Hacking the Hacker Book Review

A review of the book - Hacking the Hacker. Think Masterminds of Programming but for the security field!
ISC2 Security Review Book
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Hacking the Hacker

It was the title Hacking the Hacker that originally stole my click on Amazon but after reading the blurb I quickly realised it was not quite the hacking that originally sprung to mind.

Taken from the back cover - “MEET THE ROCK STARS OF CYBERSECURITY”

Reading names like Bruce Schneier and Kevin Mitnick on the back, and having (ISC)² on the cover, I decided there’s no harm in hitting the buy now button and continued to spend the next few weeks of my commute alternating between the technique and profile chapters.

The book reminded me of Masterminds of Programming, an O’Reilly book that I thoroughly enjoyed a few years back, and subsequently re-ignited my passion for programming. Whereas Masterminds of Programming focussed on pure interviews, this book is divided into chapters that alternate between a summary of a particular technique, and then a profile/interview with the experts in that particular field.

At 320 pages the book manages to cover a lot of ground and should provide newcomers substantial food for thought, seasoned security professionals, on the other hand, may find themselves skipping the summaries and instead focussing more on the profiles, however, the chapters are not that long and are good for refreshing your memory.

I enjoyed reading the human side of the “Rock Star” names you see daily on Twitter, news feeds and blogs, plus the informal tone of the book made for easy reading, a nice break from the often bland tone of most security related publications.

I particularly liked the guide for parents with young hackers, having that to look forward to, it got me thinking about how I might address the issue if, or more accurately, when it happens….

My only gripe was that I wanted some of the interviews to cover more ground. I think there’s definitely scope for a book similar to Masterminds of Programming as I’m almost certain that most security professionals will have a story or two to tell outside of any existing publications they may have written.

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