Here we bring to you 12 steps to become a hacker, together with all the books, tutorials and resources that you need to learn in the process. So pack your bags and get set for the journey!
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Monday, October 14, 2013: Hacking is a fascinating field but it definitely isn't easy. Here we have listed 12 of the most important steps essential to become a hacker, together with all the resources that you need for learning.
Here we focus on the skills and attitude needed to become a hacker. Breaking the security system and entering into the system is not the only thing a hacker does. One requires knowledge of a wide variety of subjects and in depth knowledge of programming languages and operating systems. And needless to say, learning is essential in the journey...
Here are the 12 steps:
It is not an easy task to become a hacker. As a hacker, you need to have an attitude and curiosity. Reading thehacking manifesto can teach you the attitude of a hacker. Nurturing the hacker attitude is more about developing competence in the languages rather than having a stereotypical attitude.
Though a lot of people consider that a hacker is a criminal, in real life, they are hired by big companies for protecting information and minimizing potential damage. The act of hacking actually is that of being over-curious and outwitting authority. As a hacker, you should be hell bent on breaching authoritarian rules, secrecy and censorship. Deception is another arsenal which will allow you to dodge the vigilant eyes of authority.
The act of stealing something or doing harm to someone is not hacking. Such people are commonly called crackers in the community. Crackers are involved in illegal activities and we do not recommend you to get involved into such activities.
Step 1: Learn To Program In C
C programming is one of the most powerful languages in computer programming. It is necessary to really master this language. This programming language was invented by Denise Ritchie in between the years 1969 and 1973 at AT&T Bell Labs. C programming will essentially help you divide the task in smaller pieces and these pieces can be expressed by a sequence of commands. Try writing some program on your own by assessing the logic.
When you are trying to become a hacker, it is very important to learn other modern computer programming languages such as JAVA, Perl, PHP and Python. One of the best ways to learn these is by reading books from experts.
UNIX is a multi-tasking and multi-user computer operating system that is designed to provide good security to the systems. This operating system was developed by some employees of AT&T in Bell Labs. The best way to learn it is to get into an open-source version (e.g. centos) and install/run the same on your own. You can operate internet without learning UNIX, but it is not possible for you to be an internet hacker without understanding UNIX.
There are many other operating systems apart from UNIX. Windows operating system is one of the most commonly compromised systems, hence, it is good to learn hacking Microsoft systems, which are closed-source systems.
According to the National Vulnerability Database, Microsoft operating systems have a large number of vulnerabilities.
Windows OS installers are distributed in binary, therefore, it is not easy for you to read the code. Binary code is basically the digital representation of text and data that computer understands. However, knowing how programs are written for Windows and how different applications behave on this operating system will help.
One of the recent vulnerabilities of a popular OS was that Java Web Start applications get launched automatically even if the Java plug-ins are disabled. How to be a hacker is about knowing the weaknesses of these operating systems and targeting them systematically.
Step 5: Learn Networking Concepts
The networking concept needs to be sharp when you want to be a hacker.
Understanding how the networks are created is important, however, you need to know the differences between different types are networks. Having a clear understanding of TCP/IP and UDP protocol is a must to be able to exploit the vulnerabilities on world wide web.
Understand what is subnet, LAN, WAN and VPN.
The networking commands to do a HTTP request needs to be on your fingertips. The HTTP protocol, is the gateway through which one enters the internet world. Hence, it is necessary to learn this protocol in order to break the barriers. The hackers often use the HTTP gateway to breach the security of the system and take control over it.
Apache Httpd is one of the most commonly used web servers and knowing in and out of it is going to empower you on any HTTP or other application layer protocol related endeavors.
Also Nmap is a powerful network scanning tool that is used by hackers and security professional across the world to identify vulnerable hosts. However, to effectively start using it you must understand the networking basics.
