Do’s and Don’ts
Jack the Hacker Tells All:.Legal Notice
NetIQ Corporation provides this document "as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied,
including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
Some states do not allow disclaimers of express or implied warranties in certain transactions; therefore,
this statement may not apply to you.
This document and the software described in this document are furnished under a license agreement or a
non-disclosure agreement and may be used only in accordance with the terms of the agreement. This
document may not be lent, sold, or given away without the written permission of NetIQ Corporation. No
part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by
any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise, without the prior written consent of NetIQ Corporation.
Companies, names, and data used in this document are fictitious unless otherwise noted.
This document could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically
made to the information herein. These changes may be incorporated in new editions of the document.
NetIQ Corporation may make improvements in and/or changes to the products described in this
document at any time.
© 1995-2001 NetIQ Corporation, all rights reserved.
U.S. Government Restricted Rights: Use, duplication, or disclosure by the Government is subject to the
restrictions as set forth in subparagraph (c)(1)(ii) of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software
clause of the DFARs 252.227-7013 and FAR 52.227-29(c) and any successor rules or regulations..Jack the Hacker Tells All:
Insights into Security Dos and Don'ts
Want to keep the bad guys out? This handy guide, Jack the Hacker Tells All: Insights into Security Dos
and Don'ts relays the ins and outs of security implementation, as told by Jack the Hacker. In this guide,
the reformed hacker cracks away at myths surrounding the implementation of a sound IT security plan
and offers tips for your best bets for network security. Get a glimpse into the mind of the very people who
break into your computer systems and intrude on your company's privacy.
Taken from two chats sponsored by NetIQ–"Inside the Hacker's Mind"–Jack the Hacker Tells All will show
you how to develop and implement a successful security strategy to protect your corporate network
infrastructure. Learn about the security defenses, how to protect your organization and ways to respond
to security threats before they become major incidents.
We are about to start hosting our own Web server. Are the securities built into Windows NT 4
enough or should we use a firewall?
Jack_the_Hacker: If at all possible, always invest in a good firewall, as well as sound architecture for the
Web server. If you are able to invest in an appliance firewall, buy one with three interfaces. If you can only
invest in the software, then you should be able to fit a server with three NICs to create a buffer zone in
which to put your Web server. One interface is for the Internet, with a second NIC for the internal private
network and the third for a DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). The security built into Windows NT 4 and Windows
2000 hosts is good. But when subjected to numerous scans and cracking attempts, some default installs
will be cracked within only a few minutes to an hour. That is why you should keep current security
patches for the OS and applications that run on the server.
Are there any known security issues with Windows 2000 Server running remote routing
functioning as a VPN?
Jack: To date, I have not yet worked on this ability of Windows 2000. I would recommend a more
specialized VPN solution over the Windows 2000 solution. I am currently looking at the ISA product, and
will be able to give you a better answer after some more testing with it.
What are the basic areas I need to secure on a Web site?
Jack: How many sites on attrition.org were defaced by the RDS script? Quite a few. The basic areas that
I look to hardening are the OS by checking for current security patches and implementing them on a test
machine before even throwing my site up. That is just for the Web server. For the perimeter defense, you
should throw a firewall up and create the Web server into the DMZ.
We have a connection that is monitored by our sister company. Very early in the morning, our
bandwidth usage goes through the roof. We are not aware of anything running at that time. What
would you recommend we use to determine what is occurring? Could someone be taking
advantage of a security hole?
Jack: The ever-present sniffer is your best friend. Put a sniffer on the link between you and the sister
company. The problem may be a kit looking for other servers in a massive blast, a mis-configured server
or a security hole, but the sniffer logs will let you know where to start..As far as NAT routing is concerned, can vulnerabilities be exploited even in this type of hidden
internal network? Beyond just Trojan’s getting in?
Jack: NAT (Network Address Translation) routing is another security measure that more companies are
using. Taking over a router is still a mainstay in the cracking community. Just because someone can’t get
to your internal network due to private addressing doesn’t mean that they will take another route to your
systems. Your routers are still there for the taking.
