安全大师的大作 I seem to have been born a computer geek, but my adventure with network security began only by accident. I have always loved to experiment, explore new ideas, and solve seemingly well defined but still elusive challenges that require innovative and creative approaches—even if just to fail at solving them. When I was young, I spent most of my time pursuing sometimes risky and often silly attempts to explore the world of chemistry, mathematics, electronics, and finally computing rather than ride my bike around the block al
l day long. (I probably exaggerate a bit, but my mother always seemed to be worried.)
Shortly after my first encounter with the Internet (in the mid '90s, perhaps eight years after I coded my first "Hello world" program on a beloved 8-bit machine), I received an unusual request: a spam letter that, hard to believe, asked me (and a couple thousand other folks) to join an underground team of presumably malicious, black hat hackers. This did not drive me underground (perhaps due to my strong instinct for self-preservation, known in certain circles as cowardice) but somehow provided a good motivation to explore the field of computer security in more detail. Having done plenty of amateur programming, I found it captivating to look at code from a different perspective and to try to find a way for an algorithm to do something more than it was supposed to do. The Internet seemed a great resource for the challenges I craved—a big and complex system with only one guiding principle: You cannot really trust anyone. And so it all began.
I do not have the background you might expect from the usual computer security specialist, a profession that is becoming commonplace today. I have never received any formal computer science education, nor do I hold an impressive-sounding set of certifications. Security has always been one of my primary passions (and is now my living). I am not the stereotypical computer geek—I do get up once in a while to look at my work from a sane distance or to get away from computers altogether.
For good or bad, all this has affected the shape of this book and its message. My goal is to show others how I view computer security, not how it is usually taught. For me, security is not a single problem to be solved nor a simple process to follow. It is not about expertise in a specific field. It is an exercise in seeing the entire ecosystem and understanding its every component.