Cybersecurity Brought to Life in New Book

A new cybersecurity book from the Department of Mathematics is more of a spy thriller than a rigid textbook. The book is authored by Associate Lecturer Rachid Ait Maalem Lahcen, Ph.D, who was inspired to use fiction as a vehicle to introduce cyber threat analysis to newcomers.  

“Unveiling the Shadows: A Cyber Threat Intelligence Journey,” follows the protagonist Mary as she evaluates and blocks different threats. Along the way readers are introduced to methodologies and tools, how professionals collaborate and real-world case studies to illustrate the world of cybersecurity. Mary also shares her viewpoints through a fictional news interview.  

Lahcen said he considered writing a traditional textbook but decided to adopt a storyline approach to make cybersecurity more accessible.  

“I wanted to inspire people, not just disseminate information,” he said.  

Lahcen has two target audiences for the book. One is current cybersecurity students searching for examples of the day-to-day tasks of an expert like Mary. The book gives them a broad idea of what to expect, similar to students of other disciplines shadowing professionals in their field.  

It’s also intended for people considering a career change or just curious about cybersecurity. One of the best qualities of the field is its interdisciplinary nature and the need for experts in fields like psychology, history and business, Lahcen said.  

Following Mary’s journey demonstrates how multiple backgrounds coalesce to anticipate human factors like phishing attacks, scams and probing systems for vulnerabilities.  

“Humans are the weakest link in cybersecurity,” Lahcen said. “You need a determined analyst to understand the human versus human.”  

“Unveiling the Shadows: A Cyber Threat Intelligence Journey” is available for digital download here.  

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