Book Reviews: Information Security Books and Product Reviews – Cyber Security Essentials

Book Title:  Cyber Security Essentials

Author(s): James Graham, Ryan Olson, Rick Howard

Publisher:  Auerbach Publications

Date of Publishing: 15th December 2010

ISBN: 9781439851234

Price:   £44.00 (Paperback)

URL of Publisher Site:  CRCPRESS

URL of Amazon UK web page: Cyber Security Essentials

URL of Amazon US web page: Cyber Security Essentials

URL of Amazon US (Kindle) web page: Cyber Security Essentials

I found Cyber Security Essentials an easy book to read and one that is initially likely to appeal to security professionals and inexperienced readers alike.The authors (of which there are three) have not made the mistake of lacing the book with too much technical jargon, thus making it potentially appeal to a much wider audience from the security novice to the expert, and some pains have been taken to ensure the main building blocks of cyber security are included in the contents, which are considered to be both wide-ranging and reasonably current. Where they have perhaps failed in this book is in providing ‘enough’ detail to substantiate the cost of the book to ensure the reader gets value for money. Whilst a good attempt has been made to render the book easy-to-read, there is the danger that readers may come to the conclusion the book does not go deep enough, especially when considering the price required to purchase what is, after all, a paperback.Notwithstanding, the book does include a wide range of security concepts and the subject matter is tackled in a simple, structured format.By structuring the book in this way (making it easy to digest), however, it does mean that the explanations are somewhat ‘light’ in detail and this aspect may deter those with more knowledge and experience than the security novice from seeking to read it and adding it to their bookshelf. This is partly because the information contained within can easily be found elsewhere with the minimum of effort. The book then essentially provides an ‘introduction’ to the ‘subject’ of Cyber Security. It covers the main concepts involved in identifying potential threats, vulnerabilities and the procedures necessary to combat them, but does not provide a comprehensive, detailed description on the subject of Cyber Security. The subject content does provide an overview of current threats and trends, which, as outlined above, are broken down and explained in simple terms, including the issue of program code exploits (reasonable details provided on this). Diagrams are used well, enhancing the reader’s understanding of the subject matter and relevant references are provided where necessary.

Cyber Security, by its very nature, tends to be technical, and explaining technical concepts to the business can often be challenging. This book aims to help in this area by removing the technical jargon as far as possible and substituting these with simple terms to explain technical aspects. Does it work? Well, almost; like many other complicated subjects where the author tries to make the topics accessible to the layman, some of the important stuff gets lost in translation!

Cyber Security Essentials provides an ‘overview’ of the subject in an easy-to-read style, which is sure to appeal to a wide audience. However, those looking for specific details of how to identify and manage Cyber Security threats and vulnerabilities will be left disappointed.

The book should be considered as a starting point providing the reader with a sufficient grasp of the subject to be able to discuss, consider and engage with others. What it fails to do is provide sufficient information that would enable the reader to tackle the subject without additional experience and/or information.

Marks: 3 out of 5