The 10 best books on computer security

The term computer security is also synonymous with Cybersecurity and information technology security. It relates to protecting, preventing, and understanding the threats that can cause harm to both a networked computer system and a configured information system. The security threat can result from the theft of data on such systems or their unauthorized use.

A computer system is defined by both hardware and software. Since computer hardware is also equally valuable, the protection of sensitive computer hardware parts is easily achievable through alarms, locks, and serial numbers. On the other hand, achieving data protection and authenticated system access is not straightforward. It requires complex security tactics and algorithms.

Categorizing computer security threats

Before we can review the 10 best books on computer security, we have to break down the security threats you are likely to encounter into four major categories. These categories relate to information storage and access. The way you store information on a computer system is equivalent to how easy or difficult it is for an intruder or intrusion software to access and corrupt the integrity of that stored data. Thus, computer security threats exist in four categories, as discussed below.

Theft of data

Consider a scenario where a malicious user has unauthorized access to government computers and steals sensitive information like military secrets. Such data can be sold to the highest bidder and might be used to blackmail or corrupt the face value of the governments in question.

Vandalism

This type of computer security threat does not necessarily need to involve a malicious user directly. For example, this user might not intend to acquire any data from the targeted computer system. Instead, the malicious user might consider using third-party software in the form of computer malware or virus. This virus will have the sole objective of gaining access and destroying the data stored on that targeted computer system.

Fraud

This type of computer security threat involves an ordinary system user finding a loophole on a system after prolonged system use. This user will use that loophole for self-benefit. It means that the related system design failed to use an effective test-driven approach to fix the possible system breaches. A practical case is where a bank employee will channel funds from the bank through a ghost account.

Invasion of privacy

With this type of computer security threat, a large user database is compromised by illegal data access. The user compromised user information in question can be a medical or personal finance data record. Such information can be used to social engineer an attack on these users. For example, they can be misled into damning financial dealings or contracts.

What to look for on a computer security book

The computer security books you choose to go with should always take an extra stride to ensure the confidence index of your computer’s security system is always high. On that note, the books need to check most if not all of the Cybersecurity principles. Four key activities define these security principles:

  • Govern: The system user must know how to identify and manage viable system security threats.
  • Protect: The system use should be able to reduce security risks by implementing security control measures strategically.
  • Detect: The system user should be able to detect and understand associated Cybersecurity events.
  • Respond: Upon the existence of a Cybersecurity incident, the system user should take appropriate response steps to recover from the onset of the security threat.

FOSS Linux recommended the 10 best books on computer security

With the stated Cybersecurity principles in mind, it’s time to quickly review some of the books to consider for your Cybersecurity educational or career pursuits.

1. Develop your Cybersecurity career path: How to break into Cybersecurity at any level

Develop your Cybersecurity career path: How to break into Cybersecurity at any level
Develop your Cybersecurity career path: How to break into Cybersecurity at any level

This book is dedicated to Cybersecurity professionals looking for ways to climb up the ranks in the job market by adding something extra to their resumes. If you have the aura to protect, then this book will serve you justice. This CISO desk reference guide acts as the perfect jailbreak into the world of Cybersecurity.

Unlike most books, this one starts by engaging you about the field of Cybersecurity for you to be certain of what it has to offer. The book also provides you with tools to carry out a self-assessment on Cybersecurity. It helps you check all the boxes needed by a Cybersecurity expert. With this book’s reading span, you will transition from a human network to a Cybersecurity career expert.

The storytelling technique of this book is also another advantage to the readers. You will be polishing and evolving your Cybersecurity skills and knowledge through a soothing and practical narration that eases the technicalities of the main subject matter.

2. Adversarial tradecraft in Cybersecurity: Offense versus defense in real-time computer conflict

Adversarial tradecraft in Cybersecurity: Offense versus defense in real-time computer conflict
Adversarial tradecraft in Cybersecurity: Offense versus defense in real-time computer conflict

This book expounds on cutting-edge techniques and countermeasures that effectively offer organizational protection against on-site or live hackers. In other words, it gives you an orientation inside the mind of a hacker for you to comfortably harness cyber deception. You will know and act on the thoughts of a hacker before they plan and execute an attack on your computer system.

This book takes a look at three key features:

  • Outwitting a hacker in a live or real computing environment
  •   Understand the implementation of advanced security techniques like “red team and blue team” through code examples.
  • Short-term memory battle approach.

