Books represent gateways to new worlds, allowing us to gain valuable knowledge on virtually any topic. Those interested in exploring computer science books face two challenges. First, just like you can’t build a good house without a proper foundation, you can’t expand your knowledge if you don’t understand basic concepts. Secondly, technology is always evolving, so besides understanding how things work, you need to stay current with the latest trends.

Finding books that help you build a good foundation and follow innovations isn’t easy. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through hundreds of titles to find the good ones. Here, we’ll introduce you to the best BSc Computer Science books that will set you up for success.

Top BSc Computer Science Books

These BSc Computer Science books can “program” your mind and help you absorb knowledge.

Introduction to Computer Science

Many people are eager to learn how to program and immerse themselves in the IT world. But the first step toward that is adopting fundamentals. Before jumping into the IT industry, you need to learn more about computer science and the basic concepts behind it.

Computer Science Illuminated by Nell Dale and John Lewis

This student-friendly book sheds light on computer science. It explores operating systems, hardware, software, and networks from “neutral ground” (without focusing on particular programming languages). Therefore, if you don’t “speak” programming languages just yet, this book will be your best friend.

Intro to Python for Computer Science and Data Science: Learning to Program With AI, Big Data, and the Cloud by Paul Deitel and Harvey Deitel

If you want to be a programming expert, you may need to speak Python, a universal language with a wide array of applications. This book teaches you how to use Python in computer science and offers the perfect balance between theoretical and practical knowledge. It transforms complex information into comprehensive and engaging data.

Data Structures and Algorithms

Finding the best BSc Computer Science book on data structures and algorithms can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. We found the needle for you and offer the best options.

Data Structures and Algorithms Made Easy by Narasimha Karumanchi

This book is a winner in the data structures and algorithms game. It’s the perfect option for beginners interested in learning the topic from scratch and building a solid foundation for more advanced levels. It covers basic concepts and moves on to more complex stuff without overwhelming the readers.

Data Structures and Algorithms in Java by Robert Lafore

If you’re familiar with Java and want to start with data structures and algorithms, this book is the gold standard. It will guide you on a journey from basic Arrays and Strings to advanced structures like Hash-Tables and Graphs.

Computer Networks

Computer networks are grids through which computing devices “talk to” each other and share data. Here are the books you can use to improve your knowledge and get ahead in your career.

Computer Networks by Andrew S. Tanenbaum

If you want to understand the nitty-gritty behind computer networks, this book is the way to go. Hop on a journey through email, the world wide web, video conferencing, and much more, to understand how the networks work and how to use them to your advantage.

Every chapter follows the same, easy-to-follow structure containing basic principles and real-life examples.

Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach by James F. Kurose and Keith W. Ross

This beginner-friendly book takes a somewhat unusual approach. It first introduces students to applications and uses them to explain fundamental concepts. That way, students are exposed to the “real world” early on and can understand how networking works with ease.


Operating Systems

An operating system for a computer is like oxygen for a human; it can’t live without it. Operating systems are interfaces that support everything computers do. Here are the best books about them.

Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces by Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau and Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau

How do operating systems work? What are the three basic concepts hiding behind every OS? Find the answers to these questions and learn everything OS-related in this book. While beginner-friendly, this amazing study can be combined with more advanced materials and offer a deeper understanding of modern OSs.

Guide to Operating Systems by Greg Tomsho

This book represents a detailed guide on installing, updating, maintaining, and configuring operating systems and everything related to them. Besides offering general info, the book explores specific OSs and allows you to peek into this world without feeling overwhelmed.

Database Systems

Database systems are like virtual warehouses where you can keep your data secure. They’re the ones we can “thank” for easy information retrieval, browsing, and organization. If you want to learn the ins and outs of database systems, these books can help.

Database Systems: The Complete Book by Hector Garcia-Molina, Jeffrey D. Ullman, and Jennifer Widom

This book is the holy grail for many computer science students. It offers a comprehensive approach and detailed explanations of everything related to database system design, use, and implementation. The book is extensive, but it’s written in an engaging way, so reading through it is a breeze.

Database Systems: Design, Implementation, & Management by Carlos Colonel and Steven Morris

Building your virtual warehouses for storing data may seem impossible. But it can become your reality thanks to this excellent book. It contains clear and comprehensive instructions on building database systems, offers concrete examples, but also focuses on the bigger picture and latest industry trends.

Software Engineering

Designing and constructing software is no walk in the park. If you’re interested in this industry, you need to build your skills meticulously. Books that can help you on this exciting (and sometimes frustrating) journey are reviewed below.

