How Cybersecurity Really Works Cover

How Cybersecurity Really Works

A Hands-On Guide for Total Beginners
by Sam Grubb
May 2021, 216 pp.
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Download the Chapter 4 maliciouspdf.pdf file on GitHub here.
WARNING: The file uses some real exploit code but is rendered completely benign. This allows for more authentic analysis. Still, it may set off Endpoint Security Software and should be used with caution. Download at your own risk.

You don’t need a technical background to understand core cybersecurity concepts and their practical applications – all you need is this book. It covers all the important stuff and leaves out the jargon, giving you a broad view of how specific attacks work and common methods used by online adversaries, as well as the controls and strategies you can use to defend against them.

Each chapter tackles a new topic from the ground up, such as malware or social engineering, with easy-to-grasp explanations of the technology at play and relatable, real-world examples. Hands-on exercises then turn the conceptual knowledge you’ve gained into cyber-savvy skills that will make you safer at work and at home. You’ll explore various types of authentication (and how they can be broken), ways to prevent infections from different types of malware, like worms and viruses, and methods for protecting your cloud accounts from adversaries who target web apps.

You’ll also learn how to:

  • Use command-line tools to see information about your computer and network
  • Analyze email headers to detect phishing attempts
  • Open potentially malicious documents in a sandbox to safely see what they do
  • Set up your operating system accounts, firewalls, and router to protect your network
  • Perform a SQL injection attack by targeting an intentionally vulnerable website
  • Encrypt and hash your files

In addition, you’ll get an inside look at the roles and responsibilities of security professionals, see how an attack works from a cybercriminal’s viewpoint, and get first-hand experience implementing sophisticated cybersecurity measures on your own devices.

Author Bio 

Sam Grubb is a cybersecurity consultant for a managed service provider that works with a large variety of clients. He has six years of experience teaching cybersecurity to both adults and teenagers and holds several cybersecurity certifications, including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.

Table of contents 

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Cybersecurity
Chapter 2: Attack Targets on the Internet
Chapter 3: Phishing Tactics

Chapter 4: Malware Infections
Chapter 5: Password Thefts and Other Account Access Tricks
Chapter 6: Network Tapping
Chapter 7: Attacks in the Cloud
Chapter 8: Wireless Network Pirating
Chapter 9: Encryption Cracking
Chapter 10: How to Defeat Black Hats

The chapters in red are included in this Early Access PDF.

View the Copyright Page
View the detailed Table of Contents
View the Index


"An excellent resource . . . The chapters scaffold in a beautiful fashion leaving the reader with a concrete foundation of cyber knowledge. Sam’s ability to explain abstract or complex concepts in a simplistic, digestible, and visual way is a major strength of this book. Novices or anyone interested in learning about cybersecurity, this is the book for you!"
—Dr. Pauline Mosley, Pace University, Professor of Information Technology