1 Cybersecurity and hackers


This chapter covers

  • What cybersecurity is
  • The ideal reader for this book
  • What is and isn’t possible with cybersecurity
  • A mental model for approaching cybersecurity
  • What you will learn in this book and what we won’t be covering

Warwick Castle, in England, sits on a cliff overlooking the river Avon, in rural Warwickshire. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, it’s been updated and enlarged over the centuries.

Castles have a simple job: to serve as obvious, strong defenses, protecting valuable assets. Giant stone purses, castles also naturally became centers of commerce, meeting places for merchants and decision makers—places of power and wealth.

The problem is that a castle is not subtle; a castle is a giant marker saying, “Here’s where the good stuff is!” The defenders have to be constantly vigilant, and attacks can come from anywhere and at any time. You can’t just move your castle to a new location after it’s been attacked a few times.

The defenders have to be successful every single time. One failure on their part means the castle falls. Attackers, on the other hand, can try as many times as possible to get in; they just need to be successful once.

This constant vigilance defines cybersecurity. Our businesses are online around the clock, with valuable assets (data) used for commerce, communication, and decision making.

1.1 Cybersecurity: How it has evolved

1.2 Why should you care about cybersecurity?

1.3 Who is the ideal reader for this book?

1.4 How does hacking—and defending—work?

1.5 What will you learn in this book?

1.6 What we won’t cover

1.6.1 Denial-of-service attacks

1.6.2 Encryption

1.7 What tools do you need to get started?