As I started developing interest in cyber security (and the entire ‘hacking’ culture) the one thing that I found particularly challenging wasn’t any technical concept, but rather gathering the correct resources to study the subject.
First, I believe it is essential to clear the confusion attached with the widely misconstrued word – ‘hacking’. Thanks to pop culture and every CIA television show, most people visualise hackers to be gothic, highly intelligent yet socially secluded, drug addicts who always wear black coloured clothes while trying to create chaos in the world.
Yes, sometimes they are the ones restoring peace by fighting the evil government. Let’s not get carried away.
Hacker, as I see it, are people with a passion for computers and network systems. They are tech-junkies (in a good way). A true hacker isn’t concerned with stealing information and causing damage, but s/he has such love for systems that only deeply understand every pulse (read bits) of it can provide a satisfaction so longed.
This is probably one reason why The Information Technology Act of India, 2000 (amended IT Act, 2008) scrapped the obscure term hacking.
So we know now that hacking is a technical art.
I will try to list out resources that I found incredibly useful (and still do) when I started out. Applying what is learnt and practicing regularly are extremely important here.
This is one of the best places to get started. With a great collection of free tutorials, you can be either an expert or a beginner, this site will surely be of great help.
Link – www.cybrary.it
Another amazing website for learning Metasploit and offensive security. This website has most tutorials on Kali Linux, which would be appropriate for intermediate level hackers.
Absolute beginners should first focus on learning terminal on Ubuntu.
Youtube Channels (great for learning):
Hands down one of the best channels for beginners. I started getting overwhelmed with the theoretical part, not getting to the meaty areas of hacking, when I found this channel.
It restored my faith by providing some quick yet full of substance lessons. It immediately caught my interest. Must watch.
Another great channel which I found useful. There are many other Youtube channels for hacking but I found these two with best content for beginners.
1) Hacking: The Art of Exploitation (by Jon Erickson)
A great book for beginners. It provides an extensive introduction into how exactly exploits work and how one can create them. This is in contrast to a lot of books which just explain how to run already created exploits.
Although the book explains C, it is recommended to have a cursory knowledge of it. Also note that the exploits in the book might not be very useful today for practical hacking – but nevertheless.
PS – keep the Ubuntu VM running and try out the examples in the book.
2) The Hacker Playbook: Practical Guide To Penetration Testing (by Peter Kim)
This book is for people who know their way around Metasploit, Linux and Windows.
It is one of THE recommended books for penetration testing.
Found a really cool repository with links to nice tutorials. I haven’t tried a lot of these so can’t guarantee value. Any feedback would be appreciated.
A Special Resource:
If you are quite adventurous you can try AnonOps IRC (Internet Relay Chat) to communicate with people already in the game. Be safe though! Read the instructions carefully and only go on if you’re ready. Do not reveal a thing about yourself.
I’ll say no more.
If you’ve successfully completed even 50% of the stuff mentioned here, you will in most cases already know how to proceed further. Good luck!