Most Cybersecurity books are about passive attacks on a computer system. This Cybersecurity book breaks this tradition by targeting content on live attacks on a computer system. The provided tips and tricks effectively ward off real-time attacks and collapse their linked attack chains. In addition, you will understand how hackers manage to get the upper hand during an attack and how to defensively outsmart them like in a game of cat and mouse.

You will note that each chapter of the book is divided into two sections. One section will accommodate the offensive nature of a computer system attack, as the other section provides a defensive approach o the mentioned attack. The conflicts that lead to such attacks are defined by the principles of economy, humanity, and deception.  The book also explains how an attacker plans and sets up their infrastructure and the tools used for an offensive and defensive attack.

This book gives you both the defender’s and offender’s real-time approaches to Cybersecurity which will make you a priceless asset in the Cybersecurity industry.

3. Malware analysis techniques: Tricks for the triage of adversarial software

Malware analysis techniques: Tricks for the triage of adversarial software
Malware analysis techniques: Tricks for the triage of adversarial software

No system is malware proof unless stated otherwise. You need to know the malware or bug status of your computer system and the steps to take if, at one point, your system is breached or infected. This book takes you through effective means of analyzing malicious samples, writing reports, and referencing industry-standard methodologies to deal with adversarial malware and software.

The key features covered in the book include:

  •  Malware threat investigation, detection, and response.
  • Earning your way to an analyst status and be able to produce useful IOCs and reporting.
  • Interaction with real-world malware samples case studies towards explorable complete solutions.

Whether you are a Cybersecurity professional, malware analyst, or research, you will find the content of this book comforting enough in sharpening your malware analysis and detection techniques. As for beginners, you will get the best foundation on understanding the world of malware.

The book gives an upper hand to users with some exposure to Unix-like registries and file systems,  command-line interfaces, and scripting language experience (Ruby, Python, PowerShell).

Every technologically oriented enterprise does not take the threat of malicious software lightly. Unfortunately, it has contributed to lost productivity and ransomware, making businesses lose millions of dollars due to currency theft. This book offers proven analysis techniques to triage, identify, classify, and neutralize evident threats.

4. Cybersecurity disasters: History of IT disasters and how to avoid them in the future

Cybersecurity disasters: History of IT disasters and how to avoid them in the future
Cybersecurity disasters: History of IT disasters and how to avoid them in the future

This book‘s practical analogy to understanding Cybersecurity also draws inspiration from the age-old cat and mouse game. The book gives you a brief insight into why the 1980s became the onset of computer and system hackers. Computer systems and networks were becoming popular at an unmetered speed, and hackers started to find ways of exploiting the active computer networks and systems.

This book walks you from the early days to the modern times of Cyber-crime. You will also understand the evolution of Cyber-crime and its current state in our technologically-oriented present time. The discussed Cybersecurity solutions in this book account for what you can handle on your own and solutions that might require a budget plan.

5. The CIA insider’s guide to disappearing and living off the grid: The ultimate guide to invisibility

The CIA insider's guide to disappearing and living off the grid: The ultimate guide to invisibility
The CIA insider’s guide to disappearing and living off the grid: The ultimate guide to invisibility

With experience being a certifiable teacher and a former CIA officer, the author of this book, you will be getting a mixture of knowledge and mentorship in terms of anonymity and keeping your digital footprints to the minimum. Cybersecurity is not just about protecting a computer system but also the human system (you). Therefore, you do not want to be too transparent in a world where anyone could be watching you.

Everyone has an invisible trail through the electronic footprint they leave behind after an internet interaction. An aspect of the internet that gets almost everyone monitored is the various social media platforms.  This book reminds you of the importance of your individual privacy and security. You might also want only to enjoy the thrill of being untraceable from the internet.

So, you want to disappear without a trace? What better guide to follow than that one of a former CIA counterterrorism officer.

6. Cybersecurity career master plan: Proven techniques and effective tips to help you advance in your Cybersecurity career

Cybersecurity career master plan: Proven techniques and effective tips to help you advance in your Cybersecurity career
Cybersecurity career master plan: Proven techniques and effective tips to help you advance in your Cybersecurity career

For individuals looking for a job or certification in the Cybersecurity industry, this book is for you. The book takes care of the following three features:

  • Making a move towards a desirable career path in Cybersecurity. You will also learn how to bait a well-paying and rewarding Cybersecurity job.
  • Your Cybersecurity certification options and career paths do not have to be a gamble with the explorable expert tips covered in this book.
  • You will have access to experienced cybersecurity experts for engaging and informative content.

