Here is the challenge that I continually give myself: Create a project that benefits the DFIR community and won’t require much effort (on the part of the community) but will contribute to the community by generating positive conversations and sharing .
TL/DR (too long, didn’t read)
The project: Give away DFIR books . Lots of them.
This challenge goes way beyond just giving away books. There is no secret motive behind the books or the challenge. Simply, I am going to review all of the books in detail. I will be putting the reviews on Amazon, https://www.dfir.training , and anywhere else I can that will make a difference to someone looking for information on the books. I’ll be making video reviews of the books too and demonstrating some of the exercises and topics. Then I'll do a drawing to ship a book to someone. I’ll even cover the shipping to get the book to the winner. I am dedicating time and effort to give 1, 2, and maybe up to 3 books a month to different folks in the community with only one thing to ask in return (see the Grand Plan below).
You are probably tired of hearing about sharing in the DFIR community . Sure, I get it. Sharing is usually understood to be ‘getting something for free’, with free meaning not having to give anything in return. I feel that this belief to be unhealthy for the community at large in more ways than you may imagine. Too many in any community get burned out on seeing constant negativity and selfishness, especially for many of us in the tech industry. There are too many instances of negativity online, shaming, alienating, doxing, and theft of ideas from each other. We are each responsible for driving people out of this community and for keeping people in it.
To make this project work, I respectfully ask one thing: If you win a book, consider passing it on to someone else after you finish reading it.
That’s it. You get to read a book that you didn’t have, learn something new to help grow your competence and skill level, and then engage in the DFIR community when you share it by passing the book to someone else in DFIR.
Here is a little more information on this challenge. I am asking the authors of the books to sign them and highlight one or two sentences that are meaningful for them in the book so that everyone can see what is important to someone else. For any author that donates a signed copy, I will be crediting profusely the author for the contribution. For others, I’ll be buying the books and asking authors to sign the copy before I give it away.
So here is the grand plan:
- Author autographs their book and highlights a personally important passage.
- I read it, review it, highlight a personally important passage, sign it, and give it away.
- You get the book shipped to you.
- You either keep it to yourself, or
- Engage the community by reading it, highlighting a personally important passage, signing it, and passing it on.
- The next person then has a choice to either keep the book or engage in the community by passing it on in the same manner.
Personally, I would find it super cool to be handed one of these books, put my name in the book, and look forward to passing it on. Imagine having the physical book in your hand, from the author and through the hands of others in the community, with the most personal passages highlighted. I want that.
What are the community benefits (and does it even matter)?
You benefit by the book author personally handing you a book and connecting with the author. You may be #2 or #20 on the list of getting your hands on the book, but it is coming from the author with a personal note and personal passages highlighted by everyone before you.
You benefit by reaching out to someone to pass the book on and connecting with someone in the community. It can be a co-worker, someone in a college program, or a training course, or a conference, or wherever you can reach out to a fellow DFIR.
The DFIR community benefits by having us talk to each other. “Hey, John Q gave me this book and I really learned some neat things. If you haven’t read it, would you like it? Even the author signed it. And look here, this is a passage that meant the most to me professionally as a neat analysis tip. And if you don’t mind, can you pass it on to someone when you are done? Put your name in it too.”
Here are my requests and suggestions to you .
Point out your personal passage when you pass it on. Say something about the book. Ask that the receiver do the same. Hold the book in the air at a conference and say you have a book that needs a home, and needs a home after that. Put it out on social media that you were part of the book’s travels and you passed it on. If you really enjoyed the book, consider buying a copy or posting a review online. All of this is totally up to you.
I’ll do the heavy lifting.
This is a project that you can join without doing heavy research, spending money, or writing a forensic software application. You can read something that you probably wanted to read anyway, and then you actively join the community by paying it forward . Remember the feeling when you get the book, because when you give it, that is how the next person will feel. By the way, you don’t have to know the next person. Anyone sitting next to you in a conference, or at the hotel breakfast table, or standing in line to pick up your conference badge, or wherever. Bring it up. Talk about it. No matter how shy you may be, you can do it. I bet that in a room of a 100 people, any and all would gratefully and gracefully offer to accept the book.
I hope that you will join me and others in this challenge.
Again, nothing more for you to do than to sign up to win a book. Read it. Give it away. And BAM! You deeply engaged the community. Or you can keep the book to yourself. For years, I've said that we all live on the same small planet for a short period of time together. And that's how I interact with people. I rather pull someone to their success than push them out the door. If you read this far, then I know that you feel the same.
PS: Thanks to Harlan Carvey for taking up this challenge without skipping a beat. I donated two of my books and before I could say anything, he donated two of his books. Very cool.