What is your idea of good security implementation?
Jack: One in which policies had been set in place before the actual implementation. Set aside the test
environment. Verify the patches that are installed on the machines don’t make them quit functioning.
Make sure that policies are strictly adhered to, but the policies must be workable as well. Creating each
and every one of your servers in C2 compliance will not work if you want them to talk to one another. You
must make trade-offs to have the systems work coherently. A good process consists of a month or two of
testing desired policies to determine what is feasible, followed by the architecture’s implementation.
Are there any issues with implementing a NT domain in a DMZ? We want to set a Microsoft Cluster
in the DMZ.
Jack: Make sure that no one trusts that domain. You can set the cluster up in the DMZ. But remember
what the risk is with the DMZ – the DMZ is going to be hacked.
What are the advantages of using a VPN vs. a modem pool as far as security is concerned?
Jack: A modem pool is usually not secured very well, and a war dialer can find the pool rather easily. The
VPN uses encryption by its nature and can withstand most petty attempts at breaking it.
What are the best methods to secure the internal network from disaffected users?
Jack: Proper adherence to a security policy that involves Human Resources should minimize the risk.
However, as empirical data shows that this may not be enough. Depending on how large the corporation
is, this task grows exponentially. If the user had minimal access, then the security admin won’t have much
to do. Close communications between HR and Security teams should lead to swift and effective
severance of access. Again, it rolls back to a security policy than a technology issue.
What do you think of using protocol control, such as frame relay connectivity for internal
communications, within an enterprise and then have firewall and proxy control to limit/control
access in and out of the enterprise through the Internet at large?
Jack: This is a very good idea, but can be a very difficult and extremely costly implementation. The more
complex your solution, the greater the likelihood is that you’ll have vulnerabilities in your infrastructure.
Is there a definitive, or nearly definitive, way to secure an enterprise against hacking?
Jack: Disconnect from the Internet, pull the modem banks and do no business. You also have to make
sure that your initial implementation of your architecture is sound. Make sure that security policies are in
place and employees adhere to them. No rogue servers should be allowed onto the network.
Development networks should have firewalls on them to segment them away from other departments, as
well as maybe the accounting and finance areas. At the same time, try not to make the architecture too
complex. You have to find a happy medium, one that is secure but also allows communications to occur..We are currently using dual firewalls configured for high availability, security routers and a packet
shaper that is doing some filtering. Do you think that we also need to use IDS (Intrusion Detection
Systems) on top of this to secure our environment?
Jack: From what it sounds like, your current architecture is quite sound. I think the IDS would help you
find out some internal activity, but it sounds like you aren’t letting a lot get through. That is a pretty
How do you suggest better protecting servers in a DMZ?
Jack: DMZ servers are your "sacrificial lambs.” These are the servers that you hope don’t get hacked, but
will eventually find their way to the ATTRITION mirror. Here are some steps you can take. First, patch the
systems very quickly after advisories come out and you test them for your environment. You must make
sure the servers in the private network never get hacked. Next, use encrypted channels as often as you
can. And finally, harden the OS to disallow easy hacks and tighten the ACL (Access Control Lists) on the
routers to allow only trusted traffic.
Can you talk about what defenses we should establish in order to prevent an attack (i.e. SP's, hot
fixes, additional software)?
Jack: Those defenses deal with the OS, the root of all evils. An application cannot run without its OS.
Now, keeping up with Service Packs and hot fixes is a main staple to all IT and Security personnel. This
helps you keep track of most of the new hacks coming out for which script kiddies have tools. But
remember – test them first to see if they develop other problems with your applications. Some additional
software that could be looked into is quality control for your home-brewed applications. Make sure your
developers adhere to strict coding guidelines that don’t introduce buffer overflows.
