book next.
This book will be useful to people responsible for intrusion detection, people who manage them, and to people who need to understand attack techniques and the forensic tools needed to detect and document them. Highly recommended; it's in the same class as Cheswick & Bellovin's classic _Firewalls and Internet Security_.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Exploiting Software : How to Break Code
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Greg Hoglund, Gary McGraw
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Worth a look.


"In some sense, a knowledgeable hardware hacker is one of the most powerful people in the world today." (p9)

This quote may be either alarming or inspiring, depending on your viewpoint. This ambiguity pervades the book, which also suffers from its uncertainty of purpose. As a review of the most common software exploits it succeeds, and is streets ahead of those cubical 'computer security' tomes. But the reader with some background in software engineering will be left hungry for greater detail. (This goes some way to explain the mixed reviews it has received.)

Publishers often insist that an author of a technical work cut it back severely to fit the format that their marketing people believe will sell. This may have happened here and would explain the often disjointed nature of the narrative.

A book of this nature will, or course, provide some skills upgrading for the systems cracker as well as informing the system administrator, but that is unavoidable. "Security by obscurity" works quite well in some fields (military security, for example) but not on the Internet.

With all these shortcomings, it is still worth reading for the breadth of ideas you will be introduced to. The potential scale of software vulnerability will be revealed, and you will get a quick view of the most common exploits, with some in-depth reviews of buffer overflows and rootkits. Along the way you will review server and client vulnerabilities, how targets may be assessed and penetrated, and how reverse engineering is carried out.

Topics include:
attack patterns
tour of an exploit
how attacks are implimented
reverse engineering
fault injection
finding vulnerabilities
writng plugins for IDA and other cracking tools
exploiting server software
input path tracing
exploiting trust in systems
exploiting client software
in-band signals
cross-site scripting
crafting malicious input
audit poisoning
buffer overflows (in detail)
rootkits (in detail)

The book is not an in-depth training guide to these areas but provides some much needed background. Well worth the read.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Pearls (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Jon Bentley
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Gem!


There are not many books on advanced computer programming that you actually want to read. Usually, the subject is so dry and full of theory that you have to force yourself. This book is the exception. Bentley's easy-to-read style makes this book a pleasure to read. His theoretical analysis is impeccable, but he presents complex topics in a chatty format that makes you remember the joy you felt the first time you wrote a program, and lets you know he still feels that way