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Top 11 Cybersecurity Books for Beginners (Worth a Read)

Cybersecurity is perhaps the most in-demand job field in today’s tech sector. Many companies are seeking help from the experts to keep their business (and customer) data protected against cyber attacks.

In fact, the Information Security Engineer role was our No. 1 most in-demand tech job in 2021.

To help you get started on this promising career path, we’ve compiled a list of the best cybersecurity books for beginners.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is generally understood as the protection of important information online. While this is a big part of it (and a fairly literal deconstruction of the name), there’s much more to cybersecurity than just protecting your digital footprint.

Cybersecurity is the practice of securing networks, resources, and systems. It involves defending computer networks against malicious attacks, unauthorized access, and security breaches from trojans, viruses, and hackers. Cybersecurity extends to data on the internet and your personal (or business) systems.

With so many facets of cybersecurity and the ever-evolving nature of the internet, hackers, trojans, malware, etc., keeping up-to-date in this field is imperative. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 11 fantastic cybersecurity books for beginners. Whether you’re ready to pivot into the field or already work in it, these books will give you the knowledge needed to succeed.

11 Cybersecurity Books for Beginners

1. Cybersecurity For Dummies

Author: Joseph Steinberg

Rating: 4.5/5

Cybersecurity may be complicated, but this book makes it easier to understand.

Cybersecurity for Dummies is a great entry-level book that breaks down cybersecurity, what threats look like, and how you can protect yourself against them–whether it be shielding your family from cyber attacks or keeping your business information safe and secure.

It also gives you the knowledge you need to respond to threats and recover if a security breach occurs and provides information on how to pursue a cybersecurity career.

Topics Covered:

  • The basics of cybersecurity
  • Personal and business security
  • Dealing with a breach

Buy on Amazon

2. Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, 2nd Edition

Author: Jon Erickson

Rating: 4.7/5

When you think of cybersecurity , does hacking come to mind? Perhaps in a sense–cybersecurity is meant to protect against hacking–so why would we recommend this book?

Well, to understand what kinds of threats you may face, it’s good to get into the mind of a hacker and perform controlled hacks against your own software. While it may sound counterintuitive, it’s a great way to find vulnerabilities in your systems.

Topics Covered:

  • C programming, assembly languages, and shell scripts
  • Generalized exploitation techniques
  • DDoS, hijacking, and cryptology

Buy on Amazon

3. Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking

Author: Christopher Hadnagy

Rating: 4.6/5

Social engineering focuses on manipulating human fault (human nature and emotion) to gain access to secure digital spaces rather than using brute force, cunning, and coding.

This book breaks down the concept of social engineering and how it appears in present times. It also goes into the psychology of profiling, disguising, chameleoning, and influencing to ‘hack’ into systems through human social interaction.

Topics Covered:

  • Popular techniques that generally don’t work
  • How to use social engineering to protect your company
  • The science behind human emotions and decision-making

Buy on Amazon

4. Big Breaches: Cybersecurity Lessons for Everyone

Authors: Neil Daswani, Moudy Elbayadi

Rating: 4.8/5

This book breaks down several data breaches occurring in large companies, including Capital One, Equifax, and Facebook. It looks at the root cause of data breaches: phishing, malware, and software vulnerabilities.

Not only will you come out the other side with a more robust understanding of how data breaches happen, but you’ll also see lessons applied to the high-profile company examples that can make it easier to understand and recognize.

Topics Covered:

  • What causes data breaches and corporate examples
  • Habits and advice for highly effective security
  • Technology defenses for fighting breaches

Buy on Amazon

5. The Hacker Playbook 3: Practical Guide to Penetration Testing

Author: Peter Kim

Rating: 4.7/5

The Hacker Playbook is a comprehensive book featuring trade tools and real-world attacks, exposing you to different hacking methods and vulnerabilities. This 2018 iteration is the Red Team Edition, simulating real-world, advanced attacks against your organization.

The Red Team campaigns begin with objectives, and the book gives you everything you need to set up your external servers and begin the faux attack. It’s a hands-on learning tool that will drop you into an environment where you’ll learn by doing.

Topics Covered:

  • Why massive security breaches still happen
  • Core resources for protecting data
  • Evading AV and network detection

Buy on Amazon

6. Cybersecurity: The Beginner’s Guide

Author: Dr. Erdal Ozkaya

Rating: 4.7/5

This beginner’s guide to cybersecurity is excellent for any IT professional interested in learning more about cyber-attacks and threats. While it wouldn’t be the most accessible read for complete beginners in the field, those with a basic understanding of IT infrastructure will be able to follow and benefit from this book.

Topics Covered:

  • Why cybersecurity is so important
  • The evolution of cybersecurity
  • Understanding different types of security

Buy on Amazon

7. Cybersecurity Career Master Plan

Authors: Dr. Gerald Auger, Jaclyn “Jax” Scott

Rating: 4.7/5

This is a phenomenal book that’s appropriate for anybody to read. Who it will benefit most, however, are those looking to make a switch in their career to become an IT professional.

