Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Computer Security Basics


Average Rating
12 reviews

This is the must-have book for a must-know field. Today, general security knowledge is mandatory, and, if you who need to understand the fundamentals, Computer Security Basics 2nd Edition is the book to consult.

The new edition builds on the well-established principles developed in the original edition and thoroughly updates that core knowledge. For anyone involved with computer security, including security administrators, system administrators, developers, and IT managers, Computer Security Basics 2nd Edition offers a clear overview of the security concepts you need to know, including access controls, malicious software, security policy, cryptography, biometrics, as well as government regulations and standards.

This handbook describes complicated concepts such as trusted systems, encryption, and mandatory access control in simple terms. It tells you what you need to know to understand the basics of computer security, and it will help you persuade your employees to practice safe computing.

Topics include:

  • Computer security concepts
  • Security breaches, such as viruses and other malicious programs
  • Access controls
  • Security policy
  • Web attacks
  • Communications and network security
  • Encryption
  • Physical security and biometrics
  • Wireless network security
  • Computer security and requirements of the Orange Book
  • OSI Model and TEMPEST

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12 Responses to “Computer Security Basics”
  1. calvinnme says:

    Great computer security book for absolute beginners
    Rating:5 out of 5 stars
    This book is the long awaited second edition of a classic book in basic computer security. It is an introduction to the field, not a technical reference. If you need details on a particular aspect of computer security, you should refer to another more specialized book. Since Amazon does not show the table of contents, I review this book in reference to its table of contents:


    Chapter 1, Introduction

    Introduces computer security: what it is and why it’s important. It summarizes the threats to computers and the information stored on them, and it introduces the different types of computer security. It notes that if you ignore computer security you could not only be a crime victim but an unwitting partner in crime.

    Chapter 2, Some Security History

    Describes how we got to where we are today. It summarizes key events in the history of computer security, discusses some of the government standards and programs involved with computer security, and introduces the concept of computer databases and the preservation of privacy.


    Chapter 3, Computer System Security and Access Controls

    Introduces computer system security and describes how it controls access to systems and data.

    Chapter 4, Viruses and Other Wildlife

    Explores viruses, worms, Trojans, and other types of malicious code. The financial effects of malicious programs are discussed first, including that of wasted time. Next it equates viruses and public health – in that once your computer is infected others can be too using your computer as a jumping off point. The history of viruses is also discussed, including the fact that today’s viruses and worms are basically malware written by malicious individuals, not computer scientists exploring the limits of technology as was once the case. Remedies, and more importantly, prevention is discussed.

    Chapter 5, Establishing and Maintaining a Security Policy

    Describes the administrative procedures that improve security within an organization and the three general categories of administrative security. It also introduces business continuity and disaster recovery as part of security. It also introduces the large numbers of laws now on the books relating to computer security, many that carry heavy fines in case of violation. It also mentions that it is important to implement separation of duties so no one person carries the load of security-related tasks.

    Chapter 6, Web Attacks and Internet Vulnerabilities

    This chapter deals with the basics of the Internet and the Web, as well as several important Internet protocols that keep the Internet humming from behind the scenes. The chapter then discusses vulnerabilities of several of these services, as well as exploits that can be used to attack them. Finally, this chapter gives several suggestions of how users can defend against those who misuse the Internet to steal or annoy.


    Chapter 7, Encryption

    This chapter explains what encryption is and how it protects data. The chapter discusses encryption definition and history. It also discusses DES (the Data Encryption Standard), as well as listing the acronyms of many other encryption algorithms. The chapter also defines message authentication, and lists several government cryptographic programs as well as mentioning cryptographic export restrictions.

    Chapter 8, Communications and Network Security

    Introduces network concepts and discusses some basic communications security issues. These issues include what makes communications secure, and the definition of modems, networks, and network security. Appropriate steps to keep your computer network safe from attack are outlined.


    Chapter 9, Physical Security and Biometrics

    Introduces physical security and describes different types of biometric devices. Physical security is largely a system of common sense precautions and photo IDs, where biometrics is a new science where an individual’s retina patterns, iris patterns, voice patterns, signatures, and keystroke patterns are measured and identified.

    Chapter 10, Wireless Network Security

    Describes the workings of wireless networks and the security ramifications of this access medium. Shows that although wireless computing is very convenient, it opens up a whole new world to hackers. Proper antenna selection to keep radio signals confined to the appropriate area is discussed. Careful attention to network cabling–all wireless networks end up connecting to a wired network at some point–also help assure security for the wireless environment.

    In summary, this is a great little book for those just entering the field of computer security, as well as individual computer users who want to learn how to not be the weak link in either their professional or home network. It carefully defines terms and even has some good general advice on securing your computer and your network, but you should consult other books for details. I highly recommend it to the beginner who is interested in the field.

  2. GuitarPlayer says:

    The Title Says It All
    Rating:4 out of 5 stars
    It’s a good book for starters. Covers security concepts pretty well even for it’s age being published in 1991 I believe. There’s a lot of history and references. The author definately did her research. Other than being a starting point there are a lot of other good books out there to fill in the blanks and pickup where Computer Security Basics leaves off. Plus, you can read this book in a week or less.

  3. Glenn says:

    Very good basics, but needs an update
    Rating:4 out of 5 stars
    Computer Security Basics provides an excellent reference for anyone interested in computer and network security, from the newbie to the practicing computer security professional. Unfortunately, it is rapidly becoming outdated..

