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70+ hacking books to level up your skills and thinking

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We all crave more time to spend it on the things we enjoy, like reading a good (security) book. Maybe you've missed on some great releases from recent years or maybe you've been overwhelmed with how many great ones there are.

Whatever brought you here, your next great read might just be on this list (which we keep updated with new great finds!).

Ethical hacking books

Whether you’re a n00b or just want to brush up on your ethical hacking skills, these books cover everything from web app security to pentesting tools, techniques, and career tips. 

Here are ten ethical hacking books to start with - listed in no particular order:

Cybersecurity mindset books

Why people do the things they do in cybersecurity is just as it important as how these things happen, when, and what they impact.

This selection of books focuses on helping you build and develop your own mindset as a cybersecurity practitioner - through real-life stories and experiences. They might just inspire you to become a better specialist (and human being). 

Social engineering books

Behind it all, cybersecurity is made up of people hacking other people. Technology is how this happens.

That's why social engineering is always part of the mix, whether we're talking about threat actors or ethical hackers trying to support their colleagues to develop stronger cybersecurity skills.

There are some truly fantastic books in this category which pack captivating stories which will likely keep you digging deeper down the rabbit hole!

OSINT (Open source intelligence) books

If your main focus is to take your OSINT skills to the next level, go through this selection of books, which will satisfy your curiosity and/or add jet fuel to it. 

These OSINT books break down key techniques and strategies for gathering, analyzing, and using open-source data in creative and helpful ways. 

Penetration testing books

Our bread and butter, penetration testing is one of the most misunderstood and most undervalued practices of the security world.

These books do it justice and these veteran pentesters give it their all to help pave a better, clearer path forward for those who want to get into it and make a dent.

From starting a career in penetration testing to learning about physical pentesting, and defining your contribution to this practice, these pentesting books have plenty of wisdom to soak up.

Network security books

Technical walkthroughs, riveting stories, and easter eggs are all densely packed into these books.

It's probably the most exciting time to learn or deepen your knowledge of network security, and these books provide! It makes it even more exciting to know these authors are some of the OGs of netsec.

Bug bounty books

Books are probably not the first thing you have in mind for becoming a stronger bug bounty hunter, but maybe that's what makes them particularly interesting.

Taking a page from Sparc Flow's or Peter Yaworski's books might be just what you need to broaden your skillset, toolset, and mindset.  

Cybercrime books

The technicalities and intricacies of ethical hacking are just as captivating as the real-world changes they provoke.

Offensive security is a particularly strong driver of change in our world.

The smarter the attacker and the more widespread the vulnerability, the more pressure on vendors to make safer software - and the environment people work in - safer.

These books on cybercrime offer far-reaching insights into game-changing vulnerabilities and apply expert analysis to topics whose ramifications can be jaw-dropping. 

From investigations into notorious vulnerabilities (like Stuxnet) to impactful cyberwar tactics (like the Lazarus heist), these books urge us to dig deeper for answering tough questions about the role of technology in our lives. 

How books can cultivate your hacker mindset

Books are excellent teachers.

They create space for us to think, they help us see how the puzzle pieces connect, and they inspire us to broaden our perspective beyond what we thought we were capable of. 

They also provide in-depth ethical hacking knowledge and real-life examples that capture nuance and details social media just can't fit. They encourage us to think more creatively about how we can use our knowledge and skills to hack the world and make it better.

And what’s even better is to see what happens when actually apply what we learn from them.  

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