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This chapter is from the book

1.2 Who Should Read This Book?

This book will aid Linux and UNIX System Administrators (SysAdmins) in making their systems and networks as secure as possible from intruders and improper action of the users. It covers both quick and simple solutions, and some more involved solutions to eliminate every possible vulnerability.

It is organized to allow the busy SysAdmin to increase the security of the systems one piece at a time. It is recognized that one cannot take a system down for a week and work exclusively on its security for that week. In the real world, a SysAdmin's time is divided up by many tasks that cannot wait and systems are too critical to stay down for long.

In the real world, some systems will be broken into despite the best efforts of talented SysAdmins. This book devotes over 60,000 words to dealing with a possible break-in. It deals with how to prepare for it, how to detect it, and how to recover from it quickly and completely with minimal loss of confidential data and money, with minimal inconvenience to one's customers and employees, and with minimal publicity. This is considered one of the unique features of this book.

On March 30, 2000, 350 "hackers" from around the world gathered in Israel for a conference. Organizers there said that they were able to break into 28 percent of Israeli computers that they tried and that this percentage was typical worldwide. This was with the permission of the computers' owners, who were convinced that their computers were invulnerable. The quoted statistics were not broken down by operating system type. Both John Draper ("Captain Crunch") and Kevin Mitnick were there.1

The book is designed to be used by the veteran of many years of Linux and UNIX experience, as well as the new SysAdmin. It does assume that the reader is somewhat knowledgeable in system administration; Prentice Hall has other fine books to help people hone their SysAdmin skills. There are many useful details here, both for the person with a single Linux box at home and for those supporting multinational corporations and large government agencies with very large networks comprised of multiple types of operating systems.

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