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Top 10 Cyber Security Books to Read to Improve Your Skills

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21st Mar, 2023
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Top 10 Cyber Security Books to Read to Improve Your Skills

The field of cyber security is evolving at a rapid pace, giving birth to exceptional opportunities across the field. While this has its perks, on the other hand, the changing techniques and theories mean you have to keep upskilling yourself to keep up with the changing trends and technologies. What you learned cyber security field a few years ago might not work in 2022. That is why it is important to keep researching constantly. 

As an excellent source of knowledge, the internet will enable you to grasp trending topics, but the foundation strength is what only a good book can provide you. 

Comprehending the significance of books in the area of cyber security, we have created a list of the top ten best cyber security books for beginners and professionals hoping to cement their status in the domain. 

Why is Cyber Security Important? 

Before we delve into the list of cyber security books, let us refresh our memory about what cyber security really means. Technically, cyber security refers to techniques and practices one can employ in order to protect data, systems, and networks from unauthorized access on the internet. 

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All computerized systems need cyber security to be protected against unauthorized intervention. The prime role of cyber security is to protect data confidentiality from unethical elements. With a variety of sophisticated issues such as data breaches, cyber-attacks, and identity theft, cyber security professionals must be strengthened using the right resources. The given cyber security books for beginners and professionals can help you embark on a well-informed cyber security path. 

Best Cyber Security Books You Should Read to Improve Your Skills 

Cyber security also includes the topic of ethical hacking, as cyber security professionals have to test systems against hacking by performing ethical hacking on websites and systems. That is why some books on the list also feature ethical hacking techniques. 

  • Hacking: The Art of Exploitation

Author:  Jon Erickson

The market’s most famous cyber security and hacking book, Hacking, has two editions, published in 2003 and 2008. It is one of the most comprehensive books on hacking and how a hacker thinks. It gives you insights into how you can predict a hacker’s moves and provides a step-by-step guide on building a system that counters unethical hacking. In the second edition, you can find a hacker’s perspective on C-Programming. The second edition also has a live CD with a complete Linux environment. The book also avoids technical jargon and speaks in a language anyone can understand. This is an excellent book for beginners and experienced alike. 

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  • The Art of Invisibility

Author: Kevin Mitnick 

Kevin Mitnick has been dubbed the world’s most famous hacker. This book is an insight into the scary world of big data and large companies that spy on every move of our mundane human lives. With his immense knowledge about how large establishments take advantage of normal people, the author has set out to warn the readers about their moves and even gives insights on protecting yourself against constant observation. Even though we know the lack of real privacy on the internet, we also learn how to protect ourselves from these threats, thanks to Mitnick. This book should be read by everyone and not just cyber security professionals. 

  • Practice Malware Analysis

Author: Michael Sikorski and Andrew Honig

The digital world, as we all know, is constantly threatened by malware and viruses of different kinds. One of the main jobs that IT professionals and cyber security experts have today is combating these threats on a regular basis. The book is a comprehensive guide to malware-related data. Even though you have a solid grasp of internal concepts and coding to combat malware threats effectively, this book defines and relays those concepts very well. To read and understand this book, you have to have some basic cybersecurity knowledge, but it provides great insight into malware combat. 

  • Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking

Author: Christopher Hadnagy 

This is probably the only book in the list that focuses on the human influence of hacking rather than technical ones. Humans and human errors are usually the reason behind a security breach, not technical errors. If you want a cynical and twisted look inside virtual criminals’ minds and understand how to use it to your advantage, you have to read this book. This book does not depend on the technicalities of hacking and cyber security, which are constantly changing, but on the human mind, which works predictably and can be manipulated for personal advantage. 

  • Ghost in the Wires 

Author: Kevin Mitnick 

Even though we have already seen a book by Mitnick on the list, we also have to include this one. But unlike the previous book, where Mitnick provided insight into how to protect your privacy under the constant surveillance of your digital presence, this book is a thriller sharing the author’s daring endeavors of hacking into multi-million dollar corporations. The world’s most famous and most wanted hacker shares his story in this memoir that everyone should read. 

  • Hacking: A Beginners’ Guide to Computer Hacking, Basic Security, And Penetration Testing

Author: John Slavio 

If you are new to the world of cyber security and want to begin your ethical hacking career, this book is a must-read for you. You can find comprehensive studies about the history of hacking, types of hacking attacks, hackers, important hacking tools, and much more. You can also learn about mobile and email hacking and penetration testing. The book is a compact guide for beginners in ethical hacking.

  • Computer Hacking Beginners Guide 

Author: Alan T. Norman 

Another exceptional book for beginners who are looking for a comprehensive guide to the world of computer hacking is written by Alan Norman. This book contains all the techniques and tools used by black, white, and grey hat hackers. You will learn how a system can be compromised due to attacks and how you can identify such attacks to tackle them successfully. The book is an excellent source of ethical hacking tips to polish your skills.

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  • The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook 

Author: Dafydd Stuttard and Marcus Pinto 

Web applications are always vulnerable to various threats online. But this book can help you understand, identify, and prevent attacks on web applications and keep them safe from fraudulent activities. You can find step-by-step methods, complete with remoting frameworks, hybrid file attacks, and much more, on how to defend various web applications against threats. 

  • Cult of the Dead Cow 

Author: Joseph Menn 

The name of the book is also the name of the hacking supergroup that it talks about. The Cult of the Dead Cow was founded in Texas, USA, in the year 1984. Politician Beto O’Rourke has said that he was also part of the group. The book talks about how this group functioned and how it was the driving force behind the development of TOR. The book narrates how the cult might have saved the world as they led many corporations across the world to improve their security protocols critically. The book is highly informative and provides insight into the history of hacking, which can be an interesting read for many.

  • Threat Modelling: Designing for Security 

Author: Adam Shostack 

This last book on the list is more for professionals and less for casual readers. If you are a cybersecurity professional, this book is a must-read. It delves into the threat modeling practices that large corporations have used to ward off online threats and virtual attacks successfully. White hat hackers can reap valuable insights from this book, making it a must-read.


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Now that you have a comprehensive reading list of cyber security and ethical hacking books for casual reading and in-depth learning, you can embark on your challenging journey of becoming a cyber security professional. With sophisticated hacking techniques being involved in attacking systems maliciously, the field of cyber security is strengthening itself to repel the growing challenges, leading to better career opportunities for talented cyber professionals.

If you are a cyber security aspirant looking to strengthen your skillset, check out upGrad’s Master of Science in Computer Science program

Offered under two reputed institutes, Liverpool John Moores University and IIIT-Bangalore, the course is curated by leading industry experts, helping you gain in-demand skills such as DevOps, Big Data programming, Cyber Security, Blockchain, and more!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Why should I read a Cybersecurity book?

Whether you are a cybersecurity professional or not, some cybersecurity books can help you learn a lot about the hacking world and inform you about the basic safety measure to access digital platforms. If you are a professional, these books can help you significantly expand your basics and strengthen your skills in your subject of interest.

2What are some of the best Cybersecurity books to read?

Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, The Art of Invisibility, and The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook are some of the best cybersecurity books available in the market.

3What are some courses for people looking for a career in Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity Online Training and Certification courses, MSc course in Science Programs, and Information System Security Professional Certification are some of the best courses for people who are cybersecurity professionals. upGrad offers all these courses to help you prepare for the dynamic cybersecurity industry!

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