Would you say that using an IP address from the 10.0.0.0 range on your internal networks is a
Jack: If you are trying to get the most addresses, then yes, that makes sense. Try picking something a
little less obvious than 10.0.0.0, but that is my preference.
What is your opinion of honey pots? Have they become an effective deterrent?
Jack: As a security person, I like to see a honey pot implemented. However, these systems usually allow
too much time on their system that normally raises a flag for me. They are effective in learning new
techniques of hackers, but a security team must know when to step in and pull the plug.
Are honey pots having an impact in the cracker community?
Jack: The more skilled hackers don't even deal with less-than-secure systems. Those hacks are the ones
about whom you will never read. The less-than-skilled kiddies normally have no idea they are on a honey
pot until the plug is pulled or they hear a battering ram on the door. The use of honey pots is having an
impact on crackers because they are more leery, but the white hats are gaining a lot of information right
now. Maybe in the future, these systems may not have the impact that they do now. But they seem to be
keeping the white hats in step with the other side.
How do you feel about the deployment of honey pots and IDS systems? Are they too obvious?.Jack: Honey pots and nets are a good thing if you are really interested in the research value and want to
update your own IDS systems. But they do not offer enough protection to warrant investment as a means
of protection. The IDS is definitely necessary and is more obvious than a honey pot.
What is your take on creating a honey pot on your network? Does that attract more attention or is
having only a firewall better?
Jack: I like Honey Pots only for research purposes. If I notice a large increase in traffic to a specific port
or range of ports, I will throw up a couple of honey pots to capture the data and analyze it. If I am not
aware of a new exploit, then that research is invaluable.
What is the best installation or application for a honey pot?
Jack: Read the new white paper by Lance Spitzner at
http://project.honeynet.org/papers/honeynet/. If you are looking at a commercial honey pot, then
the Sting server from PGP is good. Otherwise, a default install of an OS and slapped onto the ‘Net is a
pretty good start.
How do I protect the corporate network from hacks affecting my remote/VPN users?
Jack: This is one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome in the security field – remote usage. Multiple
tools and programs that are now on the market give security personnel more control over what a remote
user can have access to, as well as provide another layer of security for the internal network. Personal
firewalls, such as Network Ice's BlackICE Defender, their corporate solution ICEpac Security Suite and
ZoneAlarm PRO, give you a better chance of catching certain attacks on your remote users. On another
level, you can invest in Check Point’s SecureClient if you have a Check Point firewall solution, or in
RedCreek Communications Ravlin Soft software solution.
What tool should I use to do port scans to ensure my router and VPN installations are not left
open to hackers?
Jack: One of the best-known tools to use is nmap (or the Win32 ported nmapNT). This is a tool-de-jour of
most script kiddies and malicious crackers. Using libnet from the Packetfactory gives you the ability to
craft your own packets to test your router configuration.
How secure are VPN technologies, such as Check Point's VPN-1 software suite?
Jack: VPN authentications, such as Check Point, are very secure. Check Point especially utilizes Triples
DES encryption. So from a mathematics perspective, the VPN knows who you are. In addition, Check
Point’s secure VPN clients offer a personal firewall with policies that can be controlled via central
management. This allows for the VPN to reject a non-secure connection.
Can you share your tricks on accessing VPN?
Jack: This all depends on the VPN itself. I don’t have any tricks on getting through to a VPN because that
is a realm into which I have not delved. Looking at some of the documentation from @stake, the latest
incarnation of MS-CHAP looks like some of the same procedures are used between v1 and v2. The same
procedures used to derive a 24-byte response can be sniffed and a dictionary attack can be staged
against them..Have you tested the Lucent LSMS? How do you think the LSMS stacks up as a firewall/VPN
Jack: I have not yet tested this product.
Public Key Infrastructure
How secure is PKI?