Step 6: Start Simple: Go Through Tutorials About Hacking
This is the simple and best way to start. Read as many tutorials as possible that are meant for hacking. These articles will give you insight and help you develop the attitude to be a hacker. Some tutorials will initiate you with Nmap, Nessus and SuperScan, some of the hacking programs or tools that hackers generally use. These tutorials are readily available over the internet; Both text and video tutorials are available for you to answer your question how to be a hacker.
As an expert hacker, you need to understand and master the art of cryptography. The technology of cryptography and encryption is very important for internet and networking. It is the practice and study of techniques that are used for secure communication in the presence of third parties. The encryption is done for various aspects of information security such as confidentiality of the data, integrity of the data and authentication. Moreover, the technology of cryptography is extensively used in ATM cards, computer passwords and e-commerce. While hacking, these encrypted codes needs to be broken, which is called decryption.
Understand various techniques used for password cracking. There are dozens of tools available to do password cracking, and using it is not hacking. To be expert at hacking its important for you to understand how to create a program that can crack a password from cypher text.
This is an important step for setting yourself up as an expert hacker. Setup a laboratory on your own to experiment the learning on the practical applications. A simplest lab will have your computer, however once you advance you may want to add more and more computers and required hardware for your experiments.
It is good to try experimenting on your own computers, where you can rectify if you have done any mistake. Many hackers initially start off by downloading virtual lab applications such as Oracle VirtualBox. You require at least 3 GBs of RAM and a comparatively powerful processor to carry out your hacking experiments. Setting up the virtual machine is crucial, as it will allow you to test virus, applications and different servers without affecting your own PC.
Some of the things you may need to keep in mind when doing experiments
- Keep a backup before any experiment. - Start small and have check points. - Know when to stop. - Document your progress - Keep improvising - Automate repetitive tasks
Step 9: Read Some Good Books From Experts
Reading will always enhance your knowledge. Try to read as many books and articles as possible written by the experts in the field field of ethical hacking and enterprise security
Reading a lot about anything related is so important in the world of hacking that you must also consider enhancing your reading speed. If your reading speed is slow, then you may not be able to progress fast in this field. Practice speed reading techniques like skimming, chunk reading etc.
When it comes to reading a lot, it's also important to know that a majority of content on web is not worth your time. Many people use search engine tricks to attract traffic but have little value in it. If you skim through an article within seconds and decide not to read that is going to save you a lot of time for some really well researched content.
Step 10: Go Next Level: Write Vulnerability
Vulnerability of a program is the weakness of the program. It is a good approach to look for the vulnerability of an existing program and share the same with others. In this way you will have the option to collect varied opinions from different sources, enabling you to hone your current skill set.
The examples of computer vulnerabilities include memory safety violation, input validation error, privilege confusion bugs and user interface failure. For instance, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 11 had the vulnerability bug in its preview version which several hackers exploited.
Identifying a new weakness in any software is the real work any expert hackers would perform.
Step 11: Contribute To Open Source Security Projects
Contributing to an open-source computer security project is a great platform to test your skills. This is not everyone’s cup of tea. Many organizations like Mozilla and Apache offer these types of open source projects. Try to be a part of these projects and add a valuable contribution to the benefit of the community.
Participating in the open source security projects such as anti-spam, anti-virus, firewall and data removals help you augment your dexterity as a hacker. Contribute your vulnerability findings to the global vulnerability databases and give back to the community.
Remember that it does not matter if your contribution is small, as long as you participate and add value it helps.
Step 12: Continue Learning And Keep Listening To Security Talks
The key to success in the hacking career is continuous learning. Reading blogs for hacking available at sites such as hackerfactor blog and IKEA hacker blog; participating in the forums such as hackforums.net and elite hack are great ways to refresh your knowledge as a hacker. The online video forums like TED or TechTalk are good sources to know more about the emergent hacking techniques and technologies that are being deployed. You should also try following the posts of famous hackers such as Adrian Lamo, Kevin Mitnick, Kevin Poulsen and Robert Tappan Morris.