Its quirky table of contents gives an insight into the ease of access this book provides to anybody who picks it up. Whether you’re entirely new to cybersecurity or already know which career path to pursue, this book is excellent for helping you understand (and trust) the process.

Topics Covered:

  • Different cybersecurity career choices and what’s right for you
  • Education, training, and certification options
  • How to gain experience when you don’t have any

Buy on Amazon

8. Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started With Networking, Scripting, and Security in Kali

Author: OccupyTheWeb

Rating: 4.7/5

Linux Basics for Hackers teaches – you guessed it – the basics of Linux and how hackers would use them to cause security breaches in your systems. We’ve rated this book highly because it offers a tutorial-style guideline for advanced pentesting distribution of Linux and focuses on the basics to act as a building block for you on Kali Linux.

And when we say the basics, we mean it. You’ll begin by learning how to install Kali and review basic Linux concepts, then make your way to broader topics, ending with building your own hacking tools!

There’s even a bonus section at the end that will teach you about Python scripting basics for hackers.

Topics Covered:

  • The basics of Kali Linux: from commands to network management
  • Bash scripting – what it is, how it works, and common commands
  • How to use (and stress test) services such as MySQL

Buy on Amazon

9. Confident Cybersecurity : How to Get Started in Cybersecurity and Futureproof Your Career

Author: Dr. Jessica Barker

Rating: 4.6/5

This great read will take you from the basics of cybersecurity to technical and human limitations. It uses case studies from big names such as Disney and Taylor Swift to give you a clear picture of the fundamentals–and teach you how to protect your most important data.

Topics Covered:

  • What cybersecurity is and why it’s important
  • The technical and human elements of cybersecurity
  • Cybersecurity and your career: now and in the future

Buy on Amazon

10. Black Hat Python, 2ND Edition: Python Programming for Hackers and Pentesters

Authors: Justin Seitz, Tim Arnold

Rating: 4.7/5

This focused book is updated for Python 3. You should have the fundamentals of Python down (and ideally some experience with the programming language) before diving in, as you may have a hard time following otherwise.

However, this book is a fantastic, unique read once you’re ready to dive in. It focuses on the stealthier side of Python and how hackers build and use programmed tools to steal (or attempt to steal) your information.

Topics Covered:

  • How to write a sniffer
  • Automating common malware tasks
  • Using offensive forensics to detect vulnerabilities in your systems

Buy on Amazon

11. Gray Hat Hacking: The Ethical Hacker’s Handbook, Sixth Edition

Authors: Dr. Allen Harper, Ryan Linn

Rating: 5/5

Hats off to Gray Hat Hacking, one of the best cybersecurity books about the most up-to-date digital strategies used to attack networks around the globe. Published in 2022, this book features the latest weapons, skills, and tactics that hackers with ill-intent use to pry their way into secure data systems.

Topics Covered:

  • An introduction to Ghidra and creating projects
  • Ethical hacking, command and control, and threat hunting
  • Exploitations by OS and how to use them to test

Buy on Amazon

Learn Cybersecurity at Coding Dojo

Cybersecurity requires a lot of knowledge, but it’s a more critical field than ever, with many openings–and millions slated for the next few years. Starting your education in the area now is a great idea.

At Coding Dojo, we offer intensive training bootcamps to prepare you for a career in programming, IT, or data science in weeks to months–you’ve just got to put the work in.

Our Cybersecurity Bootcamp is part-time, giving you more flexibility to learn and grow as you strive to join this imperative industry.

Cybersecurity Books FAQ

What is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking is all about learning how to get unauthorized access to computer systems, applications, or other digital data. However, the difference with ethical hacking is that there is no malicious intent–in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

As hackers become increasingly advanced, discovering and building new techniques to gain access to secure systems, specialists need to learn how to protect themselves and their companies against these tactics–by understanding them.

Ethical hacking is performed to uncover vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems and networks to avoid data breaches caused by unethical hackers.

Are Cybersecurity Books Worth It?

Yes, absolutely! While cybersecurity is constantly changing, many fundamentals remain the same. Many of the cybersecurity books we’ve recommended go through the basics of cybersecurity and the tools you can use to combat malicious attacks.

While some books require updated versions every few years as cyber threats evolve, they still have solid fundamentals and will teach you various skills and techniques to combat breaches.

Where to Learn Cybersecurity?

Many online learning institutes offer various courses on cybersecurity .

At Coding Dojo, we offer an extensive, rigorous, Cybersecurity bootcamp that will truly prepare you for a career in cybersecurity – it’s perfect for go-getters like you who are ready to put in the work.

And, with a part-time schedule, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy balance to kickstart your career.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Cybersecurity ?

Our 24-week program will teach you everything from the core principles of cybersecurity to professional-grade tools and tips that you can immediately implement. But, keep in mind that once you enter the field, you should continue your education!

That’s where resources like these 11 recommended cybersecurity books for beginners play a vital role; stay up-to-date on the latest security threats and hacking techniques to keep your company’s data safe.