If you are an aspiring IT professional, college graduate, or someone making a mid-career switch, then you will love what this book has to offer. However, maybe you are unsure, overwhelmed, or intimidated by the concepts of Cybersecurity. This boo gives you a slow and comfortable transition into this world.

7. Cryptography: The key to digital security, how it works, and why it matters

Cryptography: The key to digital security, how it works, and why it matters
Cryptography: The key to digital security, how it works, and why it matters

The author of this book is an information security leading expert. Most people will associate cryptography as a language for hackers and spies. However, without knowing, cryptography serves a priceless contribution in terms of the security of cryptocurrencies, web searches, internet messaging, credit card payments, and phone calls. Therefore, it is impossible to dismiss the usefulness of cryptography in Cybersecurity.

With cyberspace continuously expanding, cryptography is needed to protect the transmission of shared information over the internet. This book lets you understand the Ins and Outs of cryptography and how it became a major footprint in computer security.

You will be able to answer questions like, are there consequences to making a connection to an unprotected Wi-Fi network? You will also understand the logic behind having different passwords for your different online accounts. There are security implications in feeding sensitive data to random apps. As you will learn, encryptions and ransomware attacks can put both a criminal investigation and personal information at great risk.

This book ensures that you have a profound perspective on your personal data security, whether offline or online.

8. Security and microservice architecture on AWS: Architecting and implementing a secured, scalable solution

Security and microservice architecture on AWS: Architecting and implementing a secured, scalable solution
Security and microservice architecture on AWS: Architecting and implementing a secured, scalable solution

If you are a software developer or a cloud solution architect, you will need this book as your security guide. First, it touches on high-level design and architecture discussions. It then explains and demonstrates the walkthrough of a frictionless approach in implementing secure cloud solutions.

When security is an afterthought in the design of cloud systems’ microservices, you won’t know the potential security threats you are neglecting. It is only when a security breach occurs that we tend to cover our tracks leading to unnecessarily complicated architectures that are difficult to implement, manage, and scale. With this AWS-oriented book, you won’t increase overhead while building your highly secure systems.

9. Key-cloak identity and access management for modern applications: Harness the power of Keycloak, OpenID Connect, and 0Auth 2.0 protocols to secure applications

Key-cloak identity and access management for modern applications: Harness the power of Keycloak, OpenID Connect, and 0Auth 2.0 protocols to secure applications
Key-cloak identity and access management for modern applications: Harness the power of Keycloak, OpenID Connect, and 0Auth 2.0 protocols to secure applications

The open-source nature of Keycloak makes it ideal for identity and access management. Keycloak is an important aspect of application security. Leveraging it expounds on its capabilities and what it has to offer. This book is ideal for anyone, including system administrators, developers, and security engineers seeking to leverage the power of Keycloak.

For you to have a smooth transition with this computer security book, having beginner-level knowledge on app authorization, authentication, and development will give you an upper hand. App authentication and authorization tend to be a challenge for many. If done incorrectly, your information system is bound to be a victim of numerous security vulnerabilities. Therefore, you will first master how to secure your applications before taking them to the production phase.

10. Cybersecurity and third-party risk: Third-party threat hunting

Cybersecurity and third-party risk: Third-party threat hunting
Cybersecurity and third-party risk: Third-party threat hunting

It seems like no world-class organization is safe from the never-ending attack streams targeting trusted vendors associated with major brands. The third-party breach has victimized companies like GM, Equifax, Target, and Home Depot. You could not expect the size of such organizations to be associated with a security weak point.

This book gives you a walkthrough of identifying such system vulnerabilities before they are exploited by hackers.  As you shall see, Cybersecurity risk mitigation is key in preventing and managing such system vulnerability exploits.  Third-party connections to company networks are both a risk and a profit mechanism. Learning how to deal with them ensures that your company’s network retains its global enterprise status.

Executives and professionals responsible for their organization’s system security will find this book helpful in maintaining the secure status of their network.

Final note

The major computer security principles that serve as the root of other discussed computer security practices in this article are confidentiality, integrity, and availability. They are the tenets that make up information security.  With these security books in mind, you should have an idea of what computer security really means. The listed books have the necessary information to take you from a beginner to a pro-level in designing, testing, and managing information systems.

The knowledge you acquire here will make Cybersecurity either an interesting hobby or a passionate career.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks, from a Debian user. You can always learn something new. I will have to follow some of these books up. Regards, Adam.

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