Getting Started with Cybersecurity

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November 24, 2020
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ur reliance on technology grows day by day and as it grows, so does the importance of building our trust and confidence in using it. Whether it is building a simple app, accessing the WiFi in your local café or listening to a podcast, an important consideration that every technology user, engineer and service provider needs to be aware of is how secure the app or service they are either using or providing is.


In this shortlist, we hope that this will be useful as an introduction to Cybersecurity and set the tone for future Selects on the topic. To help us improve our curation of resources on Cybersecurity, we invite you to share your feedback and suggestions to

Read more about ACM's ongoing efforts to provide resources for students and professionals through the ACM Learning Center.

Chapter 2: The Cybersecurity Discipline

First published in Cybersecurity Curricula 2017: Curriculum Guidelines for Post-Secondary Degree Programs in Cybersecurity, February 2018.

Before getting started with any field or discipline, it is important to gain some context on its emergence to understand its necessity. As a starting point, we recommend this chapter which provides a definition for “cybersecurity” and shares its historical context.

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A Review on Cybersecurity: Challenges & Emerging Threats

First published in NISS2020: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Networking, Information Systems & Security, March 2020, Article No. 28, Pages 1–7.

In this era of massive and fast innovation, it is crucial to understand the emerging challenges and threats that new technologies could bring to undermine cybersecurity. However, with continuous innovation, the techniques used to address cybersecurity one day may not be effective the next week, or even in a matter of minutes. From the cybersecurity lens of March 2020, this study conveys these other challenges and emerging threats to cybersecurity, shares some approaches on how they could potentially be addressed, and the role that we, as a society, can play in safeguarding cybersecurity.

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The Cybersecurity Risk

First published in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 55, No. 6, June 2012.

For any technology user, from computing professionals to typical everyday users, “you got hacked” is a phrase that strikes immediate fear and panic ‒ a reaction which demonstrates our societal awareness on the importance of cybersecurity. As advancements in technology continue to expand our digital world and make us more connected, the threat of “cyberinsecurity” is a continuing problem that needs to be addressed. 

In this Communications of the ACM article, Simson L. Garfunkel shares his viewpoint on cybersecurity risks that technology users are exposed to and some practices they could implement to help minimize this risk.

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Seeing Light at the End Of the Cybersecurity Tunnel

First published in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 63, No. 8, July 2020.

The evolution of cybersecurity research and practices has been emphasized throughout this Getting Started with Cybersecurity series as a core aspect in ensuring cybersecurity. Elisa Bertino’s career embodies this aspect as her work and research interests have evolved over the years to cover the security and integrity of information stored in databases, shared over mobile networks, and over emerging technologies and services such as cloud storage, Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor networks.

While there are several challenges that need to be addressed, Bertino shares her experience in cybersecurity research and her positive outlook for the future of cybersecurity. [Read more]


First published in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 60, No. 4, March 2017.

In this 2017 Panel in Print, panelists Len Adleman, Dan Boneh, Brent Waters, Patrick McDaniel, and Paul Van Oorschot share their perspectives on cybersecurity and their outlook of the  industry from a cybersecurity point of view.

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ACM Communities and Conferences

ACM Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control (SIGSAC)

The ACM Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control's mission is to develop the information security profession by sponsoring high-quality research conferences and workshops. SIGSAC conferences address all aspects of information and system security, encompassing security technologies, secure systems, security applications, and security policies.

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ACM Conferences

Participating in relevant conferences is a great way to gain knowledge on cybersecurity, to network, and share ideas and experiences with experts in the field. While this Select does not cover the themes of these conferences in detail, they are a great resource for anyone interested in these areas. 

Featured ACM conferences covering a variety of topics on cybersecurity include:

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