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Designing Secure Web Based Applications For MS Windows 2000
by Michael Howard
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"Web-based applications" is getting to be a redundant term, but that only highlights the fact that up-to-date programmers need to be familiar with the strategies and practices used to build modern networked software. Designing Secure Web-Based Applications for Microsoft Windows 2000 explains precisely what its title specifies: the mechanisms for allowing Windows programs to communicate over the network while maintaining security, plus their ways of fitting into complete product architectures. It's a complete engineering document with considerable information on identifying security threats, giving them relative weight, and deciding how to deal with them in the designs of your systems. The author has both done his homework and worked in the industry, and it's a pleasure to read his distilled knowledge.
Early sections are rather academic (which is not to say they're not worthwhile), while later sections deal with specific security strategies and the security features of particular products. The author isn't vague--he tells you how he thinks you should design your programs (storing hashes, instead of passwords, in a database to allow for intrusion into the database, for example) and what specifically you need to do (there's enough code here to give heft to what otherwise would be purely high-level advice). Although the author sticks to the Microsoft world, he isn't reluctant to point out security problems in Windows. This is a great volume for anyone designing Windows software that will share information over a network and need to use authentication, nonrepudiation, encryption, and other security techniques. --David Wall
Topics covered: Network security features of Windows 2000, Internet Explorer 5.0, SQL Server 7.0, SQL Server 2000, and COM+ 1.0, as well as the engineering tradeoffs involved in making software secure enough for safety, but open enough for reliability.
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