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Breaking Badness
Breaking Badness

Breaking Badness Book Club #1

On this week’s episode of Breaking Badness, we’re taking a break from talking about current events to bring you our first Book Club episode! We’re diving in to discuss books we’ve found helpful or interesting in our cybersecurity/infosecurity careers. Listen to the episode for full details, but catch where to find our top picks if you’d like to read them yourself here: 

Kali’s Top Cybersecurity Book Picks 

Being newer to the industry, Kali hasn’t had the opportunity to read many industry books, however friend to the podcast, Allan Liska, shared a copy of Visual Threat Intelligence with her by Thomas Roccia (aka @fr0gger_ on social media). Her industry knowledge thus far has come from talking with folks at DomainTools and trade shows along with reading up on cybersecurity news and blog posts, but she believes this book should be a staple for anyone getting into the industry. 

Another recommendation by Kali is Allan’s recently published comic book, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. Allan was on the Breaking Badness podcast in August 2023 to talk about who Johnny Dollar is, his process for writing this comic book (as well as subsequent issues), working with artists to make it come to life, and more!

Kali’s Non-Cybersecurity Picks

Kali is a huge fan of the American Girl line, and as light reading she’ll re-read the historical series. She’s actually more interested in listening to books on the Libby app, so you can find her listening to a book while working around the house. 

In addition to that, Kali has recently finished Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson’s autobiographies. 

Kali’s Local Bookstore Recommendation

Visible Voice in Cleveland, Ohio is Kali’s top local bookstore pick. Find out why by listening to the episode!

Tim’s Top Cybersecurity Book Picks 

Tim believes it’s hard to pick just one top pick, but he picked three including Red Team Blues by Cory Doctorow – it’s a modern noir and a good segue from Johnny Dollar. Tim likes that the protagonist is techy, but appreciates the analog world as well. Tim likes that Doctorow writes about the tech world that he wants to see – if you want to learn more about his viewpoints, Tim would also recommend his talk from DEF CON 2023

Tim pairs with it a book called Daemon by Daniel Suarez because it’s also a thriller – it’s more about the hubris about megalomaniacs. Both these authors have a good understanding of the technology, but they don’t worship it, which gives it a good sense of approachability. 

Tim’s final pick is Sandworm by Andy Greenberg. There’s a good chance people in the industry have read some of Greenberg’s work on Wired even if they haven’t read this book. It illustrates the GRU operation called Sandworm (which we’ve recently discussed on Breaking Badness as well) and when he talks about the attacks on Ukraine, he gets incredible access and puts you right there with the folks there. It’s a page turner for sure. 

Tim’s Non-Cybersecurity Picks

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang which is a satire on the publishing industry in a way that Tim found horrifying and delightful. The book Tim is still in the middle of reading is called Night Train by Martin Amis, which is also satirical, but sort of serious. There’s a lot in it Tim finds clever and unique and unlike the cybersecurity books he recommended, you don’t know whodunit. 

Tim’s Local Bookstore Recommendation

Seattle is blessed with a bunch of choices, but Tim likes Third Place Books. He’s most familiar with the location in a former grocery store – it’s warm and has a modern vibe. The staff is amazing and if you go downstairs, there’s a great pub. 

Taylor’s Top Cybersecurity Book Picks

Taylor wanted to focus on the Cuckoo’s Egg by Cliff Stoll. He thinks it works well for someone newer in the field because that’s what it’s really about in the mid-80s. It’s written by the protagonist and goes through the rabbit hole of finding an international espionage ring targeting government and military institutions. 

APT1 by Mandiant is not really a book, but it is a report that’s a good place to start if you’re trying to get your bearings. It’s considered to be one of the most prolific groups in terms of how much information was stolen. 

Taylor’s Non-Cybersecurity Picks

Tay is currently reading The Amateurs by David Halberstam which is about rowers trying to make it into the Olympics in 1980. He’s also reading First Casualty by Toby Harnden which recounts the first folks in the CIA going into Afghanistan after 9/11. 

Taylor’s Local Bookstore Recommendation

Taylor goes a bit south of Seattle to Portland for Powell’s Books

Sean’s Top Cybersecurity Book Picks

His favorite right now is Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter which is all about Stuxnet, but he also wants to focus on Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan. It goes all the way back to the beginning and how they came up with the term “cyber” and what it means to have a cyber attack. It goes all the way through and ends at about Stuxnet, which is why he brings up Countdown to Zero Day. 

Sean’s Non-Cybersecurity Picks

Sean recently finished Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, which Sean describes as “awesome!” This book gets into what it means to be alive versus dreaming. It’s fantasy and magic realism – it’s slightly edgy so it’s not for everyone, but it’s a great book. Tim seconds the recommendation. 

Sean’s Local Bookstore Recommendation

Sean picks the oldest science fiction bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota – Uncle Hugo’s! It’s in the uptown area and has Uncle Edgar’s next to it, which is a mystery bookstore. Many people come through for signings and if you like SciFi of any kind, you should check it out. 

He’s also getting ready to start the Hacker and the State by Ben Buchanan. 

That’s about all we have for this week, you can find us on Twitter @domaintools, all of the articles mentioned in our podcast will always be included on our podcast recap. Catch us Wednesdays at 9 AM Pacific time when we publish our next podcast and blog.

*A special thanks to John Roderick for our incredible podcast music!