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As a journalist, I’m always writing. I also read a lot, and for someone who writes about cybersecurity, I read A LOT of cybersecurity books.

While these are not precisely gripping beach reads, I have read some intriguing cybersecurity books that managed services providers (MSPs) could benefit from this year. And while I have not penned a book report in years, here is a run-down of my top four favorite summer cybersecurity reads!

1. Hacked

Jessica Barker is a renowned cybersecurity specialist who weaves a super read. What stood out to me were the actionable strategies Hacked You get a written-like-a-novel look into how hackers are weaponizing the latest tools and technologies to target individuals and organizations before showing how to safeguard yourself against any potential attacks. She even covers how you should react if you become a target.

The book features insightful commentary from best-of-class cybersecurity experts and ethical hackers. It uncovers the fascinating stories of the most insidious and notorious cyber-attacks, including how the Mirai malware almost took down the Internet and how a supply chain attack infiltrated the US government and other global institutions.

The book also drills down on how the human element is cybersecurity’s Achilles Heel.

2. Cybersecurity and Cyberwar – What Everyone Needs to Know

New York Times best-selling author P.W. Singer pens this surprisingly riveting read.

A generation ago, “cyberspace” was just a term from science fiction used to describe the nascent network of computers linking a few university labs. Today, our modern way of life, from communication to commerce to conflict, fundamentally depends on the internet. The cybersecurity issues that result from this modern way of life challenge everyone:

  • Politicians are wrestling with everything from cybercrime to online freedom.
  • Generals are protecting the nation from new forms of attack while planning new cyberwars.
  • Business executives defend firms from unimaginable threats and look to profit from them.
  • Lawyers and ethicists are building new frameworks for right and wrong.

Most of all, cybersecurity issues affect us as individuals. We face new questions about everything from our rights and responsibilities as citizens of both the online and in the real world to how to protect ourselves and our families from this new type of danger. Perhaps no issue has grown so important, so quickly, touched so many, and yet remains so poorly understood.

3. Predict & Surveil

Sarah Brayne puts together an expansive and surprisingly enjoyable narrative about the role of data in law enforcement. The scope of criminal justice surveillance has expanded rapidly in recent decades. At the same time, big data has spread across various fields, including finance, politics, healthcare, and marketing. While law enforcement’s use of big data is hotly contested, very little is known about how the police use it in daily operations and with what consequences.

Some of the themes I found most interesting in the book include:

  • Surveillance practices: Covers the expansion of surveillance practices in modern policing, including the use of body cameras, license plate readers, and other tracking technologies. It also investigates the issues related to privacy, data security, and the potential for abuse of surveillance data.
  • Discretion and decision-making: Explains the impact of predictive policing on the discretion exercised by individual police officers. Also, how reliance on data-driven insights can impact traditional policing practices and decision-making processes.
  • Ethical and social implications: Looks at concerns about biases in data and algorithms, which can lead to discriminatory practices. Also addressed the implications for civil liberties, particularly the rights to privacy and freedom from unwarranted surveillance and discusses accountability and transparency in the use of predictive policing technologies.

The book really takes the cybersecurity specialist into a deep dive on where data and law-enforcement are going to head together into the future. Perhaps it is not gripping novel-type reading, but still time well spent!

4. Hacking the Hacker

This book by Roger Grimes takes you on a journey into the world of cybersecurity, revealing what happens behind the scenes and introducing you to the individuals at the forefront of this technological arms race. More than just an educational read, ‘Hacking the Hacker’ provides practical advice and insights from experts in the field. Its accessible writing style ensures that you walk away feeling prepared and knowledgeable.

In the books, readers learn about different hacking techniques, such as social engineering, malware, and phishing, as well as the tools used by hackers. The book also covers the defensive measures that can be employed to protect against these threats.

Twenty-six of the world’s top white hat hackers, security researchers, writers, and leaders describe what they do and why, with each profile preceded by a no-experience-necessary explanation of the relevant technology. Dorothy Denning, for example, discusses advanced persistent threats while Martin Hellman explains how he helped invent public key encryption. Furthermore, Bill Cheswick talks about firewalls, and Dr. Charlie Miller looks at hacking cars. Other cybersecurity experts from around the world detail threats, their defenses, and the tools and techniques they use to thwart the most advanced criminals that history has ever seen. Light on jargon and heavy on intrigue, this book is designed to be an introduction to the field and the final chapters include a guide for young hackers’ parents and the Code of Ethical Hacking to help you start your journey to the top.

As you consider your next poolside or beach read, think about adding one or more of these to your TBR list.

Photo: I MAKE PHOTO 17 / Shutterstock

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Kevin Williams

Posted by Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams is a journalist based in Ohio. Williams has written for a variety of publications including the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and others. He first wrote about the online world in its nascent stages for the now defunct “Online Access” Magazine in the mid-90s.

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