We’ve selected some celebrated books in the world of cyber security you should check out this Summer to expand your knowledge of contemporary issues.


A cautionary tale: Spam Nation by Brian Krebs

In an exposé delving into a dark side of the online world, Krebs, a former Washington Post journalist and cybersecurity expert, pulls back the digital curtain to reveal the secrets behind email spam, botnets, rogue pharmacies, and other Internet threats. Armed with reams of information sent to him by feuding hackers and cybercrooks, Krebs explores just how and why these spammers get away with so much—how they make millions by flooding our email in-boxes with ads for cheap (and often unreliable, dangerous, or illegal) drugs, and how they stay one step ahead of the authorities. He traces many of them back to cabals taking refuge in the relatively laissez-faire former Soviet states, where the so-called Russian Business Network flourishes somewhat openly. Krebs plays the role of fearless crusader and hard-nosed investigative journalist, his crusade costing him his job at the Washington Post and his curiosity taking him to meet Russian spamlords face-to-face. By exposing our digital weaknesses and following the money, he presents a fascinating and entertaining cautionary tale. Krebs’s work is timely, informative, and sadly relevant in our cyber-dependent age.

Review from Publisher’s Weekly

Buy at your local bookstore or online here.



A holiday read: Zero Day by Mark Russinovich

If you’re looking for something less complex that still provides an accurate picture of what’s going on in cybersecurity, this novel can give you that mental break. Although the story is fictional, the scenario it depicts of a cybersecurity attack on an airplane’s on-board computer isn’t at all unrealistic. Several references to real cyberattacks are included, and descriptive language brings the mechanics of these threats to life in a way that a wide audience can understand and appreciate. You won’t get any technical knowledge from this book, but its subject matter is timely enough to make you think more critically about current cybersecurity issues.

Review from Homeland Security Degree

Buy at your local bookstore or online here.



A comprehensive cyber security guide: Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know by P. W. Singer and Allan Friedman

“I found Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know to be an enjoyable read, filled with engaging (funny) stories and illustrative anecdotes. Readers are taken on an entertaining tour of the important issues, history and characters of cybersecurity, from the Anonymous hacker group and the Stuxnet computer virus to the cyber units of the Chinese and U.S. militaries.

For readers without a military or public policy background this book will provide a common base of knowledge around cybersecurity issues. As cybersecurity practitioners, having a common base of knowledge will allow us to cooperatively engage in a dialogue and much-needed conversation around how to approach, understand and deal with the important policy implications of cybersecurity and cyberwar.

Cooperation is a key theme and takeaway from the book, focusing on how difficult, yet necessary, cooperation is for addressing cybersecurity issues. Today we talk in terms of “threat intelligence sharing.” The authors suggest that a governance model based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could serve to encourage cooperation, disseminate information and recommendations, and mobilize rapid responses as needed. Understanding, communication and cooperation in cybersecurity are truly what everyone needs to know.”

Review from Palo Alto Networks

Buy at your local bookstore or online here.



For some state-on-state political intrigue: The Cybersecurity Dilemma by Ben Buchanan

Why do nations break into one another’s most important computer networks? There is an obvious answer: to steal valuable information or to attack. But this isn’t the full story. This book draws on often-overlooked documents leaked by Edward Snowden, real-world case studies of cyber operations, and policymaker perspectives to show that intruding into other countries’ networks has enormous defensive value as well. Two nations, neither of which seeks to harm the other but neither of which trusts the other, will often find it prudent to penetrate each other’s systems. This general problem, in which a nation’s means of securing itself threatens the security of others and risks escalating tension, is a bedrock concept in international relations and is called the ‘security dilemma’.

This book shows not only that the security dilemma applies to cyber operations, but also that the particular characteristics of the digital domain mean that the effects are deeply pronounced. The cybersecurity dilemma is both a vital concern of modern statecraft and a means of accessibly understanding the essential components of cyber operations.

Review from the Belfer Center

Buy at your local bookstore or online here.


Click here for the Cyber Security Cannon, a longer list of books that every cyber security professional should read, according to Palo Alto Networks.