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These Books and Podcasts Answer Your Burning Questions On Security and Big Tech

  |  Rachael Roth

Almost every facet of our lives has a digital component, including how we shop, work, and socialize. When we engage in these activities, we pour personal information into our devices and leave a digital footprint across the internet. In a world powered by tech, it’s critical to take ownership of our online security and be mindful as we use various platforms and apps. 

Helpful cybersecurity content does exist beyond technical white papers: We can all educate ourselves through books and podcasts that are both informative and engaging so we become more security-savvy while navigating life online. 

To help you stay informed, we’ve compiled a list of books and podcasts that look at the realities of our digital-first world and the major tech companies playing a role in society’s evolution. 

Here’s what to add to your list, including frank advice from security professionals, stories that go into the minds of cybercriminals, and a look into the inner workings of big tech. 

“Darknet Diaries,” hosted and created by Jack Rhysider, brings listeners into the minds of cybercriminals, where they share true details about their lives and the crimes they’ve committed. 

Some episodes feature ethical hackers, like Maddie Stone, a security researcher at Google’s Project Zero battling zero-day vulnerabilities, and Deviant Ollam, a physical penetration specialist who tests the security of buildings by trying to break into them. 

On the criminal side, Rhysider speaks with a former darknet market vendor, and a group of Xbox hackers about how they went from tinkering with gaming consoles to hacking the entire Xbox gaming industry.  

According to the podcast's mission statement, they hope to bring a level of awareness that will enable listeners to take a more responsive, informed approach to their digital lives. 

Read: This is How They Tell Me The World Ends by Nicole Perlroth 

Written by Nicole Perlroth, who worked for more than a decade as the lead cybersecurity journalist at The New York Times, This is How They Tell Me the World Ends is an eye-opening investigation into one of the largest national security threats: the cyber arms race. Across the world, nation-states race to ramp up their cyber warfare capabilities in order to protect themselves against cyberattacks or to make their power over other nations known. 

In the book, Perlroth takes readers across the world as she follows the evolution of “zero-day”—an undetectable software bug leveraged by nation-state threat actors and cyberattacks that have shut down government systems, including Iran’s nuclear program and systems in Ukraine monitoring radiation levels at Chernobyl. Perlroth’s elucidating profiles of hackers, cyber arms dealers, zero-day bug brokers, and spies make for a captivating yet sobering account of the security vulnerabilities of our world. 

Listen: Land of the Giants from The Verge 

Each season of this podcast focuses on a different tech giant that you’ve probably heard of, including Meta, Amazon, Netflix, and WhatsApp, and how they continue to transform the way we live. With a detailed look at the inner workings of these platforms, “Land of the Giants” encourages listeners to take a critical approach to how we engage with tech and the algorithms that can predict and even manipulate our behaviors. 

In Season 1, “The Rise of Amazon,” the hosts speak with company executives to learn everything Amazon knows about its users. Season 3 investigates Google’s rise to prominence and the security experts, politicians, and employees who’ve challenged the company’s control over online information and our personal data. In season 6, “The Facebook/Meta Disruption,” the editors explore the impact of the social media behemoth on our lives and speak with whistleblower Frances Haugen, who exposed Facebook’s role in mental health and the spread of misinformation during the January 6th riots. 

Read: The Boy Kings by Katherine Losse

If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall at a Meta company party or inside a meeting room with Mark Zuckerberg, this is the book for you. 

Written by employee #51 at Facebook, Katherine Losse, The Boys Kings takes readers behind closed doors of the tech giant as Losse explores how the social media platform has shaped personal privacy and our social lives—one of the bigger revelations in the book is around Facebook’s customer support team’s access to entire user profiles. 

As you may have guessed from its title, The Boy Kings also exposes Facebook’s male-dominated culture and its effects on company dynamics. 

Moderated by John Verry, Pivot Point Security CISO and Managing Partner, this podcast is a must-listen for cybersecurity professionals, tech leaders, and business leaders. 

Episodes feature a range of experts offering straightforward advice on cybersecurity that’s pertinent to any digital-first company. 

You’ll find answers to pressing questions around security that your peers are also wondering about, including how cybercriminals operate, how to secure your AWS infrastructure, and how to build and deploy cloud-secure apps. 

Tracers in the Dark follows federal agents and technologists as they uncover the once-anonymous Bitcoin launderers and dark web kingpins. 

Greenberg, a senior tech journalist for Wired who also wrote the award-winning book, Sandworm, tells the story of cryptocurrency criminals from the perspective of investigators, with a mystery-novel bent. 

The book details the investigation and subsequent imprisonment of Ross Ulbricht, founder of darknet marketplace Silk Road, where criminals bought and sold illegal substances, and the hackers who were charged with conspiring to steal $400M in Bitcoin from the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange. What ultimately did them in? Believing the fallacy that cryptocurrency transactions are untraceable. 

Founded by tech journalist David Spark, this series dives into the challenges facing business and tech leaders, primarily focusing on CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers). 

The podcast features CISOs from major tech companies, and you’ll hear healthy debates sprinkled with the hosts’ comedic timing and a dose of sarcasm. Episodes like “A Fireman? A Princess? How About a CISO?” explore the career trajectories of CISOs; “I Wouldn’t Trust Everything You Read…On My Resume” discusses why cybersecurity professionals have lied on their resumes. 

In other episodes, they discuss how top professionals should navigate the rapidly-evolving cybersecurity landscape and explore questions around security vulnerabilities of new technology, how to improve cybersecurity awareness, and if employees will inevitably violate company security policies. 

Some episodes explore less technical business challenges, including burnout, dealing with distractions from messaging apps like Slack, and companies with unrealistic expectations for entry-level positions. 

Read and Watch

At Dashlane, we’re continuously following the latest news in cybersecurity and arming you with the most up-to-date advice to secure your business and personal life online. Our library of resources has comprehensive guides, webinars, and ebooks, including the Complete Guide to Staying Safe Online

The Dashlane blog features the latest tech news on breaches, cybersecurity alerts and solutions, and in-depth stories about data and culture to empower you to take control of your data.   

Read Dashlane’s interview with author and journalist Nicole Perlroth to learn how to protect your data amid a global cyber arms race.

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