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Can't Hack The Hackers?

Books on the latest software for technology directors and IT staff

Hackers pepper the landscape of American schools. It's a fact of life. Five years ago, a small group of high school students in Urbana, Ill., were charged with credit card fraud. They used home computers, school computers and sniffer software to procure credit card numbers and then purchase goods online.

It is possible school administrators, technology coordinators or supervising teachers could be considered responsible for some of the students' actions, according to the online document Educator's Guide to Computer Crime and Technology. Four graduate students in the Curriculum, Technology and Education Reform Masters of Education program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign wrote a white paper to assist educators dealing with challenges in incorporating technology in K-12 education.

Districts that fail to use reasonable safeguards can be sitting ducks when it comes to allegations of incompetence, negligence, lawsuits and forfeiture of insurance claims, the document claims.

Teachers who incorporate technology should have "a basic grasp of ways in which technology and technological communications can be used inappropriately and should model appropriate behaviors and be vigilant when involving students in working with computer technologies and using computer-based communication," the document states.

The following books can offer tips and tools to prevent or lessen the damage from hackers in your school.

Code Hacking: A Developer's Guide to Network Security

CharlesRiver Media, $54.95

Complete with a CD-ROM that includes a custom security scanner, this 386-page book teaches developers to think like hackers so they can develop defensive code. The book is full of hands-on lessons in learning security skills necessary to protect systems and offers the software and techniques that hackers use.

Readers will learn how to write and use scanners, sniffers and exploits. Developers will get help in writing network security test harnesses for application and infrastructure.

The Complete Reference: Network Security

McGraw-Hill Osborne, $59.99

In 854 pages of comprehensive tips, school administrators can learn how to create strategies to implement a network security program. Readers will learn how to build a solid security architecture, manage and control access points to a network and data, and anticipate problems before they occur using risk analysis, threat definition and vulnerability assessment. Users will also learn legal and legislation issues.

Steal This Computer Book 3

No Starch Press, $24.95

It's the third edition, and it reveals the cyber underground of hacking. As a national bestseller with worldwide distribution and translations in seven languages, the book reveals the hacker culture, presenting detailed, technical information in an easy-to-understand format. This book is more about helping readers protect their personal computer and less about protecting a server, according to author Wallace Wang. There are new sections on spyware, hacktivism, war driving, RootKits, cyberterrorism, and firewalls and intrusion detection.

Counter Hack: A Step-by-Step Guide to Computer Attacks and Effective Defenses

Prentice-Hall, $49.99

The author lays out, step by step, a guide to empower network and system administrators to defend their information and computing assets. The network security expert explores: knowing the culprit, from script kiddies to elite hackers; hackers' views of networks and TCP/IP protocols; the hacking phases including reconnaissance, scanning, gaining access, maintaining access and preventing detection; the most dangerous and widespread attack situations; key hacker tools such as port scanners, firewall scanners, sniffers, session hijackers, and RootKits; how hackers build elegant attacks from simple building blocks; how hackers cover their tracks.

Ed Skoudis outlines short-term proven solutions as well as long-term strategies to improve future security. He even gives a forecast of future hacker tools, attacks and countermeasures.