You know what I’m thankful for? Target. Where else are you going to find a 6 shelf, 80 inch bookcase for $35? Sure, it’s made of cheap wood and sways I bit if I bump into it, but hell… I gotta display my excessive collection of books some how. If I’m going to spend a ridiculous sum of money on acquiring and preserving a handwritten civil war memoir, I want people to appreciate it.
Over the past year, I’ve had the chance to read some incredible cyber security books as well. So here’s a quick post on a few of my favorites.
The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets
A true-life account of the FBI’s search for Brian Regan, also known as the spy who couldn’t spell. The author tells the amazing story of how the FBI unraveled Regan’s strange web of codes. He balances story telling and technical details in a way to gives you real insight into the minds of the FBI agents who struggled to decode the creative and confusing ciphers of Regan, made even more complex due to his dyslexia. If you’re interested in espionage, spies, and cryptography, this is the book for you.
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State
Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who originally met with Edward Snowden, recounts his 10-day trip to Hong Kong and examines the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian. This is a first hand look into Snowden’s thoughts and intentions behind the data leak. It’s a truly essential literary contribution to America’s understanding of surveillance. In light of recent events in the internet privacy arena, I highly recommend giving this book a read.
Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon
Alright, we all know Stuxnet. Cybersecurity journalist Kim Zetter tells the story behind one of the world’s most advanced and innovative viruses and describes in detail how Stuxnet functioned. The book was wonderfully written, first describing the discovery and research involved after initial discovery, then retelling it from the perspective of its creators. Kim Zetter drew on her extensive contacts and gave us insight into the thoughts and struggles of the first respondents. I could not put this book down. Every cybersecurity professional should take the time to read this book and experience a pivotal part of cyber history.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker
Kevin Mitnick is one of the most elusive and talented hackers the world has seen. Not only does he have the technical expertise, but a raw talent for social engineering. In this book, Kevin recounts his experiences, breaking into some of the worlds largest companies, his evasion of the FBI, and his eventual capture. But like many of us, he did not hack to profit, merely to see if it was possible and to help create a more secure digital world. This book was thrilling and absolutely amazing to read. You should also check out his new book, The Art of Invisibility.
Kevin Mitnick, if you happen to read this, holy sh*t… this was one of the best books I’ve ever read.
We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency
What ever you’re doing right now… stop and buy this book. Out of the hundreds of books in my library, this was far and beyond my absolute favorite.
Just about everyone has heard the name Anonymous by now. Through your experience in cybersecurity or through the news, but few people know the true story behind the collective. Author Parmy Olsen tells the stories of three of the core hackers behind Anonymous. It was one of the most beautifully written tales I’ve experienced. The level of research that went into the book is astounding. Palmer draws upon hundreds of IRC chat logs, official investigations, and more to compile the stories of Sabu, Topiery, Kayla, and T-Flow. From the beginnings on 4Chan to the massive attacks on PayPal, Visa, HB Gary, the FBI, and more… the author gives you a window to observe every event in Anonymous, LulzSec, and the lives of the actual hackers. Seriously, read it.
And finally, some honorable mentions. Still amazing books.
- Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know
Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime – from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door
This Machine Kills Secrets: How Wikileakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World’s Information
Worm: The First Digital World War
Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy
Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed
The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive
Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions