18 Best Cyber Security Books and Ethical Hacking Books in 2024

Today, the field of cybersecurity is flourishing at an incredible speed. This is opening doors to plenty of new job opportunities in the cybersecurity field. If you are interested in learning cybersecurity, a few books can help you in making your learning journey fruitful. This article on ethical hacking + cybersecurity books will take you through the best books for cybersecurity.  These books will introduce you to new ideas and help you solve your questions on cybersecurity.  

What Is Cybersecurity?

Before we get into the best cybersecurity books, let us give you a quick refresher on cybersecurity. Cybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting programs, networks, computer systems, and their components from unauthorized digital access and attacks. We term these attacks as cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks result in the loss and access to confidential data, loss of money, and reputation loss for organizations. Hence, it is crucial to prevent cyberattacks, and for that, implementing cybersecurity measures is a necessity.

What Is Ethical Hacking?

The Ethical hacking is the process in which a system's vulnerability is discovered and exploited. We carry this out with the motive of ensuring system security. 

We know individuals who perform ethical hacking as ethical hackers. Ethical hackers perform such hacking only with prior permission from the concerned authorities. Various hacking techniques and tools are used to carry out ethical hacking. 

Let us now take you through the list of the best cybersecurity books. 

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The Best Ethical Hacking + Cybersecurity Books

Here, we have formulated a list of the 10 best cybersecurity and ethical hacking books that will help learners. Let's get started:

1. Hacking: A Beginners’ Guide to Computer Hacking, Basic Security, And Penetration Testing

Author: John Slavio

  • This book on hacking is handy for beginners. It can help you take the first step in your ethical hacking career.
  • The topics covered in this book are the history of hacking, types of hackers, various types of hacking attacks, essential hacking tools and software, and hiding IP addresses. 
  • It also speaks about mobile hacking, hacking an email address, penetration testing, and spoofing attacks. 

2. Hacking: The Art Of Exploitation

Author: Jon Erickson 

  • This world-famous hacking book has two editions, one which was published in 2003 and the other in 2008. 
  • It focuses on network security and computer security. The second edition of this book introduces you to C programming from a hacker's perspective. Here, you will learn to program computers using C and shell scripts.
  • Out of the many concepts in this book, you will also learn to hijack TCP connections, Crack encrypted wireless traffic, and speed up brute-force attacks. 

3. Metasploit: The Penetration Tester’s Guide

Authors: David Kennedy, Jim O'Gorman, Devon Kearns, and Mati Aharoni

  • A Metasploit framework is a vital tool used by hackers for discovering and exploiting vulnerabilities. However, for first-time users, it can be a little challenging. Hence, this book will teach you all about Metasploit.
  • In this book, you'll learn the framework's interfaces, module system, advanced penetration testing techniques, which include network reconnaissance, client-side attacks, wireless attacks, and targeted social-engineering attacks.
  • Here, you will also learn to Integrate NeXpose, Nmap, and Nessus with Metasploit to automate discovery. 

You will learn plenty of hacking skills in this ethical hacking book.

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Become a Certified Ethical Hacker!

4. Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking 

Author: Georgia Weidman

  • This cyber security book throws an insight into penetration testing. Penetration testers discover security weaknesses in operating systems, networks, and applications. 
  • This book focuses on the core skills and techniques a penetration tester requires. Here, you'll be acquainted with the prime stages of an actual assessment, which includes gathering information, unraveling vulnerabilities, gaining access to networks, and so on. 
  • In addition to the above, you will learn to crack passwords, bypass antivirus software, automate attacks, and you will also learn to use the Metasploit framework for launching exploits and for writing your Metasploit modules out of the many other teachings. 

5. The Hacker Playbook 3: Practical Guide To Penetration Testing

Author: Peter Kim

  • This is the third iteration of the THP - The Hacker Playbook Series. It brings new strategies, attacks, exploits, and tips. Besides all the new concepts, it highlights a few techniques from the previous versions. 
  • The Hacker Playbook 3 - Red Team Edition acquaints you with the Red Team. Red Teams simulate real-world, advanced attacks to test your organization's defensive teams. 
  • Reading this will help you advance your offensive hacking skills and attack paths. In addition to that, it also focuses on real-world attacks, exploitation, custom malware, persistence, and more. 

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

Authors: Michael Sikorski, Andrew Honig

  • Malware is malicious software that hackers often use to exploit system vulnerabilities. This book on Practical Malware Analysis teaches about the tools and techniques used by cyber security analysts
  • This book will guide you to analyze, debug, and disassemble malicious software. 
  • Here, you will also learn to set up a safe virtual environment to analyze malware, how to crack open malware, gauge the damage it has done, clean your network, and verify that the malware never comes back.

7. Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking

Author: Christopher Hadnagy

  • Social engineering depends on human errors to gain access to confidential information. Systems can be protected, but we can use no code that can be certain to help protect data when it is a human being.  
  • This book depicts the most commonly used social engineering methods and shows how they were being used in the past. 
  • Here, you will learn to examine the common social engineering tricks, analyze how social engineers can use emotions, adopt fruitful counter-measures to prevent hacking, and many more. 

8. Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C

Authors: Bruce Schneier

  • This cyber security book provides a comprehensive survey of modern cryptography
  • It defines how professionals can use cryptography to encipher and decipher messages.
  • It consists of several cryptography algorithms and shows how to solve security problems.

