Security in Distributed Computing

Main Article Content

Haklin Kimm


Glen Bruce and Rob Dempsey 
Prentice Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1997, 456 pp. 
ISBN 0-13-182908-4, $56.00

This book is well written and organized to cover all aspects of computer security, especially in distributed computing environments. The overall computer security problems in computer systems, computer networks and database systems are explained throughout the book. Furthermore, the computer security problems are covered in balance based on the views and approaches of the business and technology sides.

The book is organized with four parts. The introductory part 1 begins with a good overview of the security problems in distributed computing environments. In part 2, the foundations of computer security are discussed. Chapter 3 covers computing security basics by using the trust model which consists of identification, authentication, authorization, confidentiality, integrity, nonrepudiation, and so on. Chapter 4 explains the security architecture model which is based on foundation control and trust models. The following chapter 5 illustrates the foundation model that is based on security policy, security principles, security criteria and standards, and education. Chapter 6 discusses security policies based on corporate principles and business code of conduct.

In part 3, all aspects of computer security technologies are covered. Chapter 7 begins with the illustration of what is a trusted network, which is followed by the discussions of System Network Architecture (SNA) and Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Chapter 8 explains network operating systems mostly based on Novell’s NetWare as well as other networking operating systems. Chapter 9 illustrates client/server system and Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) briefly. The security problems and possible corresponding solutions are explained well in chapters 10 through 12, which are followed by chapter 13 specifying Windows NT security. Chapter 14 explains the security problems and requirements connecting the network to the Internet by using a firewall machine as an example. Chapter 15 illustrates Data Encryption Standard (DES) private key encryption, and RSA public key encryption which are very well to understand. Chapter 16 covers the Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) from the Open Software Foundation (OSF) which provides the fundamental middleware services that allow clients and servers to work in a secure way. The following chapter 17 enhances the discussion of the fundamental aspects of DCE of chapter 16. Chapter 18 extends to the illustration of the security features in distributed database systems. The last chapter in part 2 explains the On-Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) by using available commercial products.

In part 4, chapter 20 begins with how to design client-server applications satisfying security issues discussed in the previous chapters. Chapter 21 shows the examples of applying computer security in electronic mail and groupware. The following chapters 22 and 23 discuss how to manage security in the distributed system environments and how to develop a suitable security strategy for organizations. Chapter 24 explains well about all aspects related to auditing in computer systems. The final chapter of this book concludes with describing the security issues in the future.

This book is an important reference book for anyone interested in computer security in distributed computing and especially for those beginners in the computer security field. The book is one of the better computer security books that is easy to follow.

Haklin Kimm,
University of Tennessee

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