The Ultimate Guide to Hacking for Beginners | Learn Basics of Hacking

Updated July 4, 2024 by David Brooke

Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to learn hacking for beginners.

Are you tired of reading about ethical hacking without really knowing what it means? Let's change that!

This guide is for absolute beginners who:

  • Have no experience with cybersecurity (hacking)
  • Have limited experience
  • Feel they can't catch a break

“I've had my good share of Hats. Black, white, or sometimes a blackish shade of grey. The darker it is, the more fun you have.” – MakMan

Understanding Cybersecurity

A career in cybersecurity is akin to a career in banking. It's an umbrella term that incorporates various niches within the industry, such as:

  • Digital forensics
  • Malware/software detection
  • Auditing
  • Penetration testing (pentesting)
  • Social engineering
  • And more

Each of these fields deserves its own blog post, but let's focus on the most important general requirements to embark on a successful career in IT security.

What is Hacking?

Hacking is identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities in a system and gaining access using those weaknesses.

There are two main types of hackers:

  • Ethical Hackers (White Hat): Obtain official permission to assess the security posture of a target system.
  • Black-Hat Hackers: Gain unauthorized access to systems for malicious purposes.

Other hacker terminologies include:

  • Grey Hat: A mix of the two above, gets unauthorized access but also reveals the weakness to the company.
  • Script Kiddie: Uses pre-made tools without technical skills.
  • Hacktivist: Hacks for ideological reasons and leaves a message.

Top Courses to Learn Hacking (2024)

Introduction to Cybersecurity Tools & Cyber Attacks From IBM

  • Offered by: IBM
  • Features: Free trial, courses with diplomas available
  • Skills Gained: Information Security (INFOSEC), IBM New Collar, Malware, Cybersecurity, Cyber Attacks

Network Hacking Diploma Level 3 Online Course

  • Offered by: John Academy
  • Certificate Available: Yes
  • Features: In-depth network hacking, self-paced learning
  • Ideal For: Those with some knowledge or no programming experience but a drive to learn professional skills.

Computer Security and Networks – Coursera [FREE]

  • Offered by: University of Maryland
  • Instructor: Michael Hicks, Professor
  • Skills Gained: Fuzz Testing, Buffer Overflow, SQL Injection, Penetration Testing

Skills Required

To excel in hacking, one must be:

  1. Willing to Learn Continuously: Hacking is a rapidly evolving field.
  2. Strong in Coding/Scripting: A foundational understanding of at least one coding language.
  3. Knowledgeable in Network and Web Security: Essential for identifying vulnerabilities.

Steps to Learn Hacking

  1. Take a Course: Start with something like the Network Hacking Diploma Level 3 Online Course.
  2. Learn to Code/Program: Essential languages include HTML, PHP, and JavaScript.
  3. Understand Basic Concepts of OS: Knowledge of operating systems is crucial.
  4. Learn Networking and Security Basics: Familiarize yourself with network ports, firewalls, and protocols like IP addresses, HTTP, FTP, DNS, and SMTP.
  5. Explore Alternate Operating Systems: Linux is a good start.

Recommended Resources

Here are some resources to help you get started:

Books for Beginners

  1. Hacking Secrets Exposed: Great for fundamental concepts and does not require prior knowledge.
  2. Hacking for Beginners: Your Guide to Learning the Basics of Hacking: Understand how hackers think and operate.
  3. Hacking for Beginners' Guide on How to Hack: Learn fundamental techniques and how to protect yourself.

Mastering Hacking

Hacking can't be mastered overnight. It requires knowledge, skills, creativity, dedication, and time. Don’t focus on how long it takes, but rather trust the progress and keep learning.

Final Thoughts

To become a hacker, you need:

  • Passion for learning
  • Perseverance
  • Good resource knowledge
  • Hard and dedicated work

Remember, the journey is continuous. The more you learn, the better you'll become at identifying and exploiting system vulnerabilities.

For further reading and up-to-date resources, regularly visit HackerOne Public Bug Reports.

Additionally, check out our article on What Should I Do When My Information Is Involved in a Breach? to understand how to protect your data.

By David Brooke, updated July 4, 2024