Networking Basics: Where to find educational resources?
July 11, 2017 3:49 PM   Subscribe

My wife is in the information security field, but not on the technical side. She's more in a project management/governance role, but the scope of her role is increasing more and more. She wants to learn the basics of networking and the technical side of network security and information security. I know about the books from when I was in school (I'm an IT professional), but she has a hard time understanding even the analogies I try to come up with. My assumption is that there are better resources that I can't seem to find.

Right now, she's studying for the CompTIA Security+. Anything geared to the basics of networking that would help her with this exam would be ideal. She is going through firewalls, packets, networking basics in general and she needs more help than I can give. Save us, Metafilter!

Extra points to the technical basics of other related fields that she can digest.
posted by MMALR to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if it's too dated in terms of the latest tech, but Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World by Bruce Schneier is a go-to for how to think about computer network security; he purposely wrote it in part to try and correct for the high level of mathematical abstraction he had used in a previous book that didn't take the context of human and computer fallibility into account.
posted by Wretch729 at 4:36 PM on July 11, 2017

I haven't watched it, but I noticed that has Become a CompTIA Security+ Certified Security Professional (along with other networking courses). Might be worth the membership, or you may be able to get free access via your library.

Again, I haven't read it, but the "Dummies" books usually have a friendly approach to technical topics. There are a couple of networking books, e.g. Networking All-in-One For Dummies (gets decent reviews on amazon).

I've used the wikipedia page for Internet protocol suite as a reference for the various layers, protocols, and other terms related to TCP/IP.

I think having real-world issues and examples can really help understanding. Assuming you have a home network, are there some experiments you could do at home together that might make it more relevant (e.g. find out the IP of your router, the IP of its default route, what happens if you change your computer's subnet mask or default route, etc)?
posted by loop at 4:51 PM on July 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've found reasonably priced technical courses on Udemy. I've purchased a couple of sub-$10 courses on Python, for example. I see a networking fundamentals course for $10.
posted by LoveHam at 6:04 PM on July 11, 2017

Here are three different books on networking that I've found helpful. They each have a different focus, and hopefully at least one of them will resonate with her!

- Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks by Michael Zalewski: This one is security-focused, and provides a lot of context about TCP/IP, networking hardware, and the like while describing various historical vulnerabilities and ways to passively gather information about networks.

- Networking for Systems Administrators by Michael Lucas: This is a very hands-on guide to networking, with practical advice for diagnosing and fixing many kinds of problems.

- Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-World Network Problems by Chris Sanders: This one is all about capturing and interpreting network traffic, and covers details for several common protocols.
posted by silentbicycle at 7:27 PM on July 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is there nothing on Futurelearn or Coursera?
posted by easternblot at 2:35 AM on July 12, 2017

As a lead intrusion analyst, I made my new analysts read TCP/IP Illustrated Volume 1 and the RFCs. Might be overkill, but it's a hell of a reference for anything you run into in the future.
posted by bfranklin at 3:17 PM on July 12, 2017

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