One of the best things about computers is how dynamic they are. There is so much information about computers and it changes constantly. As a hacker, you are at the leading edge of changes to technology. This makes it a very exciting and interesting field of study and can even lead to some awesome job opportunities as a computer security expert. Hacking School explains what it means to be a hacker and teaches practical techniques for becoming a hacker.
Hackers are often misrepresented as “evildoers” bent on stealing money and personal information from individuals and businesses. Although there are quite a few computer criminals around the world, most hackers are simply people who love learning about computers. Typically, these two groups are categorized as White Hat Hackers and Black Hat Hackers.
White Hat Hackers are benevolent security experts that do not seek profits from illegal network access. This has actually become quite a big business in itself as most major technology companies such as Google and Microsoft have started to offer bounties for security vulnerabilities that are discovered by White Hat Hackers. White Hat Hacking and Penetration Testing teaches you how to become an ethical hacker.
Black Hack Hackers are the people who use their knowledge of computers for illegal or unethical purposes. These are the people who create viruses and Trojans with the intent of stealing personal information from unsuspecting computer users. Although the media and Hollywood often portray this activity in a positive light, illegal hacking activities will usually land you in jail. It also brings a bad name to many real hackers who do not participate in these illicit activities.
The point – use your computer knowledge to promote learning and security; not to be a thief or criminal.
By “thinking outside the box,” hackers are able to solve problems and accomplish mundane tasks more efficiently by leveraging their knowledge of computer systems.
Many people who consider themselves hackers have gone on to fame and fortune because they refused to accept the status quo. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is a perfect example of how a hacker can turn their love of knowledge into a profitable business.
As you learn to become a hacker, you will undoubtedly acquire skills that can help you break into the IT field. You will also learn skills that help you outside of the computer world. Problem solving and logical thinking can be applied to almost anything you do in life and are certainly an enormous part of becoming a successful hacker.
The single best thing you can do to become a hacker is learn to program. Programming is what just about all hacking techniques are based on. After all, computers run on programs that you want to exploit or modify for your own purposes. Programming for Non-Programmers is a crash course in the logic used for all computer programming languages.
Choosing a programming language can be difficult because there are so many choices available; however, there are a few that are commonly used and these represent an excellent starting place.
If you have absolutely no programming experience, Python is a good place to begin. It is a relatively forgiving programming language that is powerful enough to create standalone desktop applications and can be used as a scripting language for web-based programs.
There are literally thousands of resources available online to learn Python. Once you have mastered the basics of Python, you are ready to move on to other programming languages.
Java is a popular programming language used extensively on the Internet because of its cross-platform support. Everything from games to standalone desktop applications can be created using Java. There is an enormous Java development community responsible for creating and updating open source IDEs such as Eclipse and NetBeans.
Although slightly more difficult to master, programming in C and C++ is something every hacker should know how to do. Most operating systems including Windows are created using C++. If you want to exploit the full potential of your operating system, C++ is definitely the way to go.
Another useful skill is hacking websites and other network resources. Although many hackers tend to specialize in one specific area of computer science, understanding how computers communicate across networks and provide information to visitors via websites is an essential part of becoming a real hacker.
There are tons of ways to hack websites depending on the hosting server and technology used on the site (such as ASP.net, PHP, etc.). There are actually multiple websites available on the Internet that are designed to be hacked. These sites teach you everything from SQL injection to XSS attacks.
Learning Computer Networking is almost as important as learning to program.
In addition to understanding how to breach a website, you should also spend some time learning UNIX and Linux. The majority of Web servers around the world are operated from one of these two OSs and you will be well served by becoming intimately familiar with the inner workings of the Apache Web Server (Linux-based).
A good way to become familiar with Linux is to download and use it at home. Many hackers do not use Windows because of known security flaws inherent to the OS. If you have no Linux experience, consider downloading Ubuntu. This is a free, open-source Linux OS that shares many similarities with the familiar Windows UI; allowing even inexperienced users to grasp basic concepts quickly.
Hacking is a skill that you can never truly master. As you become well-versed in various programming languages and the Internet, you will join the ranks of the hacking community; however, your work as a hacker is never done. There are always new techniques, tips, and tricks to learn along the way.
This makes hacking a fun and interesting experience – something you can carry with you throughout your lifetime. It may seem exciting to crack a website or server somewhere, but always keep in mind the legal repercussions of your actions. The last thing the hacking community needs is another wannabe cracker creating bad press for the legitimate hacking community and computer security experts everywhere.
On a positive note, your skills as a hacker translate very well into the computer security profession. The skills you learn as you hone your hacking prowess are in high demand by companies around the world as they look for new ways to protect their equipment and information from Black Hat Hackers.
Most importantly, enjoy the experience. Have fun learning and applying new techniques and you will find yourself among the hacking elite in no time.