Book Review: "Corporate Computer and Network Security", R. Panko


"Corporate Computer and Network Security", Raymond R. Panko, 2004,

0-13-038471-2 %A Raymond R. Panko %C One Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 %D 2004 %G 0-13-038471-2 %I Prentice Hall %O 800-576-3800 +1-201-236-7139 fax: +1-201-236-7131 %O
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Audience a- Tech 2 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation) %P 522 p. %T "Corporate Computer and Network Security"

In the preface (for teachers), Panko states that this is a text for a security course. The book is said to be based on the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) "exam," although there is a definite lack of material dealing with architecture, physical security, and security management.

Chapter one is a list of possible attacks and security problems. There are "Test Your Understanding" questions sprinkled throughout, but they are mostly on the level of fact-based reading checks. (One of the later examples asks "What is shoulder surfing?" immediately under a paragraph on shoulder surfing.) There is also a chapter "1a" with a collection of very terse "case studies" (one is only a sentence in length). Access control and a tiny mention of physical security is in chapter two. (As well as a very strange mention of wireless LANs: the author considers WLAN access to be a factor of site security.)

There are odd and sometimes careless mistakes: "rters" is said to be four characters. The emphasis seems to be on minutiae rather than concepts. A lot of material is repeated: two separate paragraphs deal with piggybacking, only five paragraphs apart. The facts are generally correct, but the discussions are often misleading if not wrong: a confusing deliberation of what is probably false acceptance incorrectly refers to the situation as false rejection. Chapter three reviews the TCP/IP protocol suite. (Again, the conceptual material is weak: Panko asserts that the real world uses an amalgam of the OSI [Open Systems Interconnection] and TCP/IP models, whereas the TCP/IP protocol suite is generally described with reference to the OSI model.

Anyone who has actually used the OSI protocols knows why the rest of the world uses TCP/IP.) Network attacks are discussed in chapter four. (Oddly, in the midst of a list of net probing activities comes a mention of looking up corporate information on the Security and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database.) There is also a rather limited section on malware. Chapter five looks at firewalls. Some generic advice on hardening hosts or desktop computers is given in chapter six.

Chapters seven and eight contain miscellaneous references to cryptographic ideas or practices. Most of the discussion of application security, in chapter nine, is limited to Web and e- commerce problems. Chapter ten is a rather mixed bag of incident response, automated intrusion detection, and business continuity planning. Security should be managed, says chapter eleven, but it doesn't give an awful lot of help on how it can be done. Most of chapter twelve looks at computer related laws.

The book seems to be a very loosely structured compilation of points related to security. The lack of overall organization means that material is often disjointed and repetitive. As with anything, in the hands of a good teacher this could be used for a computer security course text. In the hands of one who followed the text closely, the course would be a bit ragged.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2005 BKCPCNSC.RVW 20050614

====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer) There's nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. - Peter F. Drucker

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