Book Review--CEH "Official Certified Ethical Hacker Review Guide"



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Post Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:23 pm

Book Review--CEH "Official Certified Ethical Hacker Review Guide"

By Kimberly Graves, ISBN:978-0-7821-4437-6
Sybex Publishing, www.sybex.com&nbsp; On Amazon.com for $19.79, 58 used and new from $15.58

I bought this mainly to review, and for the CD-ROM. I wanted to try and get a little more current from my CEH v.2.5 up to the newer version. Sure enough, it does include a whopping 10 pages on the last module in the current CEH courseware, "Penetration testing".

This book kind of disappointed me as soon as I unwrapped it; it's ONLY 238 pages! I'm used to a LOT more pages than that. On the other hand, It would be something neat and lightweight to be reading in the airport while waiting for your airplane.

This book seems to cover most all the basics. The accompanying CD-ROM contains a test engine with two different tests, and a flashcard thingy so you can quiz yourself. Sadly, I DON'T see anything in the text about URL De-Obfuscation, just as it wasn't included in the class I attended back in July 04, but there IS a question about it in the test. Refreshingly, the test question asks you de-obfuscate in the opposite direction!

The CD contains flashcards that can run on your PC, Pocket PC, or Palm handheld.

The basics of how to determine if SQL Injection is possible are covered.

The basics of footprinting, and session hacking, are discussed.

AS mentioned, this book is a REVIEW for those looking to pass the exam. Lightweight, easy to carry, I would have preferred something thicker. Maybe about 350 pages, I would have some more confidence in it.

If you're looking to do the exam, the flashcards and the test engine would come in handy while sitting at the aforementioned airport gate. The back cover says the "book includes over 300 review questions and practice tools".

Best of all, as books go, it's fairly cheap! $19.79 new on Amazon, and with Free Shipping. How many other CEH books are there out there for about $20.00???
Last edited by oyle on Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"hackers are like jedi, crackers are like the sith: do not fall prey to the dark side".

From 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k: "the ten laws of geek", law x


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Post Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:02 pm

Re: Book Review--CEH "Official Certified Ethical Hacker Review Guide"

Yeah, I almost delayed taking the CEH exam because this book was about to be released within 2 weeks from my scheduled test date. I ended up taking the v4 test (not really by choice, I guess that's just how New Horizons set it up even though I took the class as v5). The v4 test actually had some stuff in it that wasn't even covered in the v5 material which was odd.

When I was studying for v5 though, I had created a word document that covered all of the exam objectives. When this book finally came out, I went to Borders to check it out, and it was nearly 90% identical to the study guide I created. Overall,  you're right. It's a great book if you're looking for something to review just before the test and I'd highly recommend it just for that. Not that I've taken the v5 test, but knowing what I put in my study guide, and then flipping through this book, I'm confident I'd pass without a problem.

I didn't check the CD out yet, so thanks for the info on that.

I'm not sure of any rules or anything, or if Don would want this on the site, but I could post the v5 review guide I created if anyone is interested.


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Post Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:47 am

Re: Book Review--CEH "Official Certified Ethical Hacker Review Guide"

I have reviewed this book as well, as it was one of the materials I used for preparation.


One of the few books available about the Certified Ethical Hacker certification and exam. The book is divided into 15 chapters with the following structure:

Chapter 1 – Introduction to Ehical Hacking, Ethics, and Legality
Chapter 2 – Footprinting and Social Engineering
Chapter 3 – Scanning and Enumeration
Chapter 4 – System Hacking
Chapter 5 – Trojans, Backdoors, Viruses, and Worms
Chapter 6 – Sniffers
Chapter 7 – Denial of Service and Session Hijacking
Chapter 8 – Hacking Web Servers, Web Application Vulnerabilities, and Web-Based Password Cracking Techniques
Chapter 9 – SQL Injection and Buffer Overflows
Chapter 10 – Wireless Hacking
Chapter 11 – Physical Security
Chapter 12 – Linux Hacking
Chapter 13 – Evading IDSs, Honeypots, and Firewalls
Chapter 14 – Cryptography
Chapter 15 – Penetration Testing Methodologies

The first chapter should introduce the reader into the topic, therefore covered topics include those phases which are involved in hacking and gives a general overview on terms and conditions about ethical hacking, such as hacktivism, hackertypes, laws and so on. So this chapter is really very basic and shouldn't have anything new for someone who would like to take the exam.

The next chapter goes on with footprinting and social engineering as its main topics. Here the reader will get to know what phishing means, what shoulder surfing and dumpster diving are and which tools can be used for footprinting (DNS, whois, traceroute, IANA, etc.)

Scanning and Enumeration, the third chapter, introduces the reader first into the different types of scanning and the CEH scanning methodology. Bannergrabbing and OS fingerprinting get mentioned too, as well as a few Nmap command switches and scanning possibilities. The enumeration part focuses on NetBIOS and null sessions and a little SNMP Enumeration is included as well.

