The future is bright … except when it’s dark. Technology is simultaneously a blessing and a curse — for every convenience it grants us, it drops a bomb squarely in our laps (perhaps literally, as the increasing power of technology makes way for cyberwarfare). But before you throw your hands up in surrender and disappear to a remote cabin in the woods, know that the best weapon in our arsenal is knowledge. If we understand everything that’s at stake and locate the areas in which we are vulnerable, we can better defend ourselves, our companies and our nation against cyberattacks.

To the average citizen, cybersecurity may seem like a task that only concerns the tech industry, but it’s important for everyone in this hyper-connected digital age of ours to have at least some understanding of the subject. Here, we’ve gathered a list of titles that explore the threat technology poses and suggest defensive measures. You don’t even need to be a tech wizard to understand! From practical guides and new techniques aimed at industry professionals to broader introductions geared toward tech novices, this list opens the world of cybersecurity to every reader.

'Tools and Weapons' by Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne

“Since the dawn of time, any tool can be used for good or ill. Even a broom can be used to sweep the floor or hit someone over the head,” but in the digital age, our tools can pack a punch far more dangerous than some straw fastened to the end of a stick ever could. In "Tools and Weapons," Microsoft President Brad Smith and co-author Carol Ann Browne, Microsoft’s chief of staff and executive communications, explore the dual nature of technology. With great power comes great responsibility, and this book acknowledges the delicate balancing act between the tech industry’s penchant for rapid growth and the need to protect ourselves from its threatening side effects. With a foreword written by Bill Gates, the book tackles issues of privacy, cyberattacks, social media and the ethical landmine that artificial intelligence presents, offering a gripping guide for navigating our digital future.

'The Fifth Domain' by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake

The internet has become a weapon, and although that statement may sound like an irresistible tagline for the next blockbuster thriller, it’s an undeniable and alarming truth we all must confront nowadays. Venture into “the fifth domain” — the Pentagon’s term for cyberspace — alongside Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake, two of the world’s leading experts on security, cyberspace and terrorism. In this book, the authors approach the topic of cyberdefense on multiple levels — national, corporational and personal. The battlefield may be composed of invisible ones and zeroes, but attacks in cyberspace have consequences in the real world, and everyone has a role to play in avoiding cyberwar and preventing cybercrime. Here, Clarke and Knake offer readers an inside look at today’s cyber-landscape, examining previous attacks with a keen eye for detail to determine appropriate improvements and next steps.

'Cyberjutsu' by Ben McCarty

With cyberattacks like those impacting the customers of Home Depot, Staples, Target and Equifax in recent years, or larger attacks threatening national security as the SolarWinds software breach did just this past December, our digital lives depend on cybersecurity now more than ever. Writing for a rapidly growing workforce of specialists tasked with protecting network security, the former National Security Agency developer and the U.S. Army’s first cyberwarfare specialist, Ben McCarty, draws inspiration from the training methods of feudal Japan’s legendary ninjas to offer a fresh perspective on the topic of cybersecurity in Cyberjutsu. Don’t let its whimsical title fool you; this book is a practical and prescient compendium of cybersecurity concepts that lends itself to anyone considering a career in this expanding field along with organizational leaders seeking to level up their plan of attack with ninja-fueled tactics, techniques and procedures. 

'Tribe of Hackers' by Marcus J. Carey and Jennifer Jin

In the vein of Timothy Ferriss’s "Tribe of Mentors," Marcus J. Carey and Jennifer Jin share interviews with the best hackers and leaders in cybersecurity, arming the burgeoning world of cybersecurity professionals with the insight, experience and recommendations of 70 industry members. An invaluable resource for anyone entering the cybersecurity field, "Tribe of Hackers" allows readers to get to know each of these professionals through the book itself as they dive into the wealth of expertise the interviews provide. Additionally, readers are granted instant access to the larger cybersecurity community through the interactive sphere of social media platforms — and the well of knowledge goes even deeper than that! Carey and Jin have written three more books in this series for readers who are ready to dive into more nuanced advice from experts on security leadership, defensive cybersecurity and offensive cybersecurity.

'Click Here to Kill Everybody' by Bruce Schneier

The weapon we call the internet gets deadlier by the day. Widespread automation means our computers aren’t the only vulnerable technology we use. More and more of our physical landscape has become part of the world wide web — our cars, medical equipment, etc. — and this presents new avenues through which cybercriminals can wreak havoc on our lives. In this book, Bruce Schneier explores the risks and security implications that this new, hyper-connected era has wrought. He explains how we’ve ended up in this position, outlining the consequences that the internet’s increasing power has on the physical world. Then, Schneier offers potential solutions to these growing risks, touching on possible policy and legislative action. An excellent guide to understanding the importance of cybersecurity in contemporary society, "Click Here to Kill Everybody" is a manual for constructing a more secure future that every internet user should read.

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