Books and Reading

Book Lists

Essential Desk Reference

  • RTFM: Red Team Field Manual - Ben Clark
    • One of the few books that stay on my desk and never go back to the bookshelf. Absolute gold if you are like me and cannot remember every single command ever written.
  • BFTM: Blue Team Field Manuel - Ben Clark
    • Counterpart to the RTFM, this book still provides great context for both offense and defense.
  • PTFM: Purple Team Field Manual - Tim Bryant
    • It is essential that attackers and defenders know each others methodology and how to counter it. This book helps put this into perspective.
  • Operator Handbook - Netmux
    • Similar style to the field manual series with tons of various other references, command lists and lookup tables. Beyond handy.
  • Cyber Operations - Mike O'Leary
    • The biggest friggin book I own. It is dense with references and information on just about every aspect of Cyber. Quite handy for installing and managing specific tools.

Blue Team/Security Analysis

  • BFTM: Blue Team Field Manuel - Ben Clark
    • Counterpart to the RTFM, this book still provides great context for both offense and defense.
  • Blue Team Handbook: Incident Response Edition (BTHb: INRE)- Murdoch
    • Like the above but with more details on processes and documentation for proper incidence response. Must have for anyone in IR or defensive consulting roles.
  • Blue Team Handbook: SOC, SIEM, and Threat Hunting Use Cases - Murdoch
  • Offensive Countermeasures: The Art of Active Defense by John Strand -
    • This is THE guide for active defense. Short, detailed, and full of both tools and theory.
  • Crafting the InfoSec Playbook - Jeff Bollinger
    • Written by members of the Cisco CSIRT team, this is a wealth of knowledge for processes and procedures for IR teams, defenders, and anyone in security operations.
  • Tribe of Hackers Series - Marcus J. Carey
    • While focusing on the Blue Team edition for this section, this is an incredible collection of thoughts and opinions on different aspects of defensive operations by some of the biggest names in our industry.
  • Applied Network Security Monitoring - Chris Sanders and Jason Smith
  • Threat Hunting with Elastic Stack - Andrew Pease
    • While the technical content is focused on Elastic Stack, it is chocked full of threat hunting theory. Well worth it even if you use a different SIEM.
  • Defensive Security Handbook - Brotherston and Berlin
    • Covers many tasks and operations needed to sucessfully run a SOC. Also covers many hardening topics for various network devices.
  • Security Engineering: A guide to building dependable distributed systems - Anderson
    • Third Edition -
  • The Art of Monitoring - J. Turnbull
  • Practice of Network Security Monitoring - Bejtlich
  • Practical Packet Analysis - Sanders
  • Logging and Log management - Chavakin
  • DNS Security: Defending the DNS - Liska

Penetration Testing

  • RTFM: Red Team Field Manual - Ben Clark
    • One of the few books that stay on my desk and never go back to the bookshelf. Absolute gold if you are like me and cannot remember every single command ever written.
  • Red Team: Development and Operations - Joe Vest and James Tubberville
    • Great guide for processes of red teaming and some of the tools to use.
  • Hacker Playbook 1, 2, and 3 - Peter Kim
    • While 1 might be a bit out dated, the newer versions have updated tactics and techniques with practical application in offensive scenarios. The theory of penetration testing provided in these books is quite valuable for developing your own offensive playbook.
  • Attacking Network Protocols - James Foreshaw
    • A fantastic guide to the guts of popular networking protocols and how attacks against them are made and defended.
  • Penetration Testing - Georgie Weidman
    • The original pentesting book. Dated on some tools, but incredible at explaining methodology and theory.
  • Advanced Penetration Testing - Wil Alsopp
    • Great book for awesome tricks to add to your arsenal.
  • Hacking: The Next Generation - Nitesh Dhanjani
    • Older book (2009) but has some great examples of practical exploitation of certain attack vectors.
  • Database hacker's Handbook - Alcorn
  • Shellcoder's Handbook - Alcorn
  • Hacking: the art of exploitation - Jon Erikson

Physical Pen Testing

  • Unauthorized Access - Allsop
  • Burglar's guide to the city - Manaugh

Red Teaming

  • Red team - Zenko
  • Red Team Development and Operations - Vest
  • Hands-on Red Team - Sharma


  • OpenSource Intelligence Techniques - Bazzell
  • Effective Threat Intelligence - J. Dietler
  • Hacking Web Intelligence - Chauhan
  • Google hacking for penetration testers - Long


  • Web Application Hackers Handbook (Depreciated) - A great resource, but everything that is in it and more has been posted up with labs at
  • Operator Handbook - Netmux
  • Burp Suite Essentials - Mahajan
  • Browser Hackers Handbook - Alcorn
  • Bug Bounty Hunting Essentials - Lozano/Amir

Malware Analysis/Reverse Engineering

  • Reversing: Secrets of Reverse Engineering
  • Hacker Dissasembling uncovered - Kaspersky

Social Engineering

  • Social Engineering - Hadnagy
  • Influence - Cialdini
  • What everbody else is saying - Navarro
  • Human Hacking - Hadnagy


  • Troubleshooting with Sysinternals - Mark Russinovich

Coding and Scripting

  • Linux Basics for Hackers
  • The Linux Command Line 2nd edition
  • Shellcoder's Handbook - Alcorn
  • Violent Python
  • Blackhat Python

Secure Coding/DevSecOps

  • Art of Software Security Assessments - Dowd
  • Fuzzing for Software Security Testing and QA - Takenen
  • IDA pro Book - Eagle

General Cyber - Non-Fiction

  • Hunting Cyber Criminals - Troia
  • Practical Cryptography - Schneier
  • Secrets and Lies - Schneier
  • Data and Goliath - Schneier
  • Count Down to Zero Day - Zetter
  • Sandworm - Greenberg
  • American Kingpin - Bilton
  • Fatal System Error - Menn
  • Cult of the Dead Cow - Menn
  • Hackers - Levy
  • Kingpin - Paulsen
  • Little BRother Doctorow
  • Playing to the Edge - Hayden
  • Spies among us - Winkler
  • Crash Override - Zoe Quinn
  • Worm - Bowden
  • Crimedotcom - White
  • - Ormsby
  • The Perfect Weapon - Sanger
  • Hacking the Hacker - Grimes


  • Cuckoo's Egg - Stoll
  • Silence on the Wire - Zalewski


  1. 1.
    Building Secure & Reliable Systems Best Practices for Designing, Implementing and Maintaining Systems (O'Reilly) By Heather Adkins, Betsy Beyer, Paul Blankinship, Ana Oprea, Piotr Lewandowski, Adam Stubblefield
  2. 2.
    Security Engineering By Ross Anderson - A guide to building dependable distributed systems. (and Ross Anderson is brilliant //OP editorial)
  3. 3.
    The Cyber Skill Gap By Vagner Nunes - The Cyber Skill Gap: How To Become A Highly Paid And Sought After Information Security Specialist! (Use COUPON CODE: W4VSPTW8G7 to make it free)
  4. 4.
    The Beginner’s Guide to Information Security By Limor Elbaz - Offers insight and resources to help readers embark on a career in one of the 21st century’s most important—and potentially lucrative—fields.
  5. 5.
    Texas A&M Security Courses The web-based courses are designed to ensure that the privacy, reliability, and integrity of the information systems that power the global economy remain intact and secure. The web-based courses are offered through three discipline-specific tracks: general, non-technical computer users; technical IT professionals; and business managers and professionals.