Book Review – Mac OS X Maximum Security

Mac OS X Maximum Security
John Ray and William C. Ray

Sams Publishing
ISBN 0-672-32381-8
747 pages
US $44.99 CA $69.99

In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I’m not a network administrator, nor do I play one on TV. While I grasp the fundamentals of the material presented in Mac OS X Maximum Security, I can’t say that I have a handle on the finer points of Unix-based security issues.

Having said that, I can say that Mac OS X Maximum Security is the real thing. This is a kick-ass, no holds-barred serious book about computer security. Don’t bother unless you can read, speak and write TCP/IP. Course prerequisites include basic shell scripting, and Networking 101.

Mac OS X Maximum Security (MOSX MS for short) comes from John and William Ray. readers will recognize the Rays as authors of Mac OS X Unleashed, the premier book for learning Mac OS X from a Unix perspective. However geeky it may have been, Unleashed was targeted at a more general population. MOSX MS, in contrast, is directed at the professional or aspiring network administrator overseeing Mac OS X systems and servers. This isn’t the kind of book to grab at Amazon if you want to learn how to protect your cable modem-equipped iMac from getting an email virus.

Buy this book if you plan to run an OS X-based server, or need to keep your OS X network locked down. Read it. All of it.

After reading MOSX MS‘ 747 pages, what have you learned?

You’ll have a solid grounding in Trojan horses, worms, viruses, FTP, file sharing, email security, firewall configuration, log file examination, Sendmail setup and customization, various types of IP spoofing, password attack prevention, and about 50 other topics. Ray and Ray give many specific setup examples, with sample shell scripts and shown in the text Many of the useful applications discussed in the text are also available at this site.

The best idea that I learned during my reading of MOSX MS is that security is not just firewalls, or configuration files, but rather a state of mind. “Think secure” the authors say. That attitude is what will truly keep your network invasion-free. The rest is technical detail, and implementation.

Conclusion: If you are technically up to this challenging book, go for it. Not for the general reader.

MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5

David Weeks

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