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I’ve been reading  couple of security-oriented books lately, and liked them enough to talk a little about them here.  They are very different, but that’s fine for me as they fit well with my reading habits:

Habit 1: Early to bed…

The Alexandria ProjectOK, so I don’t go to bed early, but I do read before I go to sleep each night.  When choosing what to read, I have a rule:  only read fiction before going to sleep since that helps me relax.

The last week or so I’ve been reading an information security-oriented novel on my Kindle called, “The Alexandria Project: A Tale of Treachery and Technology,” by Andrew Updegrove.  This is a very engaging story about a series of cyber-attacks against government computing systems, which grows into a lot more than that.  You’ll follow the cyber-detective work of Frank Adversego, who gets caught in the middle of everything and has to dodge the FBI, CIA and other 3-letter agencies to figure out who’s perpetrating the attacks and why.

The book is a fun read, and contains some good technology references in it without making you want to roll your eyes.  I got a big kick out of some of the character names, too – keep your eyes peeled for some hidden humor in this regard.

If you’re looking for a good bit of suspense that has decent infosec underpinnings, you’ll enjoy this book.

Habit 2: Early to rise…

America the vulnerable cover

Yeah, yeah, yeah… so I don’t get up that early all the time either.  But when I get up in the morning, it’s usually time for some serious reading.  My latest business-related read is “America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare” by Joel Brenner.  The author has a lot of first-hand experience working with the NSA, and it shows in this book.

“America the Vulnerable” is a very thought-provoking book, and it really got my head working on different scenarios around protection of data, trade secrets, and other essential elements of business.  If you aren’t paranoid now, you will be after reading this book – but I think you’ll find that you’ll be in the frame of mind to channel that paranoia into providing better security, and looking at threats and vulnerabilities in a very productive way.

Brenner’s analysis of the threat environment is very good and, while I don’t agree with all of his recommendations, they got me to think outside my usual box by encouraging me to think about some of the security issues we face in a more holistic way.

In particular, the threats from other nation-states is changing the threat environment quickly – and the rise of organized attacks from criminal organizations is accelerating things even further.

Reading is fundamental

If you’re a reader like me, I think these two books are great reads.  You can easily fit them into your mood, whether serious or casual.

If you read them, I’d love to hear your impressions.