  4. David Spalding ( says:

    A perennial favorite. Great introduction to the basics
    Rating:5 out of 5 stars
    There’s a rather funny scene in HACKERS in which some nerds are quizzing the mysterious new kid about his “Red Book,” “Orange Book,” et al. It’s supposed to be way over the viewer’s head … but after reading this book, you’ll chuckle at the pedestrian writing. O’Reilly explains all. The publisher really ought to retitle this “ADP Security Manager in 21 days.” No kidding. This book covers the basic issues, the references, the standards, specifics. It goes deeper, though, to explain WHY, with more than a healthy dose of historical background on the evolution of computer security. Also easily overlooked: a cogent explanation of most computer virus issues. And it’s all done in witty, plain language writing that’s a breeze to assimilate. For anyone who’s preparing to manage a LAN/WAN, or has wondered why “the people upstairs” enforce particular policies, this is THE book to start with, no exception. For armchair ‘net enthusiasts, this is still the first, best source for an understanding of online security issues. Seriously: walk into most shops and server rooms, and ask, “Where’s your yellow, O’Reilly computer security book?” Chances are, it’s nearby, with the spine well broken and worn.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Less Than Basic Basics Fails To Keep Up To Date
    Rating:1 out of 5 stars
    The problem all computer books have is that they are almost out of date before they reach the bookstore as things change so quickly and unfortunately this 10 year old book, although okay for the casual reader who may want an understanding of security generally, is a dinosaur concentrating on old technologies, orange book concepts and not even touching on modern problems like distributed denial of service, e-mail viruses etc. Very disappointing for an O’Reilly book. An update is long overdue.

  6. tmaioli says:

    Good Book to start with but you’ll need more reading
    Rating:4 out of 5 stars
    Its not bad and as a start, but I would recommend something newer than 1991. It covers the Governments Orange book very well, but I wish it had more illastrations to clearify concepts. Like just about any other computer book, if you really want to know something, one book is never enough.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good, but out of date.
    Rating:3 out of 5 stars
    This is a good book to cover computer securities, however this book is out of date. This would be a great book if it was updated.

  8. Edward P Yakabovicz says:

    Excellent basic Guide to Security
    Rating:5 out of 5 stars
    Looking for that one book that offers basic security principals, maybe things you missed in other books ? This book offers the very BEST in the basics of Security.. Recommended as a starter book for CISSP, CISA, or any Information Security related self study.

  9. Thomas Duff says:

    Get your favorite clueless techie up to speed on security…
    Rating:5 out of 5 stars
    It still surprises me how many of my information technology colleagues still have no clue when it comes to computer security. This particular book is one I’d feel really good about when it comes to a recommendation to get them up to speed on the subject… Computer Security Basics (2nd Edition) by Rick Lehtinen, Deborah Russell, and G. T. Gangemi Sr.


    Part 1 – Security for Today: Introduction; Some Security History

    Part 2 – Computer Security: Computer System Security and Access Controls; Viruses and Other Wildlife; Establishing and Maintaining a Security Policy; Web Attacks and Internet Vulnerabilities

    Part 3 – Communications Security: Encryption; Communications and Network Security

    Part 4 – Other Types of Security: Physical Security and Biometrics; Wireless Network Security

    Part 5 – Appendixes: OSI Model; TEMPEST; The Orange Book, FIPS PUBS, and the Common Criteria


    While not a technical “how to” manual, this book does a great job in dealing with technical issues and concepts. Pretty much all the significant issues surrounding computer and technology security these days is covered in sufficient detail to allow for a functional understanding of the topics. For instance, the chapter on viruses would allow even the most clueless techie to grasp the problems. The authors distinguish between viruses, worms, trojan horses, bombs, and other various nasty surprises. The history is valuable to understand how we got into this condition, and by the end of the chapter you’ll know what you need to do to start to combat the problem. From there, you can dive into the more technical details of any one of the areas that pertain to your particular situation.

    For a subject that could be painfully dry without much effort, Lehtinen et al. do an admirable job in keeping the reader engaged and involved. If you’re trying to educate someone who hasn’t kept up with the topic of computer security, this would be a very good starting point…

  10. says:

    Computer Security Basics
    Rating:5 out of 5 stars
    This is a truly great introductory security book. It does a very good job in explaining the basics for those that might be new to the topic of security, and manages to do so without the gross oversimplifications that are all to common in books aimed at the uninitiated. While this is definitely more of an introductory text, I was very happy to see good coverage of topics such as encryption and biometrics, and even an appendix covering TEMPEST. A truly great book for learning security concepts. I’m going to look into switching the present text for this one in one of the introductory security courses that I teach.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Security Must have
    Rating:5 out of 5 stars
    This is an excellent book. It gives a broad overview of computer security without sacrificing detail. A must read for the beginning security expert.

  12. Brad Knowles says:

    Best available introduction to the topic…
    Rating:5 out of 5 stars
    This book is a more introductory, and a more theoretical than something like “Practical UNIX & Internet Security, 2nd Edition” (By Simson Garfinkel & Gene Spafford, published by O’Reilly & Assoc.), but it is still a vital book on the topic.

    Definitely a must-have for the bookshelf of any Unix or Security administrator, and a good idea for anyone to read if they are working in the IT field.