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What are the best network security books?

What books would you recommend for someone looking to learn more about network security?

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There are a ton of great books out there if you're interested in getting started with network security. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • If you're just getting started, the all-time classic book on the topic is Practical Unix & Internet Security by Gene Spafford and Simson Garfinkel. It's the first security book I ever read and one that I still recommend. The third edition was published in 2003 and is still available. Though it is getting a little gray around the ears, it's still a great read. The book provides an excellent introduction to security and outlines the basic principles of our craft.
  • Mastering Network Security, by SANS instructor Chris Brenton, covers a wide variety of technical topics in good detail. It includes chapters that provide general network security advice as well as specific details for Cisco Systems Inc. devices, Windows and Unix systems.
  • Finally, the book Network Security Hacks by Andrew Lockhart offers a good, hands-on approach to securing your network. It offers concise, practical tips that you can implement immediately.

Those are three of my top picks, but there are tons of alternatives out there as well. If you're interested in securing a particular network technology, go visit the shelves of your local bookstore, or's Information Security Bookshelf, and flip through a few!

This was first published in February 2009

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