Jack: The answer is two-fold: What problem are you trying to solve, and what size implementation are
you seeking? PKI as it stands is quite secure, and studies on the RSA 512 factoring conclude this. the
RSA 512 has been factored, but how many people do you know that have access to more than 300
computers running parallel and then feeding the matrix to a Cray? Not many. If you are trying to solve just
a private e-mail issue, than you don't necessarily need a full-blown PKI solution. If you are looking for a
complete implementation, than PKI is good for the company. Technology-wise, this is a secure product.
As far as implementation, PKI is what you make it, and that is where the problems arise.
Jack, who do you believe has a better security key solution - VeriSign or RSA's Keon solution?
Jack: To me, it depends on who you want running the show, Verisign or yourself. If you don’t want to deal
with the headaches of setting up a new PKI infrastructure, then go with Verisign. If you want total control
of your keys, than choose Keon.
Should a company employ a firewall to prevent internal malicious users from doing damage?
Jack: Internal firewalls are a good thing when you want to segment groups or address ranges. Firewalls
make traversing the network without being noticed more difficult for malicious employees.
From your experience, which are the best and worst firewalls?
Jack: This is personal preference issue. If I tell you that I like firewall A and you like firewall B, and you
think that B is better than A, and I think the opposite, what has been accomplished? You don't like A and I
don't like B. This is much like the Ford v. Chevy – you like one and hate the other. For me, Firewall-1 has
done a good job to this point. I like PIX as well, and I have worked with Gauntlet.
Is one OS/platform better than another when it comes to firewall implementation?
Jack: There is no one platform better than another. Harden the OS, remove all of the unnecessary
services and make the machine a standalone. Or run an appliance firewall like Nokia, CyberGuard,
SonicWALL or Cisco.
In your opinion what are the best hardware firewalls on the market? Which ones are the hardest to
Jack: Nokia Firewalls and CyberGuard appliances seem to be the best right now. The IPSO OS on the
Nokia devices are essentially hardened OpenBSD machines, which are pretty difficult to crack. The
KnightStar devices are pretty difficult as well, but the main obstacle is implementation/proper
configuration..What vulnerabilities are commonly exploited with MS Proxy and do you think ISA will be better?
Jack: A Proxy Server or firewall is only as good security-wise as the underlying OS - that lends itself to
security risk. I won't speak on Proxy Server, but with respect to ISA - too much on one machine. The
refining process is going to take some maturing, just like Check Point and some of the other top security
What are your thoughts about firewall appliances and are they more secure than software-based
Jack: By far. Vendors have gone to a lot of trouble to harden the OS, and have removed a lot of the
probable "red zones" where administrators make implementation mistakes on OS-based firewalls.
Canned firewall or build your own –which is better?
What about Cisco PIX Firewalls?
Jack_the_Hacker : Cisco PIX firewalls are Proxy-based firewalls. They do offer reasonable protection
but their vulnerability is in management. If you are utilizing multiple PIX firewalls, a high probability exists
that vulnerabilities will be introduced through simple mis-configurations.
What software firewalls do you recommend?
Jack: Check Point.
When my firewall gets port scanned, I would like to know what this "offender" is actually doing.
Does such software exist that gives me an idea what's outside the firewall?
Jack: Check your border router logs and run a sniffer on the line. You can’t see what is going on unless
something picks up the data.
Given the choice of a software firewall that you install on a server or a separate hardware device
that you place in front of the server, are there any advantages or disadvantages to either one?
Jack: If you are talking about software versus appliance firewalls, I like both. Unless you are comfortable
in hardening your server that you are going to install the firewall software on, then I suggest the
appliance. If you know exactly what you want in your server, then install the software firewall. Remember,
in the end, they are both the same firewall application.
How secure is a network that lives behind a correctly configured Check Point Firewall?
Jack: Correctly configured is a vague statement, but I would say that is safer than before. Do you
remember what port you usually open up for you to host your site? 80? It’s still an open port. The fewer
holes in the firewall, the less with which crackers have to work.
