Learning how to hack can be a rewarding and challenging experience. It requires a lot of hard work and strong problem-solving skills, but it is also really fun. There are so many programming languages and operating systems available that you just can’t jump in with both feet. You need a plan. Here are few tips that can help you get started.
1. Learn Programming
Programming is a fundamental hacking skill. Each programming language is a tool designed for a specific purpose. Understanding a language is more than just learning the syntax. It is knowing how to use the language to solve problems. There are five languages that every programmer should know and a specific order you should learn them in.
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- Python is a scripting language and very easy to learn. It is recommended that beginners start with Python. It is a well-structured Object Oriented language that will teach you the fundamentals of programming along with a useful language.
- C/C++ is the programming language that all operating systems are developed in. Everyone that is serious about hacking needs to learn how to interact with the core elements of their operating system. C/C++ is the only low-level Object Oriented language programmers have accepted for system development.
- Java is a complex system language for advanced game and function development. It is does not interact with the core of the operating system itself but provides a run-time layer for interoperable programming. Due to its interoperability, Java will become more important as technology becomes more mobile.
- Perl is the standard programming language for system administration. System administration is different than system development and requires a different set of tools. Perl allows system administrators to create system tools and manipulate system modules without having to re-program code at the operating system level.
- LISP is an older language that is no longer actively used for development. However, it is the learning tool of choice for advanced programmers. While you many never use LISP in a project, learning it will teach you advanced develop concepts that can be applied to other programming languages.
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2. Learn Open Source Unix
Once you know how to program, learn how to use an open source Unix operating system. Get one of the Linux or BSD operating systems and learn how to use it. Microsoft Windows and Apple’s OSX might be great desktop operating systems for end users but they are poor development tools for programmers. They do not allow programmers to dig into the guts of the operating system like open source Unix systems do.
Unix is also the operating system of the Internet. Every major network, server, and node that make up the Internet run on Unix or a Unix-like operating system. Learning Windows or OSX will not help you become a hacker and will not help you interact with the Internet. You need a Unix or Unix-like system. A great free Unix-like system is the Linux distribution called Ubuntu. It is designed for beginners and will help you learn the skills need to advance to more advanced systems.