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Puzzles for Hackers [Paperback]

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Item description for Puzzles for Hackers by Ivan Sklyarov...

These puzzles and mind-benders serve as a way to train logic and help developers, hackers, and system administrators discover unconventional solutions to common IT problems. Users will learn to find bugs in source code, write exploits, and solve nonstandard coding tasks and hacker puzzles. Cryptographic puzzles, puzzles for Linux and Windows hackers, coding puzzles, and puzzles for web designers are included.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   350
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 7.4" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2005
Publisher   A-List Publishing
ISBN  1931769451  
ISBN13  9781931769457  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Digital Business & Culture > Hackers
2Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Networking > Networks, Protocols & API's > Network Security
3Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Programming > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Puzzles for Hackers?

Good entertainment for a hardcore hacker  Feb 6, 2007
I went through this book in about an hour and solved all the puzzles I had any inclination to solving (perhaps 30% of the book). The difficulty of the puzzles ranges from mere puns to some number puzzles to involved reverse engineering projects where intricate knowledge of a particular operating system is necessary. I would not buy it again for myself, but it would make a pretty good gift for someone who considered themselves more of a hacker.
Very interesting and unique  Nov 4, 2006
This book has some very interesting and unique puzzles; I've never actually seen a puzzle book with this kind of focus or attitude before. The puzzles contained within aren't "find the secret number" or "rearrange these some special way" type things; they're hard-core hacker puzzles, bending your mind and testing your knowledge.

The examples given are often interesting, involving fake or real programs. The Cryptanalysis section starts with the fictitious Cool Crypto program; while the Net section brings up tools like tcpdump. One of the puzzles even involves cracking a password hidden in a Web page; but that page is encrypted using the real-world "HTML Protector" product which you first have to reverse engineer to get to the source code for the page. Some of the puzzles are also purely theoretical, and can be carried out by anyone with a good understanding of basic discrete math.

Not only was I extremely pleased with some of the puzzles I could solve; but also with the solutions section of the book. Even though sometimes its solutions were over-presumptuous and limited to the exact scenario in the book, it did provide some "oh damn I hadn't thought of that" moments. It also provided valuable knowledge; some of the puzzles I just didn't know, so I looked in the solution section to see how it worked and learned something interesting.

This book only seemed to display two major faults. First, sometimes the puzzles are too hard or just require knowledge you may not possess; for example, the Windows puzzles require an understanding of trivial and not typically important components of legacy DOS systems, or of the NTFS file system. Second, sometimes the solutions are too simple and limited; such as with some of the Cryptography puzzles where the answers make assumptions specific to the encrypted text, as opposed to showing a deeper method for analyzing the ciphertext to recover the key.

All in all, anyone with a strong background in computer science and an interest in puzzles will likely find this book both challenging and fun. The puzzles put your computer science skills to the test, mathematically and analytically; they are a fresh change from crossword puzzles and simple cryptograms.
Not what I expected  Mar 1, 2006
This probably should be called Puzzles for Crackers, not hackers.

Many if not most of the puzzles deal with insecure code and uncovering weak encryption. Several of the puzzles deal with assembly language or modifying raw binaries.

That's fine if you want that. But, I was looking more for higher level programming tips, challenges, and puzzles, more like what is in the book Programming Pearls.
disparate tidbits  Oct 25, 2005
The book gathers together a disparate and funky collection of programming tidbits and trivia. Only some of these are actually coding problems. For example, in one section it asks if you recognise certain trademarks or marketing diagrams that were used in the recent past.

The reverse engineering chapter might be an eye opener of what can be deduced from an executable, by using a good tool like SoftIce.

For many programmers, there should be something new in this book.

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