TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Book Review: "SSH The Secure Shell", D.J. Barrett/R.E. Silverman

Book Review: "SSH The Secure Shell", D.J. Barrett/R.E. Silverman

Rob Slade (
Mon, 23 Oct 2006 09:15:40 -0800


"SSH The Secure Shell", Daniel J. Barrett/Richard E. Silverman, 2001,
0-596-00011-1, U$39.95/C$58.95
%A Daniel J. Barrett
%A Richard E. Silverman
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%D 2001
%G 0-596-00011-1
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$39.95/C$58.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104
%O Audience a+ Tech 2 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 540 p.
%S Definitive Guide
%T "SSH The Secure Shell: The Definitive Guide"

The preface states that the book is intended for system administrators
(who may be called upon to support SSH, or use it within their
networks), users (who may wish to use SSH out of concern for their own
privacy or the security of their transactions), and developers (who
may be able to use SSH in order to provide robust and reliable
security to their own applications at little development cost). The
authors also note that there may be confusion between the protocol
(denoted SSH), various products, and individual utilities and programs
(indicated by lowercase: ssh).

Chapter one outlines what SSH is, and isn't, the basic services it
provides (authentication, encryption, and integrity protection), and
also notes other protocols and products that provide similar services.
Basic operation of the most common clients (ssh and scp) is covered in
chapter two, along with a terse but reasonable introduction to
asymmetric key pairs. The internals of SSH, and a more extended
discussion of cryptographic concepts, such as symmetric encryption,
asymmetric, and hashing, are examined in chapter three. (The section
concludes with a useful list of threats against which SSH provides
little or no protection.) Extensive installation and configuration
options are given in chapter four, with server configuration choices
in five.

Chapter six seems to move the subject to operational issues,
addressing key management, and particularly SSH agent use of keys.
Advanced topics governing client use are provided in chapter seven.
Chapter eight outlines alternative settings for the use of SSH with
user accounts.

Chapter nine discusses forwarding, which can be used in both network
administration (providing a secure tunnel within an unsecured
environment) or development (adding encryption or integrity
functionality to an application). While previous material gave
details of configuration options, chapter ten furnishes the
beleaguered sysadmin with a recommended initial configuration.
Chapter eleven details options and setups for a variety of
applications and situations. Troubleshooting guidance, and a list of
common problems, is supplied in chapter twelve.

Chapter thirteen equips the reader with tables of settings and
features pertinent to the various implementations of SSH. Since SSH
is often seen as limited to the UNIX world, details of the Okhapkin
SSH1 Windows port are given in chapter fourteen, with SecureCRT in
fifteen, F-Secure SSH (for Windows and Mac) in sixteen, and
NiftyTelnet (Mac) in seventeen.

Too many of the mature and useful security technologies languish in
obscurity. Everybody knows that SSH exists, but too few people use
it. Hopefully this reference might give more developers and users a
chance to try it out, and administrators some resources to support it.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2006 BKSSHLDG.RVW 20060910

====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
It is unclear what national interest is served by security
agencies propagating this lurid urban myth [that terrorists have
steganographically hidden messages in pornographic images].
Perhaps the goal is to manufacture an excuse for the failure to
anticipate the events of September 11th. Perhaps it is preparing
the ground for an attempt at bureaucratic empire-building via
Internet regulation, as a diversionary activity from the much
harder and less pleasant task of going after [terrorists].
Perhaps the vision of [accused terrorists] as cryptic
pornographers is being spun to create a subconscious link, in the
public mind, with the scare stories about child pornography that
were used before September 11th to justify government plans for
greater Internet regulation.
- Ross Anderson,
Dictionary of Information Security

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