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#1 Leaf

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 09:57 PM

Hello... I am new here. My name is Leaf. Anyways though... I was wondering if you guys could point me in the right direction on how I can learn about hacking or about how it all works. I have been interested in this for a long time and will probably take some computer science classes or some other classes in college soon. But I have always wondered how people learn to hack. I tried buying a couple of books to start me off... like "hacking for dummies" and some other beginner books but they all look like they are written in some alien language. You see they all assume you already have a somewhat understanding of computer code (which I don't) and start you off at a level in which nothing makes sense. I tried asking some other people on another forum because i wanted to create some basic computer programs or software and they told me i needed to learn python. I downloaded some ebooks on python but again... none of it made sense. I know very basic HTML and that is about as far as my knowledge goes into computer code... and that is just for web pages. So what I am asking is... What do I need to learn to start hacking? I want to understand what hacking is at the very basic level. I want to learn from the very very beginning. I mean you wouldn't teach someone math by first having them learn algebra. First they must learn how to add and subtract and do division and multiplication... you know... the basics. And that is what i want to learn first... The basics of hacking. So if someone can point me in the right direction I am sure I can download some books online. I am very good at teaching myself as long as i have the right teaching material. Thank you guys and I am looking forward to be part of this community.

#2 systems_glitch

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 10:10 PM

Depends on the kind of hacking you want to do. If you're wanting to look for software vulnerabilities and find/exploit/fix them, then programming knowledge is essential. There are several threads around with suggestions on which programming language would be best for a beginner to start with.

Other types of hacking interests will require different skill sets. For instance, if you're interested in low-level network hacking, you'll benefit more from a read through hardcore low-level networking references (I recommend the Cisco CCNA stuff...dense, but accurate and thorough).

Welcome to the forums though!

#3 Leaf

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 10:39 PM

Depends on the kind of hacking you want to do. If you're wanting to look for software vulnerabilities and find/exploit/fix them, then programming knowledge is essential. There are several threads around with suggestions on which programming language would be best for a beginner to start with.

Other types of hacking interests will require different skill sets. For instance, if you're interested in low-level network hacking, you'll benefit more from a read through hardcore low-level networking references (I recommend the Cisco CCNA stuff...dense, but accurate and thorough).

Welcome to the forums though!



I guess white hack hacking which would be finding software vulnerabilities is what I would be looking for. Maybe later learning how flash games work so i can cheat on them would be nice. I learned a little about array of bytes and how you can modify them to cheat on certain games. But not all games are flash. Right now i've been playing games on my android phone... finding exploits on that would be a little bit harder i think.

#4 tekio

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 12:43 PM

If you want to learn to "hack", the main things you will need to become proficient in, from a technical point are:
- networking
- programming
- computer hardware
- Various operating systems (including windows)
- TCP/IP and UDP as well as the more common protocols that use it (HTTP, sFTP, SSH, etc..)
- common security practices and pitfalls in each of the above.

Like systems_glitch pointed out, you need to decide where you want to go. To one up that, you'll need to decide how much time you want to spend in front of a computer. If you want to get to the point where you're writing buffer overflow exploits with your own shell-code, and getting it to execute on a remote system... You're gonna be front of a computer most of your free time.

EDIT: I don't know about the "hacking for dummies" books. But, I've read all the Hacking Exposed books, and would recommend them once a person has the technical background to understand what it is that is happening, and how the described attacks work. Not only that, but the Hacking Exposed editions also describe the process of securing a box against each attacks.

Edited by tekio, 17 July 2012 - 12:58 PM.


#5 Leaf

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:18 PM

If you want to learn to "hack", the main things you will need to become proficient in, from a technical point are:
- networking
- programming
- computer hardware
- Various operating systems (including windows)
- TCP/IP and UDP as well as the more common protocols that use it (HTTP, sFTP, SSH, etc..)
- common security practices and pitfalls in each of the above.

