My fascination with security began at an early age. In my youth, I was fortunate to have a father who attended a Ph.D. program at a major university. While he was researching, I had access to the various systems there (a Vax 11/780, in addition to others). During those years in the lab, I also had a Commodore 64 personal computer, a 300-bps modem, and access to a magically UUCP-interconnected world. One of the first hacks I successfully pulled off was to write a login script that simulated an unsuccessful login while writing the username and password entered by the victim to a file. This hack allowed me to log in to the system at will without my father's supervision. That experience, and the others that followed, taught me a lot about ineffective security controls. This served as a catalyst for my quest to know more.
In 1992, I began working as a systems administrator for a small engineering firm. Under my control were about 30 workstations, a dial-in BBS with a UUCP Internet email feed, SCO Unix servers, and a Novell Netware server. A short time later, I was tasked with getting the company shared access to the Internet. This is when I learned about Linux and the sharing capability of IP Masquerading. Over the next several years, Linux became a core focus of mine, and I used it in a variety of projects, including replacing the Novel and SCO servers.
During this period, most IT shops were very happy simply to keep the systems functioning. Any security controls were assumed to be beneficial, yet there was no standardized way to measure success. This was a decisively dark period for security in the private sector, with security being very much an opinion-based art form.
Later in life, while working as a consultant, I was tasked with putting together an information security testing program. I had attended SANS classes, read the available "Hacking" books, had access to all the right tools, yet still felt like there had to be more. After searching the Internet for a methodical approach to security testing, I was really pleased to run into one of the first revisions of the Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual. The community aspect of the project resonated with me; the OSSTMM allows professional security testers to contribute to a thorough, repeatable, methodical testing guide. This approach to security testing was proven through hands-on experience to be vastly superior to the random poking and prodding we had previously performed under the vague title of "penetration testing." No longer would I be satisfied with the "Security is an Art, not a Science" mantra.
As a member of ISECOM's board of directors, I am privileged to watch the development of all of our key projects. ISECOM's shared passion, commitment to excellence, and dedication to understanding the broad topics we cover drives all of the contributors forward. You now hold in your hands the fruits of their labor as applied specifically to Linux security.
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as the team has enjoyed putting it together for you. If you would like to join the ISECOM team, or contribute to any of our projects, please contact us through the form at http://www.isecom.org.
Sincerely, Robert E. Lee Chief Security Officer Outpost24 AB
Robert E. Lee is Chief Security Officer for Outpost24 AB. Outpost24 is a leading provider of proactive network security solutions. Outpost24's solutions provide fully automated network vulnerability scanning, easily interpreted reports, and vulnerability management tools. Outpost24's solutions can be deployed in a matter of hours, anywhere in the world, providing customers with an immediate view of their security and compliance posture. OUTSCAN is the most widely deployed on-demand security solution in Europe, performing scans for over 1000 customers last year.
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