In my opinion, the next security product is going to be the personal firewall. How secure will these
be? Are users going to be lulled into a false sense of security?.Jack: I would tend to agree with you on the widespread usage of the personal firewall. A report
completed fewer than 3 months ago showed a large hole in the basics of these firewalls. They are
basically proxy servers. So if you can get someone to open a Trojanized program (i.e. Explore.exe), you
have bypassed the security. Users will get into an automatic mode with these tools as they see the scans
What do you think of ZoneAlarm?
Jack: ZoneAlarm is a great personal firewall, but every personal firewall has one main flaw - policy
management. We're not going to go into that here, but a recent case study reviewed the overall security
of all personal firewalls. You can probably find that case study with a Web search.
Jack, please tell me what you think. How secure are small PC [windows] networks [always on
cable or DSL] that run firewall programs like ZoneAlarm or BlackICE?
Jack: Having the personal firewall programs is better than nothing. They do a pretty good job at keeping
out the truly amateur individuals, but nothing against some higher-level script kiddies.
What would you recommend for a personal firewall for desktop users with cable or DSL
Jack: Of the three main personal firewalls, I like ZoneAlarm, mainly due to price. I think that BlackICE is
darn good as well, and so is Norton’s solution.
How can I test my security from external attacks?
Jack: Penetration testing is the main source of information that tells you whether you have done an
adequate job of securing your environment. How would you do the pen. test? Black-box it. Try to have
someone in the infosec team run the test without any prior knowledge of the target. Run such tools as
firewall tools, port scanners and more.
What are some good footprinting tools? Where can I get them?
Jack: Nmap – get it at www.insecure.org. There are plenty of others, but this is the most used one and
the best right now.
Are smaller companies' networks less attractive to a hacker than a larger company? Or maybe
more attractive because they could be more vulnerable?
Jack: Attractive nonetheless. I would use that as a waypoint for more ambitious goals. Small companies
make for good decoys. Most small companies want their systems to run and are not as interested in
security. They will know they need security when IBM calls them and says that their logs reach back to
XYZ Company attempting to break in.
What is the industry standard with regard to third-party ethical hacks being accepted by clients?
We are getting more clients requiring their own ethical hacks, and they are not allowing third-party
hacks to be used for security assessment.
Jack: There is not an industry standard at this time for third-party ethical hacks. This is more along the
lines of: Do the ends justify the means? If you are in an industry where security is a paramount issue,
then ethical hacks are necessary. If you are in one where security has taken a back seat, then an ethical
hack may not be necessary..How do hackers stay in touch with one another today?
Jack: IRC is my friend and compatriot. If you see that running on your system, you have an issue.
Squash it. ICQ, and some message boards are also popular methods.
What tools do you recommend for penetration testing?
Jack: Tools from Foundstone are good, tools from farm9.com seem to be good. But this is more of a
services function from consulting firms, such as Ernst &Young and Accenture.
Where would I find a copy of nmap or nmapNT?
Jack: Insecure.org and eeye.com, respectively.
Are most external attacks basically random? Or are they more planned, as in a need to garner a
badge of honor for some club of attackers?
Jack: Mostly random and looking for the recognition, or for trying to join a crew. Look at SilverLordz,
Hackweiser, and some others that have been on a tear lately. The more planned external attacks lie
dormant for extended periods of time, and may or may not be the work or a true hacker, not a skiddie.
If you’re a newbie infosec, besides nmap, where would you go for information on penetration
Jack: SANS.org is a good place for information. Get on the Pen-test listserv from Securityfocus.com and
What are your tools of choice when searching for vulnerabilities?
Jack: Security Analyzer from NetIQ does a great job and comes back with a thorough list.
Besides social engineering, what are your other favorite exploits? Where do you see the most
problems with a security implementation, besides human error?
Jack: Mis-configuration is one thing, but admins forgetting to implement patches in a timely fashion is
another. How long has the NT RedButton vulnerability been out? Yet you can still find this on the Net.
How about the wu-ftpd problems? Same thing – still out there. IIS has taken a lot of flak recently because
of rain forest puppy’s research, but the disclosure of these holes is important to companies that want to
do business on the Net. Make sure your admins keep current.
