The Hacker’s Guide to OS X: Exploiting OS X from the Root Up

Authors: Robert Bathurst, Russ Rogers, Alijohn Ghassemlouei
Pages: 248
Publisher: Syngress
ISBN: 1597499501


With increasing market share and popularity, OS X is getting more attention from cybercriminals and hackers alike. This book wants to ride on that rising success and provide readers the tools to exploit OS X from the root up. Read on to see if it succeeds.

About the authors

Rob Bathurst is currently a cyber security researcher and penetration tester focusing on reverse engineering.

Russ Rogers is the co-founder of Security Horizon. He has spent the last 15 years working professionally as both an IT and infosec consultant.

Alijohn Ghassemlouei is a Cyber Security Specialist and Certified Ethical Hacker. He performs penetration testing attacking a diverse range of classified and unclassified hosts and operating systems.

Inside the book

At the beginning, the reader is invited to take a brief look back at the history of Apple’s operating systems with introductory material covering hardware, vitualization, security, and more. You are also presented by a basic explanation of how a file system works. When discussing network reconnaissance, the authors offer tools and techniques, enough to get you interested in the subject and informed enough to continue exploring on your own. Unfortunately, this is where several problems start to appear.

As I was progressing through the book, the title seemed less and less appropriate and the content increasingly confusing. On one hand you have a chapter that literally explains what a vulnerability is to someone that has no clue, on the other the book showcases buffer overflow code.

If you have to show a screenshot of a program in the App Store and offer the most basic how to information for someone that is a complete beginner, does the book deserve to be titled “The Hacker’s Guide to OS X: Exploiting OS X from the Root Up”? I was expecting so much more.

The book is light at under 250 pages, yet some of the page space is wasted on unnecessary images. Do we really need to see the cover of the Timex Sinclair 1000 manual or an image taking up almost half a page that shows the nslookup utility on Backtrack or Windows? Hardly. This is a recurring problem and spans the entire book. Some of the images are entirely dispensable, others are way too large and just take up space without offering much to the reader. It looks like clumsy filler that was put together on a tight deadline just to reach a certain page size.

Final thoughts

Although there is quality information in this book, it reads like a first draft that shouldn’t have gone to print. There are much better titles out there that deserve your attention.


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