Like systems_glitch pointed out, you need to decide where you want to go. To one up that, you'll need to decide how much time you want to spend in front of a computer. If you want to get to the point where you're writing buffer overflow exploits with your own shell-code, and getting it to execute on a remote system... You're gonna be front of a computer most of your free time.

EDIT: I don't know about the "hacking for dummies" books. But, I've read all the Hacking Exposed books, and would recommend them once a person has the technical background to understand what it is that is happening, and how the described attacks work. Not only that, but the Hacking Exposed editions also describe the process of securing a box against each attacks.


Thanks for all that valuable information. I think I will look up some books on programming and see what I can come up with. It sounds like a good place to start. After that I think networking would be the next best thing to learn. After that I am sure I will be on here with more questions. Thanks you guys for all the information. I will post with updates on the books I decide to read to see if you guys approve. And maybe if I don't understand something you guys can help me out?

#6 Leaf

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:25 PM

I am going to start by reading this book since I already have it in a folder filled with tech books:::

(Beginning Programming With Java For Dummies, 2nd Edition (2005))

#7 tweeks

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:55 PM

Like systems_glitch and tekio advised there are many types of areas. You might not necessarily know what are you want just by knowing what game you want to hack or whatever. Basicly hacking means understanding and modifying to suit your needs. It doesnt mean breaking security or any of what the media portrays. I learned by taking one item that i wanted to know about and then i did a search and read every bit of material i could find about it. In those readings i found thiungs i wasnt too familiar with so i looked up those topics and read everything i could on them and so on and so on. Eventually i started to put the whole picture together and developed theories and tried to prove them. I think anyone here can attest that after a while everyone comes to a certain point where things just start to fall into place and you can analyze on your own without guidance, from there you just need to follow your interests. There really isnt like a set path to take, everyone finds their own paths based on their needs/curiosity.

#8 Colonel Panic

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:37 AM

First piece of advice I can offer is, learn how to build things before you start trying to figure out how to take them down.

Understanding how systems operate is the most important thing, then understanding how and why they fail is the next (but almost equally) important thing.

Here are a few ideas on how to get started:

