17 Best Cybersecurity Books: Ethical Hacking, Malware, and More (2021 List)

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Cybersecurity is a super in-demand and well-paid field with lots of job opportunities available. But I won’t spend too much time on that in this cybersecurity books post! To learn about what cybersecurity is, career opportunities, courses, etc., head to my Cybersecurity in 2021 post.

In this article, we’ll be covering 17 of the best cybersecurity books — whether you’re just starting out or want to brush up on cybersecurity concepts. We’ll cover ethical hacking books, website security books, malware books, Comptia A+ books, and other must-read books for cybersecurity.

17 Best Cybersecurity Books

Let’s dive into some of the best cybersecurity books on the market. While you won’t find any free cybersecurity books on the list, you’ll find that most of these cybersecurity books are in the $15-$30 range—a lot more affordable than your college textbooks!

Looking for a programming book instead? Here’s 54 of the best programming books to choose from.

Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for some of the resources mentioned in this article. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!

1. Software Security: Building Security In

Author: Gary McGraw

amazon software security book

Teaches you how to put software security into practice. Includes detailed explanations of risk management frameworks and processes, code review using static analysis tools, penetration testing, security testing, abuse case development, and more.

One reviewer says: “This book drills-down to security in coding and testing practices and how to avoid security related bugs and vulnerabilities. The concepts illustrated on secure coding, white box and black box testing are excellent.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

2. Practical Malware Analysis: The Hands-On Guide to Dissecting Malicious Software

Author: Michael Sikorski

amazon practical malware analysis book

This awesome malware book teaches you the tools and techniques used by professional analysts to debug and disassemble malicious software. Includes hands-on labs to help you learn important concepts. Topics covered include: how to set up a safe virtual environment to analyze malware, how to overcome malware tricks like obfuscation and anti-disassembly, how to develop a methodology for unpacking malware, and much more.

One reviewer says: “Very comprehensive book on all things malware. Various malware/anti-malware tools explored. Labs are in the back of the chapters and the lab answers are in the back of the book. The book covers theory and hands-on application. Includes anti-debugging and anti-disassembly techniques. Great all around.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

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3. Learn Ethical Hacking from Scratch: Your stepping stone to penetration testing

Author: Zaid Sabih

amazon learn ethical hacking from scratch book

This ethical hacking book starts with the basics of ethical hacking, how to do it safely and legally through a penetration testing lab, and how to install the Linux terminal. Also covers network hacking, how to gain access to remote computer systems using client-side and server-side attacks, web application hacking techniques, XSS and SQL injections, and much more.

One reviewer says: “I cannot stress enough how good the author is at conveying ideas to beginners to give them a VERY good basis for entering the pentesting/cracking (white hat) realm.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

4. Alice and Bob Learn Application Security

Author: Tanya Janca

amazon alice and bob learn application security book

Covers application security concepts like threat modeling, security testing, and securing modern software systems and architectures. The cybersecurity book makes complicated subjects easier to understand by including stories of the characters Alice and Bob to illustrate concepts, incorporating real-life examples, and giving explanations and diagrams for technical topics. 

One reviewer says: “The book is both a crash course for newbies as well as a refresher for those that have been doing the job for a few years.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

5. CompTIA Security+ Guide to Network Security Fundamentals

Author: Mark Ciampa

amazon comptia security+ guide book

This Comptia book helps you prepare for the CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 Certification Exam. Covers the fundamentals of network and computer security, embedded device and Internet of Things (IoT) security, and cloud and virtualization security. Includes practical, hands-on projects, case activities and online virtual labs to help you learn. Recently updated on December 16, 2020.

🛒 Get it on Amazon

6. Web Application Security: Exploitation and Countermeasures for Modern Web Applications

Author: Andrew Hoffman

amazon web application security book

This software security book was written by a senior security engineer at Salesforce. It gives an intro to three pillars of web application security: recon, offense, and defense. You’ll learn how to break into web applications using the latest hacking techniques from hackers and bug bounty hunters, how to develop mitigations for use in your own web applications to protect against hackers, and secure coding best practices.

One reviewer says: “I’ve attempted to read a few security books in the past, but this one kept my attention due to its practical nature. It’s not heavy on jargon and reads smoothly.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

7. Cybersecurity For Dummies

Author: Joseph Steinberg

amazon cybersecurity for dummies book

The classic “For Dummies” line is great for beginners, and this one introduces you to the basics of becoming cyber-secure. You’ll learn about various threats that exist and how to identify, detect, and protect against these threats, including how to recover if you’ve been breached. Also covers cybersecurity careers.

One reviewer says: “The info is very easy to understand, make sense of, and put to immediate practical use.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

8. Cybersecurity: The Beginner’s Guide: A comprehensive guide to getting started in cybersecurity

Author: Dr. Erdal Ozkaya

amazon cybersecurity beginners guide book

This book covers the fundamentals of cybersecurity, how artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping to secure systems, the skills and tools you need to know to work in cybersecurity, and how to think like an attacker. Also dives into how to build practice labs, real-world use cases, and the various cybersecurity certifications that are available.

One reviewer says: “This book contains detailed information covering many topics of interest to someone considering a career in cyber security. The historical introduction to the concept is very engaging, and the section on certifications is particularly useful.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

9. Hackable: How to Do Application Security Right

Author: Ted Harrington

amazon hackable book

In this book, you’ll learn how to eradicate security vulnerabilities, establish a threat model, and build security into the development process to help you build better, more secure products. It also touches on how to turn security into a competitive advantage.