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin

In this book, Robert C. Martin, a software engineering legend, discusses the seemingly insignificant differences between bad and poorly-written codes. He explains which “symptoms” bad codes manifest and how to clean them.

Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction by Steve McConnell

One of the first (and smartest) steps toward building quality code is getting this book. Here, the author summarized everything there is to know about constructing software. Since the book contains both the basics and the more advanced construction practices, everyone finds it useful, both beginners and pros.

Additional Resources for BSc Computer Science Students

BSc Computer Science books aren’t the only spring you should drink water from if you’re thirsty for knowledge on the subject.

Online Platforms and Courses

Online platforms and courses are great resources for those who want to expand their knowledge and learn how to cash it in. The internet is overflowing with great courses focusing on various aspects of computer science. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Open Institute of Technology (OPIT) – The institute offers a comprehensive online BSc in Computer Science. Throughout the program, students get acquainted with everything computer science-related. After completing their studies, they’ll be able to land high-paying jobs.
  • Udemy and Coursera – Although not “official” institutes and universities, these platforms deserve a seat at the table. Both Udemy and Coursera offer quality computer science courses held by some of the most respected names in the industry.

Coding Practice Websites

You’ve read books, attended courses, and feel like you know everything there is to know about the theoretical part. But is there a way to put this theory into practice and see whether your codes work? The answer is yes! Practice makes perfect, and coding practice websites will become your best friends and help you conquer programming.

  • Coderbyte – Solve real-life coding issues and drive your skills to perfection. With over a dozen available programming languages, you can try out as many ideas as you’d like.
  • HackerRank – HackerRank is home to hundreds of coding challenges. Plus, it has leaderboards, so you can see how you compare to other coders. It’s also home to useful tutorials, and since the website is popular, you may even be able to land your dream job.

Computer Science Forums and Communities

Is there a better place for like-minded people to meet and discuss the topics they’re passionate about? Computer science forums and communities should be an important stop on your way to becoming an expert on the subject.

Tips for Success in BSc Computer Science

Success doesn’t happen overnight (at least for most people). If computer science is your true passion, here’s how to master it:

  • Focus on the basics to create a good foundation.
  • Put your thinking cap on and practice problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Participate in group projects and collaborations (teamwork makes the dream work).
  • Keep up with the latest industry trends.
  • Gain valuable hands-on experience through internships.

Acquire Computer Science Knowledge Effectively

Although books don’t offer practical knowledge, they can be invaluable allies in setting a great theoretical foundation. By carefully choosing the best books and putting effort into developing your skills, you’ll become a pro in a jiff.

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Cyber Threat Landscape 2024: Human-Centric Cyber Threats
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
Apr 17, 2024 9 min read

Human-centric cyber threats have long posed a serious issue for organizations. After all, humans are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Unfortunately, when artificial intelligence came into the mix, it only made these threats even more dangerous.

So, what can be done about these cyber threats now?

That’s precisely what we asked Tom Vazdar, the chair of the Enterprise Cybersecurity Master’s program at the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT), and Venicia Solomons, aka the “Cyber Queen.”

They dedicated a significant portion of their “Cyber Threat Landscape 2024: Navigating New Risks” master class to AI-powered human-centric cyber threats. So, let’s see what these two experts have to say on the topic.

Human-Centric Cyber Threats 101

Before exploring how AI impacted human-centric cyber threats, let’s go back to the basics. What are human-centric cyber threats?

As you might conclude from the name, human-centric cyber threats are cybersecurity risks that exploit human behavior or vulnerabilities (e.g., fear). Even if you haven’t heard of the term “human-centric cyber threats,” you’ve probably heard of (or even experienced) the threats themselves.

The most common of these threats are phishing attacks, which rely on deceptive emails to trick users into revealing confidential information (or clicking on malicious links). The result? Stolen credentials, ransomware infections, and general IT chaos.

How Has AI Impacted Human-Centric Cyber Threats?

AI has infiltrated virtually every cybersecurity sector. Social engineering is no different.

As mentioned, AI has made human-centric cyber threats substantially more dangerous. How? By making them difficult to spot.

In Venicia’s words, AI has allowed “a more personalized and convincing social engineering attack.”

In terms of email phishing, malicious actors use AI to write “beautifully crafted emails,” as Tom puts it. These emails contain no grammatical errors and can mimic the sender’s writing style, making them appear more legitimate and harder to identify as fraudulent.