The fourth chapter is all about password cracking and privilege escalation. The reader will also read a short introduction into bufferoverflows and rootkits (more to come in chapter 9). NTFS Streams are explained too.

Trojans, Backdoors, Viruses, and Worms contains information about.. well, Trojans, Backdoors, Viruses, and Worms. Not too much details, just enough to get the reader know about these things and how they work.

It then goes on with Sniffing: What is it and how does it work, difference between active and passive sniffing, how APR poisoning and MAC flooding works and how it can be prevented.

The seventh chapter is mainly about (D)DoS attacks, bots and botnets, and session hijacking (types of session hijacking and sequence prediction). Land and smurf attacks get mentioned too, so does SYN flooding and some countermeasures (SNT cookies, RST cookies, micro blocks, stack tweaking, etc.). The TCP three-way-handshake is explained as well.

The eighth and nineth chapter are about web server hacking, web application vulnerabilities and SQL injections. Shortly it is described what everything means and how it works, possible attacks a hacker may launch against those systems (such as IIS unicode exploit), how Google can be used as a hacking utility, and how different types of buffer overflows (stack- and heap-based) can be detected and identified.

WLAN is focused next, so topics briefly discussed include WEP, WPA(2), cracking techniques, open system and shared key authentication as well as RC4, IVs, AES and SSID.

Physical access, one of the topics which gets often neglected, is covered next. Main focus lies within the question, why it is as important as technical and operational security.

Linux is covered next, though the reader will only get to know how C and C++ source files can be compiled using gcc and how a linux kernel could be compiled.

The thirtheenth chapter will introduce Intrusion Detection Systems (host- and network-based) and explains how they work in general. Firewall types and honeypots are included in this chapter as well as an explanation on session splicing and reverse WWW shells.

After this the reader will be introduced on two and a half page into cryptography and encryption techniques (symmetric and asymmetric key encryption), public and private key generation, MD5, SHA, RC4 and RC5, and Blowfish..

The last chapter explains the difference between vulnerability assessment and penetration test and shows some pentesting methodologies and pentesting steps (pre-attack-, attack, and post-attack-phase). The top-10 list of vulnerability scanning tools with regards to Fyodor and insecure.org are listed and briefly explained too. The chapter closes then with information a final report should contain.

Each chapter contains at the very beginning the exam objectives, which informs the reader about what he/ she should be familiar with before attending the exam. Also each chapter contains a tool field, where several tools are listed and briefly described. Occasionally there are also 'Notes' inserted, which should be memorized very well. Additionally there is a short summary of the exam essentials. Lastly the reader will get after each chapter a few review questions, which should check if the reader understood the concepts discussed in the current chapter.

About the author

Kimberly Graves has over 10 years of IT experience and holds several certifications, including CEH, CWSP, CWNP and others. Currently she works with Symbol Technologies and other leading wireless and security vendors as an instructor.


I don't share all statements in the book, such as "It's important to use commercial applications to clean a system instead of freeware tools, because many freeware tools can further infect the system.", and I don't know if those are more the opinion of the author or if they mirror EC-Council's thoughts. However, I think it is a good addition to have for preperation if you are new to this field, don't care about the money and want to get your feet wet with CEH to start, especially when going the self-study route as it explains everything quite easy and briefly (though not everything seems to be correct..). As the title already says, it is a review guide and not a study guide - therefore I would recommend this book when preparing for the exam the last time before attending or at the very beginning of the studying process in order to get an overview of covered topics. If you decide to use this this book be prepared for bad proof-reading and editing, as there are quite a few typos and errors.

If you have already basic security skills, you won't find anything new in the book though you might find some information which seems important for the CEH exam. Again, I don't review this book in terms of a professional security book (which it certainly is not for many reasons) but as a material which can be used for the CEH exam. Therefore I gave it 2 out of 5 stars, otherwise it would be probably 1.



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Post Tue May 11, 2010 7:18 am

Re: Book Review--CEH "Official Certified Ethical Hacker Review Guide"

I haven't read it yet but heard a lot about it ... Maybe sometimes later ...  :) :)



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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:10 am

Re: Book Review--CEH "Official Certified Ethical Hacker Review Guide"

This is a really good, book i have read it 2 times and there are times that i learn new things.
its really easy to read and the author did a great job in explaining the CEH process.
I loved it.
i highly recommend it.
specially for the new ones in the CEH.


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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Book Review--CEH "Official Certified Ethical Hacker Review Guide"

For my part, I used it as my main study guide when I wrote CEHv6. After the exam (like an hour after), I went on and counted how many questions I actually got per chapter. It was something like Chap 1: 5 questions, Chap 2: 2 questions, etc.

The end results: out of 150 question, about 37 were covered in this book! Now you know why I did this exercise after the exam...

Maybe the book is based on CEHv5 and CEHv6 is very different, but I was very, very disapointed. Why do EC-Council keep this book advertised on their site as the "official" one? I don't know...

That being said, it is still a great book. It's well structure and like others have mentioned, it's easy to read. Just don't base your study on that...
(aka H1t.M0nk3y)

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