Would a hacker be more inclined to go after a target because they have a broadband connection
versus analog dial-up? Or are both equally at risk?
Jack: Both are at risk, but having a broadband connection as a pipeline is very enticing to a cracker. If I
take over a machine running 98 with a 1.5MB line attached to it, I have a great place to start most of my
attacks. "Always-on" connections are easier to find than dynamically assigned addresses when dialing up
to an ISP.
What was site interested you when you were hacking?
Jack: That depended on my mood of the day. If I wanted a challenge, hacking into a larger corporation
would take a few days to a week, while just wanting to be playful prompted me to access small
businesses that did secure their sites..What are some of the "clues" left behind (and during) a hack?
Jack: Depending on where they got in, your router logs might be able to see the IP address showing
where the traffic originated. Depending on which OS they are getting into, the tracks could be in the
System logs, or the sys partition.
What is Ping O’ Death?
Jack: This attack causes a buffer to overflow on the target host by sending an echo request packet that is
larger than the maximum IP packet size of 65535 bytes. As the target machine reconstructs the packets,
the final packet is larger than the 65535 limit and causes the DoS attack. This was an old style tactic from
a few years ago. Most OS’s have been patched to withstand this attack. Get more information
What are the legal implications with hacking your company's systems to prove they are
vulnerable and raise security on the to-do list?
Jack: I have never hacked my company’s site unless I got prior written approval. This included legal
counsel from the company. Some of the qualifications that I would ask for include: exposure of
confidential information would not lead to suspension or termination (such as passwords, e-mail and
instant messages) and complete shutdown of a production server due to an attack could not lead to
suspension or termination.
Admins receive phone calls often and are asked questions concerning the physical network, etc.
of their worksites. What questions should you never answer and why?
Jack: Answer as vaguely as possible. Never answer, "Who is in charge?” or "Where are you located?”
Those answers just lead to narrowing down attacks. I am always paranoid about people that ask me
about my network, I just answer, "It is working.”
What is a teardrop attack?
Jack: A teardrop attack is one in which the fragmentation of the packets is overlapping. This causes the
targeted, mostly Linux, machine to incorrectly attempt to re-assemble the packets and crash. The target
machine looks at the offset of the packets and re-assembles them according to the offset, but packet B’s
offset states that it starts inside of A:
13:23:13 hostile.com.32157 > friendly.com.53: udp 28 (frag 242:36@0+)
13:23:13 hostile.com > friendly.com: (frag 242:4@24)
Should I really interpret port scans as a prelude to attack?
Jack: Not necessarily an attack, but definite door rattling. Once they start to pick the lock, consider it an
attack. What I mean by this is once you notice that the scans burst at you for a few days in a row and
then you see intermittent attempts, be ready for the attack.
Are there any "Robin Hoods" in the hackers or crackers community?
Jack: It depends on your definition of a "Robin Hood.” Some of the things I did before now could be
considered a Robin Hood act. I helped the poor sys admins who did not quite understand security and
prodded them into action.
What are your favorite sources of online information?.Jack: Bugtraq, Max Vision's Whitehats.com, SANS and GIAC. Astalavista.com also has some very good
links to the underground.
Are there any publications (online or otherwise) that list NT Server 4 security loopholes and fixes
that you would recommend?
Jack: Bugtraq archives and Windows IT Security (formerly NTSecurity.net). More monetary damage
comes from inside, and most systems internally are NT/Windows.
Do you recommend any sites on the Web?
Jack: www.whitehats.com, Windows IT Security (formerly NTSecurity.net),
www.securityfocus.com and packetstormsecurity.org are good starting sites.
What books or learning materials do you consider viable to learning about taking advantage of
certain weaknesses found in systems? Or are any worth investing in?
Jack: Since I have been in the security field, I have had more respect for some people in particular.