These highly targeted AI-powered phishing emails are no longer considered “regular” phishing attacks but spear phishing emails, which are significantly more likely to fool their targets.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there.

As AI technology advances, its capabilities go far beyond crafting a simple email. Venicia warns that AI-powered voice technology can even create convincing voice messages or phone calls that sound exactly like a trusted individual, such as a colleague, supervisor, or even the CEO of the company. Obey the instructions from these phone calls, and you’ll likely put your organization in harm’s way.

How to Counter AI-Powered Human-Centric Cyber Threats

Given how advanced human-centric cyber threats have gotten, one logical question arises – how can organizations counter them? Luckily, there are several ways to do this. Some rely on technology to detect and mitigate threats. However, most of them strive to correct what caused the issue in the first place – human behavior.

Enhancing Email Security Measures

The first step in countering the most common human-centric cyber threats is a given for everyone, from individuals to organizations. You must enhance your email security measures.

Tom provides a brief overview of how you can do this.

No. 1 – you need a reliable filtering solution. For Gmail users, there’s already one such solution in place.

No. 2 – organizations should take full advantage of phishing filters. Before, only spam filters existed, so this is a major upgrade in email security.

And No. 3 – you should consider implementing DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) to prevent email spoofing and phishing attacks.

Keeping Up With System Updates

Another “technical” move you can make to counter AI-powered human-centric cyber threats is to ensure all your systems are regularly updated. Fail to keep up with software updates and patches, and you’re looking at a strong possibility of facing zero-day attacks. Zero-day attacks are particularly dangerous because they exploit vulnerabilities that are unknown to the software vendor, making them difficult to defend against.

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Nurturing a Culture of Skepticism

The key component of the human-centric cyber threats is, in fact, humans. That’s why they should also be the key component in countering these threats.

At an organizational level, numerous steps are needed to minimize the risks of employees falling for these threats. But it all starts with what Tom refers to as a “culture of skepticism.”

Employees should constantly be suspicious of any unsolicited emails, messages, or requests for sensitive information.

They should always ask themselves – who is sending this, and why are they doing so?

This is especially important if the correspondence comes from a seemingly trusted source. As Tom puts it, “Don’t click immediately on a link that somebody sent you because you are familiar with the name.” He labels this as the “Rule No. 1” of cybersecurity awareness.

Growing the Cybersecurity Culture

The ultra-specific culture of skepticism will help create a more security-conscious workforce. But it’s far from enough to make a fundamental change in how employees perceive (and respond to) threats. For that, you need a strong cybersecurity culture.

Tom links this culture to the corporate culture. The organization’s mission, vision, statement of purpose, and values that shape the corporate culture should also be applicable to cybersecurity. Of course, this isn’t something companies can do overnight. They must grow and nurture this culture if they are to see any meaningful results.

According to Tom, it will probably take at least 18 months before these results start to show.

During this time, organizations must work on strengthening the relationships between every department, focusing on the human resources and security sectors. These two sectors should be the ones to primarily grow the cybersecurity culture within the company, as they’re well versed in the two pillars of this culture – human behavior and cybersecurity.

However, this strong interdepartmental relationship is important for another reason.

As Tom puts it, “[As humans], we cannot do anything by ourselves. But as a collective, with the help within the organization, we can.”

Staying Educated

The world of AI and cybersecurity have one thing in common – they never sleep. The only way to keep up with these ever-evolving worlds is to stay educated.

The best practice would be to gain a solid base by completing a comprehensive program, such as OPIT’s Enterprise Cybersecurity Master’s program. Then, it’s all about continuously learning about new developments, trends, and threats in AI and cybersecurity.

Conducting Regular Training

For most people, it’s not enough to just explain how human-centric cyber threats work. They must see them in action. Especially since many people believe that phishing attacks won’t happen to them or, if they do, they simply won’t fall for them. Unfortunately, neither of these are true.

Approximately 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent each day, and millions of them successfully bypass all email authentication methods. With such high figures, developing critical thinking among the employees is the No. 1 priority. After all, humans are the first line of defense against cyber threats.

But humans must be properly trained to counter these cyber threats. This training includes the organization’s security department sending fake phishing emails to employees to test their vigilance. Venicia calls employees who fall for these emails “clickers” and adds that no one wants to be a clicker. So, they do everything in their power to avoid falling for similar attacks in the future.

However, the key to successful employee training in this area also involves avoiding sending similar fake emails. If the company keeps trying to trick the employees in the same way, they’ll likely become desensitized and less likely to take real threats seriously.