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9. Black Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Pentesters 

Author: Justin Seitz 

  • Many exploit frameworks are written in Python; here, using GitHub, you will learn to create a trojan command-and-control, detect sandboxing, and automate common malware tasks.
  • In this book, you'll go through the darker side of Python's capabilities, like infecting virtual machines, writing network sniffers, creating stealthy trojans, etc. 
  • This book covers a few networking fundamentals, web applications, windows privilege escalation tricks, and more.

10. The Web Application Hacker's Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws

Author: Dafydd Stuttard and Marcus Pinto 

  • The second edition of this book focuses on updated Web applications, exposing them to attacks and executing fraudulent transactions. 
  • It speaks about the latest step-by-step methods for attacking and defending the extensive range of ever-evolving Web applications. It also discusses new remoting frameworks, HTML5, UI redress, and hybrid file attacks, to name a few.  
  • In addition to the above, the other concepts are Attacking Authentication, Attacking the Application Server, Finding Vulnerabilities in Source Code, etc. 

11. Hacking: Computer Hacking, Security Testing, Penetration Testing, and Basic Security

Author: John Slavio

Price: $19.99

Hacking can be a real threat to anyone. The only way to protect yourself from hacking is to learn how to hack. This book contains all the basic principles of hacking as well as the intricate techniques and methods that you can use to hack. It uses simple tech language that beginners can understand, without leaving out any of the complex details that are required for hacking.

The language of this ethical hacking book is simple enough for beginners to understand, while not omitting any of the intricate details necessary for engaging in computer hacking activity. 

12. Computer Hacking Beginners Guide

Author: Alan T. Norman

Price: $7.95

This book is perfect for beginners learning how to make their first-ever hack. It contains all the different techniques and tools used by both criminal and ethical hackers. You will learn all about how information security can be compromised and how you can identify attacks in any system. You will also learn about spoofing techniques, WiFi hacking, email hacking, along with lots of tips for ethical hacking. 

13. Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas From The Computer Age

Author: Paul Graham

Price: $10.39

Using thoughtful prose and historical examples, Graham takes his readers on an exploration called "an intellectual Wild West" where he explains the technological world and the motivations of the people in it. You will get to learn about hackers, what motivates them to hack, and why you should care. There are so many other ideas discussed in this book including the importance of beauty in software design, making wealth, free speech, the open-source movement, internet startups, the programming language renaissance, digital design, and lots more.

14. Advanced Penetration Testing: Hacking the World’s Most Secure Networks

Author: Wil Allsopp

Price: $23.10

This book is written by a top security expert, Wil Allsopp, who has performed hacking and penetration testing for Fortune 100 companies worldwide. It contains a number of advanced hacking techniques for high-security environments. The book also includes provides a complex and highly realistic attack simulation using Kali Linux and Metasploit examples. You will also learn how to infiltrate deep into operating systems and networks using harvested credentials.

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15. The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware

Author: Andrew Bunnie Huang

Price: $19.65

The Hardware Hacker is a key resource for all aspiring hackers. It contains a collection of personal essays and interviews on topics such as the legality of reverse engineering, law, intellectual property practices between China and the United States, and lots more. It contains highly detailed passages on manufacturing and provides a comprehensive take on the issues that comes with open-source hardware. 

16. BackTrack 5 Wireless Penetration Testing Beginner’s Guide

Author: Vivek Ramachandran

Price: $41.50

This book is written for beginners to easily grasp the concepts and understand the techniques of wireless attacks. Every attack is described using rich illustrations and steps in the form of a lab exercise. This book assumes familiarity with Backtrack and basic wireless concepts. So if you are an IT professional or a security consultant with some knowledge of Backtrack, then this book is for you. 

17. Gray Hat Hacking: The Ethical Hacker’s Handbook 

Authors: Allen Harper, Ryan Linn, Stephen Sims, Michael Baucom, Huascar Tejeda, Daniel Fernandez, Moses Frost 

Price: $58.70

This book provides you with step-by-step methods on how to fortify computer networks using effective ethical hacking techniques. It features actionable planning and analysis methods for identifying a hacker’s devious weapons, skills, and tactics and to combat them using field-tested remedies, testing labs, and case studies. You will get complete coverage of malware analysis, penetration testing, and reverse engineering techniques. 

Become a Certified Ethical Hacker!

CEH v12 - Certified Ethical Hacking CourseExplore Program
Become a Certified Ethical Hacker!

18. Mastering Hacking (The Art of Information Gathering & Scanning)

Author: Harsh Bothra

Price: $11.95

This book provides a simplified approach to hacking aimed at both technical and non-technical readers. You will learn all about the latest tools and techniques of the modern Penetration Testing Framework, discover vulnerabilities, patch vulnerabilities, and protect assets over the network. The book also includes in-depth real-life applications of various hacking techniques and acts as a handbook for your concrete step in information security.

Those were the list of the best cybersecurity books. 

Learn the types of attacks on a system, the techniques used, and more with the Certified Ethical Hacking Course. Enroll now!


In this article, you have seen an overview of the best cyber security books. There are more books out there that can help you with your learning journey in cybersecurity. You can also look at the Cyber Security Expert master’s program provided by Simplilearn; this will acquaint you with all the necessary skills to become a cybersecurity expert.

Do you have any questions for us regarding 'The Best Cyber security Books '? Please drop them in the comment section of this article. Qualified experts from our team will get back to you as quickly as possible. 

About the Author

Sruthi VeeraraghavanSruthi Veeraraghavan

Sruthi is a content writer for Simplilearn, with brief prior experience in marketing, journalistic reporting, photography, editing, designing, video-making, and event management. Apart from media and communication, she also has a psychology and literature background. She is a musician and pursues theater acting in her free time, if not traveling on impromptu trips.

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