Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: O'Reilly Media (September 5, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #581,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #8 in Books > Computers & Technology > Operating Systems > Solaris #143 in Books > Computers & Technology > Security & Encryption > Encryption #503 in Books > Computers & Technology > Networking & Cloud Computing > Network Security
I got started using Kerberos many moons ago, at my university. This is probably how many people got to know about it. While I didn't use it very much, it's there that I learned the basics and experimented a bit with Kerberos. Interest in it took off after Microsoft incorporated Kerberos authentication mechanisms into Windows 2000. Suddenly it wasn't such arcane knowledge.Two open source Kerberos implementations exist, the MIT reference implementation, and the Heimdal Kerberos implementation. Even then, there are two main versions which you can find, Kerberos IV and Kerberos V. Kerberos IV went away for most environments with the passing of the Y2K mark, but some legacy apps need support. So, you still have to deal with it on occasion.In writing Secure Architectures with OpenBSD, I got a lot more intimate with Kerberos, and even set up a decently sized realm in my house. Hence, I got to experience the turmoil of setup and debugging. A book like Kerberos: The Definitive Guide (K:TDG) would have been very welcome. Instead, I slogged my way through it, and got it to work for the most part.K:TDG will help you set up your Kerberos world by introducing you to the complex subject, terminology, and the pieces. Once you learn the basics, you recognize that a simple realm is actually somewhat easy to set up. The author, Jason Garman, uses a mixed Mac OS X, UNIX, and Windows environment, focusing on UNIX most of the time. The bulk of the examples deal with MIT Kerberos 5 version 1.3 (krb5-1.3) but should work for most versions. Some attention is given to the Heimdal implementation (which is integrated with BSD, for example), and for the most part you'll be OK. Windows examples are also pretty copious but always come second.
Like most O'Reilly titles, this book covers the general topics one needs to be conversant in a given topic. Take what you read, do a few web searches, experiment with the technology, discuss the concepts with others - this book will give you a solid foundation to get started. Moreover, like other O'Reilly topics one can see errata, etc. on the O'Reilly website. This book easily meets the high expectations one has of a book from this publisher: conversational tone, lots of hands-on examples, and broad coverage of applications using this technology.There are really two areas where this book falls short: 1) while broad and general concepts of Kerberos are discussed, when the examples roll out little effort is given to explain the reasons behind settings, configurations, etc., and 2) as with many technology-related books this book could already use an update. In terms of the former issue, I can see that it is difficult to cover the logic behind various implementations of Kerberos. This book attempts to cover Kerberos implementations in Kerberos 4, Kerberos 5, MIT, Heimdal, Windows, and a bit of Mac OS X, as well as various applications that can use Kerberos such as Cyrus, OpenSSH, and Reflection. There is a lot of material here: each of these applications could easily warrant an O'Reilly book of their own. Moreover, these applications change over time (and rather short times, at that). Thus, the second complaint: particularly in terms of OS X this book could use an updated version, though the majority of the text is still relevant.To summarize a bit here, if you are looking for cutting-edge info on security, implementation (such as in OS X), or applications, then this book will fall a bit short.
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