From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 14:25:06 Pacific Time, Monday, 21 February 2005.

Virtual Private Networks, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly Nutshell)

   by Charlie Scott / Paul Wolfe / Mike Erwin

    December, 1998


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Editorial description(s):

From Book News, Inc.
A guide to setting up systems that can utilize the Internet to access and send information from one network to another, yet remain secure from unauthorized viewers. Four specific solutions are treated, including Layer 2 tunneling through PPTP or L2TP, the Cisco PIX firewall, the AltaVista Tunnel, and Secure Shell. The authors also discuss basics on how VPNs work, how much they cost, and when to use them. Book News, Inc.®, Portland, OR

Book Description
Historically, only large companies could afford secure networks, which they created from expensive leased lines. Smaller businesses had to make do with the relatively untrusted Internet. Now, even large companies have to go outside their private nets because so many people telecommute or log in while they're on the road. How do you provide a low-cost, secure electronic network for your organization? The solution is a Virtual Private Network (VPN): a collection of technologies that creates secure connections or "tunnels" over regular Internet lines--connections that can be easily used by anybody logging in from anywhere. This book tells you how to plan and build a VPN. It starts with general concerns like costs, configuration, and how a VPN fits in with other networking technologies like firewalls. It continues with detailed descriptions of how to install and use technologies that are available for Windows NT and Unix, such as PPTP and L2TP, Altavista Tunnel, Cisco PIX, and the secure shell (SSH). New features in the second edition include SSH and an expanded description of the IPSec standard, for which several vendors have announced support.

Reader review(s):

waste of money, November 29, 1999
I bought this book on an impuse. I assumed that since it was an oreilly book it would have some decent technical content and perspective. But was I wrong, the book starts with a minimal overview of VPNs one could pick up on the web in 5 minutes, a bunch of screen captures of setting up windows NT's VPN, a short chapter on using ssh, and a chapter on altavista's tunelling product.. I would have expected at least balanced and comparable results between each approach but, for example, the ssh chapter goes into the end performance of that approach but this evaluation isn't present for windows nt. In short there is no technical detail in this book and the information that is there would be just as easily (and much less expensively) found on the web.

Boo hiss.

Well.. Almost Useless, August 4, 2001
This book was a big disappointment. It does gloss over alot of the key VPN ideas, but there is not much substance. I've learned more from reading various tidbits off the internet.

Also, before you even consider using PPTP you should read the CounterPane cryptanalysis paper on PPTP. PPTP on windows NT is just not secure!

For a total newbie, this book might give them an idea of what to look for on the internet, but besides that I don't see too much value in this book.

I wouldn't buy it again, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that I liked.

Virtual Private Networks, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly Nutshell), February 28, 2000
I'm new to the world of VPN. This book laid some ground work for me to start with. The other reviews consider this book as usless, but now after having read this book, I now have a basis to gauge other work by. After all, as another review stated, there is not much new material out there.

BAD book....O'Reilly! 2nd Edition!, February 16, 2000
I so agree with "This book is a blot on O'Reilly's reputation. The editor(s) must have been asleep". I have many O'Reilly books, and they all are good...but not this one. I trusted the O'Reilly's editors. So I ordered this book before it was published. I wish I had the chance to read the reviews....

Look for a better book, May 21, 1999
What was O'Reilly thinking!! This is the first time I wasted money on an O'Reilly book (and I have plenty). This book was a rush job. There are many inaccuracies, a lot seem to be the editors mistakes. The authors seem to have the practical experience, but it is not communicated in a clear manner. The chapters on PPTP, AltaVista and Cisco PIX were organized in a good way and were helpful. Overall, the diagrams are poor. Better graphics could have salvaged this book. I give it two stars because there are not that many books on the market.

Complete waste!, February 8, 2000
This book is not worth the paper it is written on. I expected more from an O'Reilly book. If you want to learn about VPN, go for a better selection!

Innacurate and old, July 23, 2003
I didn't check out the publication date of this book when I bought it (1998) so my dissapointment is partly my fault. It is, unsuprisingly, very outdated (anyone actually remember the altavista tunnel?). However, much of the info that remains, even general VPN fundamentals, are flawed and innacurate. This book will hinder you if you are trying to understand proper VPN network topologies.

Not worth the price., October 12, 1999
Until now, all O'Reilly books I've encountered have been worth their weight in gold. Not this one! The very slim book focuses on simple tunneling systems (mostly from host to host) and cannot give sound advice or knowledge to any serious attempts at VPNs. Perhaps individual users with NTs might find some interest in the book, but for a network administrator its a total waste of money. Spend a few minutes browsing it and you've seen the best of it.

Worst technical book I've read in years, April 3, 1998
This book is a blot on O'Reilly's reputation. The editor(s) must have been asleep. It is disorganized and riddled with errors of grammar, fact and logic. The authors seem to be unclear on their audience as well as their facts. The book is insulting and derogatory of end users (without whom there would be no need for the technology discussed), implying among other things, that most technical problems with VPNs are the fault of dumb end users, and then going on to describe problems that are almost all a result of installation and setup errors by the "pros" in configuring routers, NT Server and/or the VPN server software or equipment. The discussion of the CISCO equipment contains 13 pages about firewalls and a sparce 3 about VPNs, which turn out to require additional equipment not mentioned earlier or in the cost estimates. After pages of "war stories" about security breaches and cracker dangers, the authors state at one point that the logs produced by the VPN software are mainly good to enliven boring network administrator's meetings. It is often unclear which of two alternatives is being discussed. Further examples could be quoted from almost any page of this mess. Save your money. O'Reilly should post the full text of this fiasco on their web site for free as an example of the kind of "technical" material they are NOT interested in publishing.

A very poorly written book., July 9, 1999
It is a waste of money and time to buy and to read this book. I mean the second edition. There is neither clear architecture concept nor technical detail. Many concept can be illustrated in a very simple drawings and the author will not do it. After I read other books I feel that the authors don't know what they are talking about.

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