  • Get yourself a few cheap, old, hand-me-down computers, reformat the hard drives and install some different operating systems (both proprietary and open source) on them, then network them together.
  • Experiment with various flavors of Linux. Start with some real nonthreatening and pared-down distro like Xubuntu. Install it and be diligent about making sure you get all features of the system working. That is how you learn. Try it out, familiarize yourself with the various applications and how they work. Learn how to do everything in Linux that you used to do in Windows or Mac OS. Try out various environments, window managers, and workflows. Memorize all the most useful shell commands and keyboard shortcuts.
  • Take the initiative to mess around and do things the low-level, "hard" way instead of the high-level, "user-friendly" way. Familiarize yourself with the command line interface and maybe delve into some shell scripting. Get to know the various configuration files, what they do, and learn how to modify them to make your system work how you want it to. Once you have your OS installed and working, try compiling and installing some new programs from raw source code instead of just using a package manager to grab them off the repos.
  • Install and run a Linux Backtrack distro on a laptop, and learn to use the penetration-testing tools, including Metasploit. Try out various attacks against your own systems, investigate the root problems that caused the vulnerabilities, and research how to close those security holes. Learn how to conduct a variety of different attacks against various kinds of systems, by setting up your own systems in various configurations, running various vulnerable programs and services, and then attacking them using your Backtrack laptop.
  • Get a wireless router and install DD-WRT on it. Explore the various awesome features and functionalities of that alternate firmware. Use your Backtrack laptop to investigate wireless vulnerabilities of various services on your DD-WRT router. Learn how to set up a firewall and lock down your router to repel such attacks.
  • Pick up a high-level, object-oriented programming language like Java, Visual Basic or C++, and put some effort into working with it. Learn how to code simple functions, organize those functions together into discrete classes, then how to structure classes together into more complex applications. Think of a simple problem, figure out a way to use programming to solve that problem, then move on to a more difficult problem.
  • Don't be put off by failures. Analyze your failures and try different approaches until you find something that works. Use online resources like Stack Overflow, Ycombinator, Coding Forums, TopCoder, etc. to find others who may have faced the same problem as yours, or a similar one. Learn to adapt solutions to new applications. If all else fails, don't be afraid to ask for help, but never resort to asking for help until you've thoroughly explored all the avenues you can think of.
  • After you've achieved a familiarity with object-oriented programming, try investigating a lower-level, procedural language like C or even Assembly. This kind of programming is certainly not for everyone, but the rewards can be great if you can master it.
  • While you're learning to program, and once you've achieved a comfort level of familiarity with an easy "beginner's distro," start working your way toward more "hands-on" distros like Debian, SUSE, Sabayon, and Arch. Each step you take along the road to more and more "challenging" distros will force you to make more important, low-level decisions about your computer that require more fundamental understanding of how the machine works. At some point, you should set a goal to achieve the successful installation and configuration of an extremely "techy" distro like Slackware or Gentoo. Successfully installing and configuring Gentoo for the first time will undoubtedly be a nightmare, but perseverance will reward you with a level of insight and familiarity into Linux that you probably cannot achieve in any other way. Plus you'll have a totally custom, personalized, screamingly fast Linux system tailored specifically for the hardware it runs on, that you built yourself from scratch and compiled package by package. That's something you can really take pride in.
  • After you've become intimately familiar with Linux, move on to a more generic UNIX variant like OpenBSD. If you've been through the Gentoo trial-by-fire, OpenBSD installation will be a snap. Learn to set up a file server, Web server, proxy server, and firewall on your BSD box. Learn how to secure your BSD box, then try using your Backtrack machine to test vulnerabilities and close security holes in your BSD system.
  • Explore all avenues of computing that you find interesting. Learn to build hardware systems from scratch (it's not difficult). Build a home network, set it up and make it do all the awesome things you can dream of, like: serve movies and games to your TV, play music in any room of your house, monitor your environment with security cams, stream the camera feeds and other media on the Internet.
  • Read lots of books on computing, code, cryptography, the history of computing, the history of technological innovations, the history of warfare and strategy. Read books on various sciences and how different kinds of businesses operate. Broaden your mind as much as possible by reading.
  • Read about psychology, and read books about the exploits of ingenious hackers, phreakers, scientists, politicians, businessmen, con-men, spies, and thieves. Learn how the criminal mind operates, but don't ever lose a grip on your own personal sense of ethics and morality. Set a code of conduct for yourself based on the standards of behavior you'd expect from other people whom you trust and respect, and dedicate your life to living up to that standard.
  • Read lots of fiction as well as nonfiction: novels, short stories, comic books, whatever. Especially, seek out books that challenge your understanding and personal conceptions about the world. It's important to have a balanced life, and a balanced mind. Inspiration often arises from the most unexpected of places, so don't deny yourself the indulgences of the heart and imagination. They certainly pay tremendous dividends in the life of the mind.
  • Don't take anything for granted. Question everything. Learn to use logic and critical thinking to differentiate evidenced truth from unevidenced hearsay and bullshit.
  • Be social within your community. Join users groups, attend conferences, join a hackerspace and attend Maker Fairs. Meet people with similar interests. Share ideas and collaborate. Make friends and be happy. Help your friends excel in their projects, and in most cases they'll return the favor for you.
  • Have respect for others. No matter how much you think you know, you can always learn more and you're not always right about what you think you know. Even people whose intellect you don't respect can surprise you and teach you something you never realized before. So just be cool and don't be a dick. There are far too many assholes in this world as it is.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I'll post again if and when I think of more.

Edited by Colonel Panic, 31 August 2012 - 02:30 AM.





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