So, Tom proposes including gamification in the training. This way, the training can be more engaging and interactive, encouraging employees to actively participate and learn. Interestingly, AI can be a powerful ally here, helping create realistic scenarios and personalized learning experiences based on employee responses.

Following in the Competitors’ Footsteps

When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s crucial to be proactive rather than reactive. Even if an organization hasn’t had issues with cyberattacks, it doesn’t mean it will stay this way. So, the best course of action is to monitor what competitors are doing in this field.

However, organizations shouldn’t stop with their competitors. They should also study other real-world social engineering incidents that might give them valuable insights into the tactics used by the malicious actors.

Tom advises visiting the many open-source databases reporting on these incidents and using the data to build an internal educational program. This gives organizations a chance to learn from other people’s mistakes and potentially prevent those mistakes from happening within their ecosystem.

Stay Vigilant

It’s perfectly natural for humans to feel curiosity when it comes to new information, anxiety regarding urgent-looking emails, and trust when seeing a familiar name pop up on the screen. But in the world of cybersecurity, these basic human emotions can cause a lot of trouble. That is, at least, when humans act on them.

So, organizations must work on correcting human behaviors, not suppressing basic human emotions. By doing so, they can help employees develop a more critical mindset when interacting with digital communications. The result? A cyber-aware workforce that’s well-equipped to recognize and respond to phishing attacks and other cyber threats appropriately.

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Cyber Threat Landscape 2024: The AI Revolution in Cybersecurity
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
Apr 17, 2024 9 min read

There’s no doubt about it – artificial intelligence has revolutionized almost every aspect of modern life. Healthcare, finance, and manufacturing are just some of the sectors that have been virtually turned upside down by this powerful new force. Cybersecurity also ranks high on this list.

But as much as AI can benefit cybersecurity, it also presents new challenges. Or – to be more direct –new threats.

To understand just how serious these threats are, we’ve enlisted the help of two prominent figures in the cybersecurity world – Tom Vazdar and Venicia Solomons. Tom is the chair of the Master’s Degree in Enterprise Cybersecurity program at the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT). Venicia, better known as the “Cyber Queen,” runs a widely successful cybersecurity community looking to empower women to succeed in the industry.

Together, they held a master class titled “Cyber Threat Landscape 2024: Navigating New Risks.” In this article, you get the chance to hear all about the double-edged sword that is AI in cybersecurity.

How Can Organizations Benefit From Using AI in Cybersecurity?

As with any new invention, AI has primarily been developed to benefit people. In the case of AI, this mainly refers to enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and automation in tasks that would be challenging or impossible for people to perform alone.

However, as AI technology evolves, its potential for both positive and negative impacts becomes more apparent.

But just because the ugly side of AI has started to rear its head more dramatically, it doesn’t mean we should abandon the technology altogether. The key, according to Venicia, is in finding a balance. And according to Tom, this balance lies in treating AI the same way you would cybersecurity in general.

Keep reading to learn what this means.

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Implement a Governance Framework

In cybersecurity, there is a governance framework called ISO/IEC 27000, whose goal is to provide a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information, ensuring it remains secure. A similar framework has recently been created for AI— ISO/IEC 42001.

Now, the trouble lies in the fact that many organizations “don’t even have cybersecurity, not to speak artificial intelligence,” as Tom puts it. But the truth is that they need both if they want to have a chance at managing the risks and complexities associated with AI technology, thus only reaping its benefits.

Implement an Oversight Mechanism

Fearing the risks of AI in cybersecurity, many organizations chose to forbid the usage of this technology outright within their operations. But by doing so, they also miss out on the significant benefits AI can offer in enhancing cybersecurity defenses.

So, an all-out ban on AI isn’t a solution. A well-thought-out oversight mechanism is.

According to Tom, this control framework should dictate how and when an organization uses cybersecurity and AI and when these two fields are to come in contact. It should also answer the questions of how an organization governs AI and ensures transparency.

With both of these frameworks (governance and oversight), it’s not enough to simply implement new mechanisms. Employees should also be educated and regularly trained to uphold the principles outlined in these frameworks.

Control the AI (Not the Other Way Around!)

When it comes to relying on AI, one principle should be every organization’s guiding light. Control the AI; don’t let the AI control you.

Of course, this includes controlling how the company’s employees use AI when interacting with client data, business secrets, and other sensitive information.

Now, the thing is – people don’t like to be controlled.

But without control, things can go off the rails pretty quickly.

