How to Hack
Hacking used to be a tool that government intelligence agencies utilized as a way of spying on other government agencies. Now many men and women from different walks of life and ages are learning the fundamentals of how to hack.
Learning How to Hack
Before venturing down the path of learning how to hack, it’s important to remember that becoming a hacker is not something that a person can become overnight. However, with time and a passion for looking at code, it is possible for an individual to hack like a professional.
This, in turn, could land you a job in security which covers a number of software issues ranging from exploit development to network defense.
Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast rule to learning how to hack. Instead, it will require a dedicated amount of reading on various programming languages as well as joining hacking community groups.
As the hackers in these groups will have been in your shoes at some point in their hacking careers, they will provide you with invaluable support and tips, giving you pointers on what you should and shouldn’t avoid.
Before starting, though, it may be a good idea to have some inkling as to where your interests may lie. Are you interested in detecting software vulnerabilities or maybe your interests lie in the security of applications? By knowing what you’re interested in beforehand will give you an idea of what area to focus on.
Of course, if you want to learn how to hack you will be required to delve into the world of coding programs. The key here, however, is to have an interest in the language of code. If you don’t, you’ll likely end up bored and will lack a fundamental understanding of how everything works, which is important as you develop your skills.
To give yourself the best start, try looking at programs such as Python, C++, or Perl where you can learn basic coding. You should also look at operating systems such as Windows and Unix, which will aid your development and understanding of coding.
It should be noted, of course, that simply learning a programming code is not going to be enough to deepen your knowledge.
If you want to graduate from the title of script kiddie, you will need to research a range of topics and subjects on hacking. Research the history of hacking, databases, online privacy and security, and the Metasploit framework, which will aid your growth to become a hacking specialist.
Next, you need to consider the type of operating system you are using and why. Just as you are learning the different programs involved with coding, you should also research into the different systems and tools that cybersecurity utilize. For example, consider looking at the open-source Linux build Kali, which is a provider of world-class information security training and penetration testing services.
Take a Course
Even though you may be reading and interacting with people through various hacking channels about how to get started, you may want to consider taking a course to cement the knowledge you have learned.
Udemy is a good place to start to better understand the fundamentals of hacking that delivers a step-by-step approach to simplified learning. Also, check out Hack this Site, which is a free, safe and legal training ground for hackers to test and expand on their hacking skills.
Stop, Look, and Listen
Understandably, as you acquire new hacking skills you will undoubtedly want to go and test them out in unchartered waters.
By mindful, however, that cybersecurity is a big issue and if you go digging around a network without the authority to do so, you may find yourself in trouble. You only have to remember the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment or the 2015 hacks of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which compromised 22.1 million people, to know that cyberattacks have become more sophisticated over the years.
Interestingly enough, a McAfee report, Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime, found that it costs the global economy between US$375 billion and $575 billion each year.
Think About Contributing
As your skills develop you may want to consider offering your skills for the greater good. People who relish a challenge and have a deep knowledge of programming, systems, and computers should consider joining GitHub.
This is a good place to network with other hackers, developers, and enthusiasts and is the perfect location to improve your skills while helping to improve code.
Learn How to Hack Websites
The good think about learning how to hack is the simple fact that there are safe websites where an interested individual can visit to develop their hacking skills. One site already mentioned is Hack this Site, but there are plenty more to discover too.
- Hacking Tutorial: Over at Hacking Tutorial a budding hacker can read short, technical articles that provide step-by-step instructions as to how to undertake a specific hack. While the blog may be small, you will find plenty of technical tricks to help you out.
- Hack a Day: This is another handy website to have bookmarked. What’s great about this website is the fact that it focuses on hardware, so it allows a hacker to learn how to hack electronic devices by modifying it. For those who want to learn how to hack other devices, you can learn how to construct the electronics for that too.
- EvilZone: Despite the fact that it might not be a website that sounds too attractive to consider, EvilZone is probably one of the biggest communities when it comes to hacking and security. As it is complete with people who have the knowledge and skills to answer any questions you have on hacking, it should definitely be one of the hacking websites you visit.
- Hack in the Box: In spite of its simple homepage, HITB remains focused on ethical hacking and security. For those interested in reading up on content related to hacking and security they will find a wealth of content-focused articles. As the website doesn’t provide many inclusive articles focusing on hacks, HITB is more of a site for hackers to get their daily hacking news. HITB is available in a print version too.
Types of Security Attacks
As your journey of learning how to hack continues, you will come across the different types of attacks that you should be aware of. These are:
- DoS: Denial of Service attacks. This is when a user or company has been denied access to a resource from a perpetrator using a single Internet connection.
- DDoS: Distributed Denial of Service attacks. This occurs when attacks take place from a number of devices that have been connected are dispersed across the Internet. These can be undertaken by a number of people and/or devices.
- Trojan Horse: This is a form of malware that presents itself as legitimate software. Once activated by an unsuspecting individual, cybercriminals or black hat hackers can steal valuable information and gain backdoor access to your computer.
- Virus: This type of attack is another form of malicious software when the virus attaches itself to a program before replicating itself when executed. It can also modify a computer’s systems when it passes through.
- Worm: A computer worm is a malware program that copies itself so that it can infect other computers.
- Logic Bomb: This form of attack is typically malicious and is a programming code that has been inserted deliberately so that it can be executed under certain circumstances, such as a date, trigger, time, or action.
You can view a more extensive list here.
Now that you learned the basics of hacking you need to decide why you are hacking in the first place. Hopefully, you will be hacking for ethical reasons; however, there will be others who hack for malicious reasons too.
Even though hackers, in general, tend to be tarnished with the same brush, it’s imperative that you appreciate that there are different groups of hackers.
What a newbie hacker should recognize is that the world of hacking is one of twists and turns; however, with the right attitude, dedication, and motivation, it can deliver a wealth of satisfaction through the challenge of solving problems for the greater good.
Images from Shutterstock.