Stephen Northcutt is a good analyst. Bruce Schneier is a leading expert. And of course the guys over at
@Stake are great. Hacking Exposed: Second Edition is pretty good. And the older Maximum Security by
Anonymous is good. But the best learning materials are your peers. The security field is really a small
world. The more communication you have with one another, the better you stand a chance of turning
away kiddies and resisting even skilled hack attempts. SANS has become a leader in gathering some
very bright minds together for analysis, and the papers that they release are good learning materials as
What do you think of Foundstone's Hacking Class? Have you ever seen this before and what is
Jack: I met the Foundstone people a few months back, even if they don't remember me, and they strike
me as knowing what they are doing. I would be interested in actually attending one of their Extreme
Hacking classes if only to see what they do know. Their research is headed up by JD Glaser. He is very
talented, as evidenced by his previous tools under NTObjectives.
Jack, what is the best book on the market today that would be a study guide on how to be a
hacker and at the same time teach you how to protect your servers from being hacked?
Jack: There is no definitive guide on how to hack. There ARE guides on how to protect your system, one
of which is Hacking Exposed: 2nd Edition by the guys from Foundstone. However, it's also best to
subscribe to lists such as SANS, CERT and other vulnerability resources. By the time it's in a book, you're
already extremely far behind.
Jack, I had questions about training – how to convince a small- to mid-sized company that their
network admins need security training even though they do not have as large a Web presence as
companies like Microsoft.
Jack: One mid-size ($50M+) company I recently worked with refused to upgrade or even consider
security options. What they can't grasp is that the information they keep under lock and key (their sales
contact list) could be extracted by simple social engineering, and their company could be severely
damaged financially by a competitor receiving that contact list. According to recent studies, more than 3
percent of unplanned outages are related to security breaches and issues. So for no other reason, you'd
do this to improve availability. How much is your intellectual property actually worth?.With the exception of reading the numerous e-mails and information I receive from SANS, CERT,
etc., how can I keep abreast of all the new information?
Jack: Limiting yourself to a couple specific sources helps. If you've overflowed yourself with information,
you probably need to cut back and remove whichever source is your "weakest link."
You mentioned above that when it's in a book, you're far behind. But what about UNIX OS and
some computer languages, among other things? They're still the basics, aren't they? I mean with
that knowledge, you can become a hacker?
Jack: That is definitely a place to start. Most individuals I know started in UNIX and learned to program
from there. What we mentioned above is more along the lines that by the time the book is checked for
errors and edited, the exploits have been in the wild for too long. You’re playing catch-up by then.
Are you familiar with Steve Gibson's shields up site? If so, how effective an indicator of one's
security is it?
Jack: I am familiar with this site. This is a good site for the normal consumer to have a look at when they
have an "always-on” connection to the Internet.
What are the best sources of information for securing an NT/2000 network, particularly IIS?
Jack: I have read parts of the Mastering Windows 2000 Server by Mark Minasi and found it to be quite
good. Hacking Exposed: Second Edition has some very good points on what to secure within your
environment. Checking out SecurityFocus.com always helps as well. The Microsoft team put together a
very nice checklist for IIS. at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/iis5chk.asp.
What are the best avenues one should follow to find the best bang for the buck, if you will, in
security training? I am familiar with self-learning. But there are so many exploits out there that
learning them all on your own without proper guidance is difficult.
Jack: I took a track from the SANS team a while back, and I really enjoyed my time there. There is a lot of
good information from the courses. The least -expensive security training is getting on message boards
and asking a lot of questions. There are thousands of people out there that want to pass on their
knowledge on security. Some of the self-learning that you can do is put up a honey pot and watch it get
taken over. Make sure that you are able to see what happens on it before you deploy it, and learn from
What would be a good book to read that shows an administrator more understanding of how to
Jack: I would like to be able to do this myself but the directive must come from upper management.
How do you think crackers today are responding to all the media around their activities?
Jack: Pumping up their already inflated egos
For more information on NetIQ’s Security Management Solution, visit