Tom gives just one example of this. In 2022, an improperly trained (and controlled) chatbot gave an Air Canada customer inaccurate information and a non-existing discount. As a result, the customer bought a full-price ticket. A lawsuit ensued, and in 2024, the court ruled in the customer’s favor, ordering Air Canada to pay compensation.

This case alone illustrates one thing perfectly – you must have your AI systems under control. Tom hypothesizes that the system was probably affordable and easy to implement, but it eventually cost Air Canada dearly in terms of financial and reputational damage.

How Can Organizations Protect Themselves Against AI-Driven Cyberthreats?

With well-thought-out measures in place, organizations can reap the full benefits of AI in cybersecurity without worrying about the threats. But this doesn’t make the threats disappear. Even worse, these threats are only going to get better at outsmarting the organization’s defenses.

So, what can the organizations do about these threats?

Here’s what Tom and Venicia suggest.

Fight Fire With Fire

So, AI is potentially attacking your organization’s security systems? If so, use AI to defend them. Implement your own AI-enhanced threat detection systems.

But beware – this isn’t a one-and-done solution. Tom emphasizes the importance of staying current with the latest cybersecurity threats. More importantly – make sure your systems are up to date with them.

Also, never rely on a single control system. According to our experts, “layered security measures” are the way to go.

Never Stop Learning (and Training)

When it comes to AI in cybersecurity, continuous learning and training are of utmost importance – learning for your employees and training for the AI models. It’s the only way to ensure all system aspects function properly and your employees know how to use each and every one of them.

This approach should also alleviate one of the biggest concerns regarding an increasing AI implementation. Namely, employees fear that they will lose their jobs due to AI. But the truth is, the AI systems need them just as much as they need those systems.

As Tom puts it, “You need to train the AI system so it can protect you.”

That’s why studying to be a cybersecurity professional is a smart career move.

However, you’ll want to find a program that understands the importance of AI in cybersecurity and equips you to handle it properly. Get a master’s degree in Enterprise Security from OPIT, and that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Join the Bigger Fight

When it comes to cybersecurity, transparency is key. If organizations fail to report cybersecurity incidents promptly and accurately, they not only jeopardize their own security but also that of other organizations and individuals. Transparency builds trust and allows for collaboration in addressing cybersecurity threats collectively.

So, our experts urge you to engage in information sharing and collaborative efforts with other organizations, industry groups, and governmental bodies to stay ahead of threats.

How Has AI Impacted Data Protection and Privacy?

Among the challenges presented by AI, one stands out the most – the potential impact on data privacy and protection. Why? Because there’s a growing fear that personal data might be used to train large AI models.

That’s why European policymakers sprang into action and introduced the Artificial Intelligence Act in March 2024.

This regulation, implemented by the European Parliament, aims to protect fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and environmental sustainability from high-risk AI. The act is akin to the well-known General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed in 2016 but exclusively targets the use of AI. The good news for those fearful of AI’s potential negative impact is that every requirement imposed by this act is backed up with heavy penalties.

But how can organizations ensure customers, clients, and partners that their data is fully protected?

According to our experts, the answer is simple – transparency, transparency, and some more transparency!

Any employed AI system must be designed in a way that doesn’t jeopardize anyone’s privacy and freedom. However, it’s not enough to just design the system in such a way. You must also ensure all the stakeholders understand this design and the system’s operation. This includes providing clear information about the data being collected, how it’s being used, and the measures in place to protect it.

Beyond their immediate group of stakeholders, organizations also must ensure that their data isn’t manipulated or used against people. Tom gives an example of what must be avoided at all costs. Let’s say a client applies for a loan in a financial institution. Under no circumstances should that institution use AI to track the client’s personal data and use it against them, resulting in a loan ban. This hypothetical scenario is a clear violation of privacy and trust.

And according to Tom, “privacy is more important than ever.” The same goes for internal ethical standards organizations must develop.

Keeping Up With Cybersecurity

Like most revolutions, AI has come in fast and left many people (and organizations) scrambling to keep up. However, those who recognize that AI isn’t going anywhere have taken steps to embrace it and fully benefit from it. They see AI for what it truly is – a fundamental shift in how we approach technology and cybersecurity.

Those individuals have also chosen to advance their knowledge in the field by completing highly specialized and comprehensive programs like OPIT’s Enterprise Cybersecurity Master’s program. Coincidentally, this is also the program where you get to hear more valuable insights from Tom Vazdar, as he has essentially developed this course.

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