Not Your Mama’s Firewall

Firewalls and Internet Security: Repelling the Wily Hacker
Cheswick and Bellovin

There’s an awful lot of office cleaning going on at my library. This one came from the office of the Technical Services Librarian, who inherited it from a long-retired librarian. I think the publication date pretty much sums up what is wrong with it.

I don’t personally know enough about firewalls or internet security to know exactly how awful this is, so I’ve included the table of contents.

Weed your offices, people!



Firewalls and Internet Security back cover

Firewalls and Internet Security contents

Firewalls and Internet Security contents

Firewalls and Internet Security contents

Firewalls and Internet Security contents


  1. Since it was in an office, not on the shelf, its possible someone had weeded it but decided to keep it for sentimental reasons.

  2. Weed and replace. This won’t cover many things that now must be secured.

    That said, I like the “list of bombs” entry in the TOC.

  3. This is the book and these are the people who invented the concept and the term “Firewall”. It is the very first serious book on Internet Security ever.

    1. So since it is the “first” does that merit it to keep?

      I would struggle with wanting to keep, unless I had a for sure good reason why (like we had a class of the history of technology, or something like that, which we don’t at my campus).

    1. “My Mother the Car” has a fuller Wikipedia article. The book is from 1994, so before Microsoft Windows 95; before ActiveX, before Java, before JavaScript. And there’s twenty years of new legislation, for what it’s worth. The tools have changed substantially. I don’t know if it covers network address translation – it might, and it might even have hints about IPv6 (which admittedly still hasn’t really arrived). And it probably explains the basic principles of IPv4 very well. But as a guide to Internet security and computer security, it won’t do the job now.

  4. Judging by the TOC, the book is at least for a solid 90% up to date. Everything it says is still valid, although it’s not _sufficient_ nowadays.

  5. Going by the table of contents alone, more of that book is still relevant than you might expect. TCP/IP hasn’t changed much if at all, and anything specific to UNIX-based operating systems probably still works even if some of the tools might be depreciated in favour of better successors. (We computer professionals get… tetchy if we have to relearn how to do the very basics after every upgrade.) The stuff about social engineering and other dirty tricks will be pretty much timeless. In fact, if it gives you some idea, the 2nd Edition was published in 2003 and is still in print!

    However, the complete text of this edition is available as a free download, which makes it a definite candidate for weeding.

    1. Thanks for the useful link!

      Yes, this book is one of the few tech books that won’t be going out of date any time soon… because eventually all us old codgers who remember this stuff will die off and something will break and someone will have to look it up.

  6. Not all computer books age in the same way. Those aimed at end-users date relatively quickly, but sysadmin-targeted stuff and actual computer science texts don’t so much (unless they’re software- or programming-language specific, and sometimes not even then). This falls into the sysadmin docs category, and the bulk of it is still good.

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