This is a quick guide on how to become a real hacker, not the so called hackers that you see on TV (script kiddies) who land in jail I’m talking about the real ones who write code, post security fixes, build up the community & not tear it down.

Well, enough ranting and raving from me, lets begin.

This first section will talk about a few things that you must know in order to hack something (computers, phones, etc …). Reading a simple tutorial on the Internet is nowhere near enough.

  • So, I would suggest starting off with learning networking, you use google.com (the gateway to world of information), read a Network+ book, or a guide to networking, but don’t just read the book, strive to understand everything that you are reading because you will need it later on.
  • After reading a general networking book, go for something more specific like TCP/IP. Reading a full book on TCP/IP will improve your knowledge greatly. TCP/IP is the fundamental protocol of the Internet, and not understanding it means that your hacking skills are worthless. Knowledge of networking and TCP/IP will help you understand how and why different kinds of attacks work.
  • After Learning about networking and TCP/IP move on to Unix/Linux. Nowadays, there are many computers (servers) running some type of Unix or Linux so knowledge in it is absolutely essential. The best way to learn UNIX or Linux is to just install it and run it. There is a lot of trial and error when learning UNIX/Linux. I would recommend reading Running Linux by O’Reilly because this is a great book for beginners. I would also suggest starting off without a GUI when learning Linux/UNIX because hacking is mostly command line and programming… no GUIs like they show in the movies.
  • The next step (which is the biggest one) is programming. I would call this step the time sink because you will spend a lot of time when learning programming. The leap into programming is very hard and can be frustrating. Hackers have been using C and Perl as a language of choice. However python has become a hot language to learn as of late. I would suggest the following languages: python, Perl, C, php, java, ruby (for metasploit purposes), and a shell language (most people use bash, but i have crush on ksh). But all jokes aside, do not go weak on learning how to program… programmers make much better hackers… that’s just how it goes.

This all stems back to knowing how things work, if you understand how networks work, how the OS works, and know how programs work, then you can find ways to manipulate these things to let you do whatever you want.

Many people reading this article are probably saying, “If that’s all you need to know, this is easy.” The above topics will take many months or years depending on your situation of reading, programming, and experimenting. The pieces of the puzzle come together slowly but they take a lot of work to put together. If you commit yourself and presevere you will be fine. Remember, the above steps are not written in stone and you can go in any order you like. Final note, when you understand how networks work, OSes work, and how to program, then with all of this comes the knowledge of how security works.

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6 Responses

  1. HNet

    What is your take on using books like “Gray Hat Hacking,” “Hacking Exposed,” Steal This Book” and others like it to get some of the fundamentals in place. I have all three and then some, while each is a good resource. None are an all-in-one 1337 book which is good because becoming proficient in the computer security industry takes time. Just looking for your take on this.

    • Mike Knight

      /rant/ Books are books. Just like how reading a carpentry book is a good start to understanding how to build a cabinet… its not gonna be the same as grabbing a saw and a hammer and getting to work. Practice makes perfect.
      One of the MAIN things you have to have is a love for what you’re doing. Even if its cabinet building, you better love it if you wanna be any good at it.
      I’ve been doing security work and had security on the brain since 2005. This isn’t my day job. This is my life. I eat, breath, shit, sleep, and dream about security. My daily internet traffic is OBSESSED with security trends, tech topics, tech news, blogs… I follow known and unknown malicious hackers on my twitter…
      THIS IS MY LIFE. If you want to get anywhere… it better be your life too. //rant/

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