2007 was not my most productive year in terms of reading and reviewing books. I read 17 in 2000, 42 in 2001, 24 in 2002, 33 in 2003, 33 in 2004, 26 in 2005, and 52 in 2006. This year I read and reviewed 25 books, several during the last week. My ratings can be summarized as follows:
- 5 stars: 9 books
- 4 stars: 11 books
- 3 stars: 4 books
- 2 stars: 1 book
- 1 star: 0 books
The competition for the B3R07 award was intense. Keep in mind these are all five star books.
- 9. Designing BSD Rootkits: An Introduction to Kernel Hacking by Joseph Kong (No Starch). If you understand C and want to learn how to manipulate the FreeBSD kernel, Designing BSD Rootkits is for you.
- 8. Hacking Exposed VoIP: Voice Over IP Security Secrets & Solutions by David Endler and Mark Collier (McGraw-Hill/Osborne). I like HE books because the good ones explain a technology from a security standpoint, how to exploit it, and how to defend it. I thought HE:V did well in all three areas, even featuring original research and experiments to document and validate the authors' claims.
- 7. Security Metrics: Replacing Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt by Andrew Jaquith (Addison-Wesley). You must read this book if you care to measure security progress.
- 6. Security Data Visualization: Graphical Techniques for Network Analysis by Greg Conti (No Starch). It's perfect for readers familiar with security who are looking to add new weapons to their defensive arsenals.
- 5. Linux Firewalls: Attack Detection and Response with iptables, psad, and fwsnort by Michael Rash (No Starch). As a FreeBSD user, Linux Firewalls is good enough to make me consider using Linux in certain circumstances!
- 4. Absolute FreeBSD, 2nd Edition: The Complete Guide to FreeBSD by Michael W. Lucas (No Starch). When was the last time you could physically feel yourself getting smarter while reading a book? If you are a beginning to average FreeBSD user, Absolute FreeBSD 2nd Ed (AF2E) will deliver that sensation in spades.
- 3. Windows Forensic Analysis Including DVD Toolkit by Harlan Carvey (Syngress). WFA delivered just what I hoped to read in a book of its size and intended audience, and my expectations were high. If your job requires investigating compromised Windows hosts, you must read WFA.
- 2. Network Warrior by Gary Donahue (O'Reilly). Gary Donahue has written a wonderful book that I highly recommend for anyone who administers, supports, or interacts with networks.
And, the winner of the Best Book Bejtlich Read in 2007 award is... 1. Ajax Security by Billy Hoffman and Bryan Sullivan (Addison-Wesley). Ajax Security was the last book I read and reviewed in 2007. However, it was the best book I read all year. The book is absolutely compelling and every security professional and Web developer should read it. It's really as simple as that.
If you'd like to read a very thorough and technically perceptive review of the book, I recommend this post by Dre: Ajax Security opens up a whole new can of worms.
Let me conclude by saying the competition for the top slot was very tight. I really loved all top five books, and the bottom four were excellent too. There are even some good four star books, but a book must rate five stars in order to be considered here.
Congratulations to No Starch for placing 4 books in my five star list. Addison-Wesley was the runner-up with 2 books, but the publisher also produced the B3R07 award winner.
Happy reading in 2008!