One reviewer says: “This book contains a wealth of helpful and informative information! It’s a lifesaver and a must read for anyone in the field of application security. I’ve been looking for a book that covers this subject in detail for a long time and this book finally checks all of the boxes! It’s an easy read and hard to put it down!”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

10. 24 Deadly Sins of Software Security: Programming Flaws and How to Fix Them

Author: Michael Howard

amazon 24 deadly sins of software security book

Reveals the 24 most common design and coding errors and explains how to fix each one (or avoid them from the start). Covers how to eliminate security flaws from your code, such as SQL injection, web server- and client-related vulnerabilities, use of magic URLs, predictable cookies, and hidden form fields, buffer overruns, format string problems, and more.

One reviewer says: “This book covers multiple common types of security vulnerability, explaining what, why and how and giving examples of the problems and ways to mitigate / avoid them in multiple languages. More importantly, it gets you thinking about these important issues and about the quality of your code in general.” 

🛒 Get it on Amazon

11. The Pentester BluePrint: Starting a Career as an Ethical Hacker

Author: Phillip L. Wylie

amazon pentester blueprint ethical hacker book

This ethical hacking book walks you through how to make a career out of finding vulnerabilities in systems, networks, and applications. You’ll learn about the role of a penetration tester, the skills you need to know, and concrete advice on how to become employed as one. Best for IT workers and entry-level information security professionals.

One reviewer says: “If you have ever been curious about pentesting, or cyber security in general, I recommend giving this book a read. The authors do a great job defining terms, providing resources, and helping anyone take their first step into a career in penetration testing.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

12. Cybersecurity – Attack and Defense Strategies

Authors: Yuri Diogenes, Erdal Ozkaya

amazon cybersecurity attack defense strategies book

A guide to developing defense strategies against the latest threats to cybersecurity.  Takes you into the mindset of a Threat Actor to help you better understand the motivation and the steps of performing an actual cyber attack. Also covers how to identify different types of cyberattacks, how to perform log analysis using the cloud to identify suspicious activities, the cyber security kill chain, and more. 

One reviewer says: “This book contains the essential knowledge for anyone who is interested in learning or pursuing a career in the field of cybersecurity. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional within the industry, this is a must-have book for all.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

13. The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity

Author: Christian Espinosa

amazon smartest person cybersecurity book

Instead of delving into the technical aspects of cybersecurity, this cybersecurity book covers how to develop people skills in the field, including the importance of having emotional intelligence. 

One reviewer says: “This book nails what any cybersecurity professional needs to know. It’s not all computers and code. You have to delve into the human element. It is well written, easy to read and understand, and doesn’t read like a dry cicso book. The information covers both practical examples as well as the human psychology behind it.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

14. Cybersecurity Essentials

Author: Charles J. Brooks

amazon cybersecurity essentials book

Provides a comprehensive introduction to the cybersecurity field. Covers essential topics required for entry-level cybersecurity certifications, including these four distinct challenges: securing the infrastructure, securing devices, securing local networks, and securing the perimeter. Includes summaries of key concepts, review questions, and hands-on exercises.

One reviewer says: “This book on cybersecurity is excellent. It touches so many topics that are current and relevant in today’s electronic world. This is not a light read by any means, but it is something that people who deal with technology should read.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

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15. The Art of Memory Forensics: Detecting Malware and Threats in Windows, Linux, and Mac Memory

Authors: Michael Hale Ligh, Andrew Case, Aaron Walters

amazon art of memory forensics book

Memory forensics is the art of analyzing computer memory (RAM) to solve digital crimes. This malware book focuses on performing memory forensics for Windows, Linux, and Mac systems, including x64 architectures. The companion website provides exercises for each chapter.

One reviewer says: “The best technical book on the subject of memory forensics to date. There are things in here that I can use immediately in my role as incident response.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

16. Effective Cybersecurity: A Guide to Using Best Practices and Standards

Author: William Stallings

amazon effective cybersecurity guide book

Comprehensive explanations of best practices and standards for implementing cybersecurity. The cybersecurity book covers security planning, security management, and security evaluation. Includes clear learning objectives, keyword lists, and glossaries of QR codes linking to relevant standards documents and web resources. Note: Requires a basic understanding of cryptographic terminology and applications.

One reviewer says: “Excellent book on so many levels. I referred to it a number of times while working on business security programs and while trying to explain concepts to non-Security IT people or management.”

🛒 Get it on Amazon

17. Cybersecurity for Beginners

Author: Raef Meeuwisse

amazon cybersecurity for beginners book

Great intro book to the essentials of cybersecurity. It’s a good place to start for those with a non-technical background, as it features a glossary that helps translate cybersecurity terms into plain English. 

One reviewer says: “This book covers quite a bit of ground: from fundamental security concepts to more advanced and technical topics. For a non-practitioner with an interest in security, this is the perfect introduction. It gives them the fundamentals supported by real-world evidence of why they matter.” 

🛒 Get it on Amazon

Time to Build In-Demand Skills with Cybersecurity Books

With the help of the best cybersecurity books on the market, you can either kickstart a career in cybersecurity or develop skills that can give you a competitive advantage in almost any field. Even if you’re just reading cybersecurity books to beef up your own computer security skills, more knowledge is never a bad thing.

Want to learn more? Check out this post on how to pursue a career in cybersecurity, plus resources and courses to kick your skills up a notch.