5 Novels About Information Security

For individuals interested in information security, there are numerous novels available about the topic. Ranging from real life stories to hacking novels, these tales are an interesting way to learn more about the field. Students and employees in the industry can enjoy reading about the information security experts of the past. In some of the older stories, readers will get to learn about earlier problems with information security and the hackers of the 1990s.

1. The Cuckoo’s Egg by Cliff Stoll

In this novel, readers are taken to an earlier time. Before the Internet was a tool for terrorists, one United States citizen saw the potential for computers to be used for espionage. Compiling the evidence, he seeks to expose the online spies that threaten national security. While the main character knows what is going on, the question he is faced with is if the authorities will back him up. This tale reads like a modern day Sherlock Holmes novel. It is based on the real story of Cliff Stoll. Previously an astronomer, Stoll became a systems manager and discovered a single accounting error that led him to discover a mysterious invader on the network. Before long, Stoll begins to spy on the spy as his campaign captures the attention of the CIA.

2. Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick

Based on a true story, this novel is about one of the most successful and elusive hackers in the world. For years, Kevin Mitnick penetrated computer networks at some of the world’s largest corporations. He seemed unstoppable to law enforcement as they followed three steps behind him. Ultimately, Mitnick wanted to try his hand at some of the hardest security systems. He hacked into Pacific Bell, Motorola and Sun Microsystems. The added attention turned the FBI’s attention on Mitnick, and he was forced to go on the run. Armed with fake identities and numerous safe houses, Mitnick stayed on the run until he was forced into a showdown with law enforcement.

3. The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling

Written in 1992, Sterling’s novel is actually a work of nonfiction. It follows the major events in hacker culture during the 1990s. From Operation Sundevil to the Legion of Doom network, Sterling looks at the ways major trials and organizations changed the hacking community. Due to its exceptional details and insider information, the book is actually on reading lists at top schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

4. The Fugitive Game by John Littman

This is another book that follows the story of the most wanted hacker of the 1990s. At the height of his influence, Mitnick was said to be capable of crashing financial markets with just a phone call or launching missiles around the world. Once his identity was discovered, the FBI, other hackers and bounty hunters began a global manhunt for Mitnick. Utilizing 50 hours of interviews with Mitnick, this story shows Mitnick’s double life and his exceptional hacking techniques.

5. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Published by Tor Books in 2008, this novel looks at four teenagers in California. Following a terrorist attack, they find themselves the target of the Department of Homeland Security. The group of friends are kidnapped by the department and interrogated on suspicion of being involved in the plot. After six days, most of the group members are released. Angered by the interrogation, Marcus rebels against the Department of Homeland Security by using a game console to fight the surveillance state. At the end of the book, readers can enjoy reading essays by a hacker, a computer security specialist and a cryptographer.

Ranging from real stories to completely fictionalized tales, these books look at the current information security and hacking cultures. Readers can enjoy getting an in-depth look into the legal and illicit practices going on in the information security industry.

Related: 5 of the Biggest Computer Hacks in History