Reading for Security Pros: Schneier Or Sagan?

In one of the more famous episodes of the original "Star Trek" series - "The Trouble With Tribbles" - Capt. Kirk confines Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott to his personal quarters for getting into a bar fight.

In one of the more famous episodes of the original "Star Trek" series - "The Trouble With Tribbles" - Capt. Kirk confines Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott to his personal quarters for getting into a bar fight.

After a sheepish, "Yes, sir," Scotty's face lights up as he says, "Thank you, sir! That'll give me a chance to catch up on my technical journals."

That's how it is with some people. Even when given the chance to relax with a book, they choose something related to their craft.

In the case of a security practitioner, that might mean taking the works of Richard Clarke, Bruce Schneier or Gary McGraw on vacation.

But when CSOonline decided to conduct an informal poll on what security pros are reading these days, many mentioned a variety of non-security, non-technical authors and titles.

Sure, some can't help but enjoy the latest tome on Trojans and terabytes. Some might even unwind by reading an article from this site; perhaps a little light reading like our recent interview with Securosis frontman Rich Mogull [Security Analyst to DLP Vendors: Watch Your Language] or, for something even more uplifting, a story on how swine flu is a wake-up call for emergency planners.

Kidding aside, what follows is a rundown of what some security pros are reading these days, or what they would be reading if stranded on a desert island:

Security pro: Karen Worstell, co-founder and managing principal, W Risk Group

* The Bible, for faith

* "Constantine's Sword," because "I will need to be stranded on an island to finish that tome."

* Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book, "Letters from Prison" for perspective

* "Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes" for something to do

* "Wilderness Survivors Guide: A Manual of Basic Survival Techniques for Scouts, Hunters, Campers, Hikers, Canoeists, Pilots, and All Others Unprepared to Meet the Challenge"

Security pro: Zach Lanier, senior network security analyst at Harvard Business School and ringleader of the Security Twits

* "The Art of Software Security Assessment" (Dowd, McDonald, Schuh): "This is, hands down, the most comprehensive security assessment book I've ever read (and had my eyes bleed at the end). It touches upon everything from gathering requirements for an application audit, reviewing code (and how not to review code), low-level issues to look for (think memory corruption, ASM, etc.), Web app vulns, Unix and Windows filesystem and process stuff, and, well, just a lot."

* "Security Engineering, Second Edition" (Anderson): Ross Anderson is one of the great titans of security, and this book proves it. Topics include things like security models, banking and bookkeeping, DRM, security economics, and, of course, specifics about security in operating systems and applications. Required reading, really."

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