This is a question I receive almost daily either on Quora, Facebook, Twitter or in real life. I wasted two years trying to find good stuff related to hacking and I don’t want others to do the same. Today, I plan to answer this question, “How to learn Hacking?” to my best ability. This won’t be a very lengthy guide and there won’t be too much stuff to make you run away. I will try to keep it as concise as possible.
First of all, a little introduction of who am I. I am a Fulbright undergraduate student doing Computer Science. I have always been keen to learn how things get hacked and this curiosity led me to read a few books on Ethical Hacking and Web Penetration testing back in December, 2014. I started finding bugs in websites and within one year, I was acknowledged by companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, MIT and many more. After one a half year, I moved more towards the security side and started doing work on AI and Machine Learning to see how it can be applicable to cyber security. Now a days, I am trying to find applications of AI in security and striving to learn more about security, AI and Machine Learning.
I try my best to keep reading books to increase my knowledge and even today, I am learning and I do not know a lot of things related to the subjects mentioned above.
These are the companies I have been acknowledged by.
That’s it for the intro. I hope that I have succeeded in making you believe that I know a little bit about hacking. I also think that showing you that learning some penetration testing stuff can get you quite some money, gifts and recognition. The feeling is awesome when you receive a gift all the way from another company to your home just because you found a bug in their website, believe me. Lets move to the part where I tell you how to go about learning the stuff.
How to Learn Hacking?
A quick guide for beginners getting into the field of hacking
One thing to note before I go on. I am not an expert and these are entirely my views. This is what I think the beginners should do. The sole purpose of writing this guide is to save the time of people trying to find ways to learn stuff about hacking and security. I myself wasted 2 years reading tutorials on google about random stuff.
I am a huge fan of books be it for hacking or for any other subjects. The knowledge that one can gain from books is untouchable. So, which books should you read to start with Hacking. Here are a few that I read when I started. I suggest you pick one and complete it from start to finish and try doing the exercises/code/tutorials mentioned in the book. Till the time you have finished the book, you would feel much comfortable with a lot of things.
- The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing, Second Edition: Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Made Easy.I think this should be the first book you read since it is easy to read and will give you an overview of the field.
- The first book that I read was Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Guide by Rafay Baloch. The author is renowned hacker in the world and this book covers a lot of the topics used in hacking. A must read for everybody.
- Another very good book is The Hacker Playbook 2: Practical Guide To Penetration Testing. This book is just way so much fun. You get to know how to penetrate real time systems and there is so much stuff written in the book. It’s the most exciting book I’ve ever read on hacking.
So, these were the first few books I read and I believe that if you can read them, you’ll get to know a lot about the field. A comprehensive list of other hacking books that you can read is given in this link. This link contains a very good list and you can always read as many books as you want to.
Well, not everyone likes books and this is a complain I receive most often. People tell me that they can’t read 600 pages and they need a shortcut. Well, there are no shortcuts in life. You gotta work hard to become good. But still, there are alternative options for those who don’t like books. Here are few courses/playlists that will help you become better in hacking.
- Complete Free Hacking Course: Go from Beginner to Expert Hacker Today. This is a video on Youtube that is 4 hours long and the author covers a lot of topics.
- Free Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking Training Course by Cybrary. This is a very good course for starters and it is available for free. A must watch.
- Computer Systems Security by MIT. This is a course by MIT and the videos are available for free. Anything that has MIT in it is awesome, right?
- SecurityTube contains a lot of hacking videos.
- Some other resources for great videos on Hacking are Blackhat and Defcon channels on youtube. This is a little complicated stuff, so don’t start watching them right in the start.
Now, reading a book or watching some videos is not enough. You have to be updated of all the happenings in the real world. That is where blogs comes in. There are numerous very good blogs that keep you updated about the latest happenings in the field of ethical hacking.
- Reddit’s infosec group is a great place to check every single day.
- Infosecinstitute is another blog that I have been following for a long time. Its just awesome.
- Another resource that I just cannot forget is TheHackerNews. You won’t miss anything if you follow this blog.
That’s all you need to read/watch. Yes, that’s all. Read below for more explanation.
That’s all that I want to give you right now. Why not more? Because by the time you’ve finished these things, you would automatically know what more to do. The problem with lengthy guides is that they give too much stuff and you can’t know which one to read first and which one to read later. I personally think that giving this much stuff should be okay for beginners. You don’t have to pay large amount of money for courses. This above stuff will do just fine when you are starting.
Finish it and you’ll know where to go next. One thing that is very important while learning hacking is persistence.You have to be persistent and you have to be patient. The rewards will ultimately come you’ll find yourself getting gifts from various companies sooner than you think.
I hope you like this guide.
Let me know about your comments. You can ask any question in the comments as well.
Comments and criticism is most welcome.