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Best penetration testing books for hackers in 2022

Penetration testing is not yet a mature field like software development or network configuration. Just ten years ago, finding structured information about how you can perform penetration testing was really difficult. Fortunately, in the last few years, a good number of penetration testing books were created by the community which made accessing this field easier.

After you have set up your infrastructure and applications are happily running on top of it, there is one more step you should consider doing before the applications are published to the outside world with some level of confidence. This crucial step involves checking how secure whatever you are exposing to the public is.

The first step in achieving a secure environment is by employing the best security policies and practices while setting up the infrastructure and programming your applications. To crown it all, a severe organization should consider employing ethical hackers so that they can give their best to uncover all vulnerabilities that were previously missed during development.

What will be done by the employed security professionals is what is known as penetration testing. It is simply a simulated cyber attack against your systems and applications to unearth any exploitable vulnerabilities such as unsanitized inputs that are susceptible to code injection attacks.

There is a surging interest around the globe in hacking and the security profession. To serve this interest, there are a number of books that professionals in the field have written in order to help beginners as well as serve as a helpful reference for those ethically hacking their way into business systems. Below are some of the best you can consider buying to deepen your skills and your proficiency.

Are you interested in learning Ethical Hacking skills and looking for some excellent book that will help you skyrocket your hacking expertise? Then you have come to the right place. 

1. The Hacker Playbook 3: Practical Guide To Penetration Testing

With a combination of new strategies, attacks, exploits, tips, and tricks, you will be able to put yourself in the centre of the action toward victory. Written by Peter Kim, a longtime security professional and CEO of Secure Planet, LLC, this step-by-step guide to the “game” of penetration hacking features hands-on examples and helpful advice from the top of the field. The author focuses on real-world campaigns and attacks, exposing you to different initial entry points, exploitation, custom malware, persistence, and lateral movement–all without getting caught! This heavily lab-based book will include multiple Virtual Machines, testing environments, and custom The Hacker Playbook tools.

The main purpose of this book is to answer questions as to why things are still broken. For instance, with all the different security products, secure code reviews, defence in depth, and penetration testing requirements, how are we still seeing massive security breaches happening to major corporations and governments? The real question we need to ask ourselves is, are all the safeguards we are putting in place working? This is what The Hacker Playbook 3 – Red Team Edition is all about.

Once you are ready, wipe off the dust, buckle up and steer into the deeper world of Penetration Testing.

2. Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking

In Penetration Testing, security expert, researcher, and trainer Georgia Weidman introduces you to the core skills and techniques that every pentester needs. Using a virtual machine–based lab that includes Kali Linux and vulnerable operating systems, you’ll run through a series of practical lessons with tools like Wireshark, and Burp Suite. As you follow along with the labs and launch attacks, you’ll experience the key stages of an actual assessment—including information gathering, finding exploitable vulnerabilities, gaining access to systems, post-exploitation, and more

What you will take away

  • Cracking of passwords and wireless network keys with brute-forcing and word-lists
  • Testing web applications for vulnerabilities
  • Using the Metasploit Framework to launch exploits and write your own Metasploit modules
  • Automating social-engineering attacks
  • Bypassing antivirus software
  • Turning access to one machine into total control of the enterprise in the post-exploitation phase

If you are an aspiring ethical hacker, a modest consumption and practice of what this resource shares will create a strong foundation as you forge forward in your career.

3. Red Team Field Manual

The Red Team Field Manual is a no-fluff, but thorough reference guide for serious Red Team members who routinely find themselves on a mission without Google or the time to scan through a man page. The RTFM contains the basic syntax for commonly used Linux and Windows command line tools. Still, it also encapsulates unique use cases for powerful tools such as Python and Windows PowerShell. The RTFM will repeatedly save you time looking up the hard-to-remember Windows nuances such as Windows wmic and dsquery command line tools, key registry values, scheduled tasks syntax, startup locations, and Windows scripting. More importantly, it should teach you some new red team techniques.

4. Hacking: The Art of Exploitation

Hacking: The Art of Exploitation is a book written by Jon Erickson. In this book, you will learn the fundamentals of C programming from a hacker’s perspective. You will also know hacking techniques like overflowing buffers, and hijacking network communications. You will also learn about bypassing protections, exploiting, etc. The book will give a complete picture of programming, network communications, etc.

5. The Hacker Playbook 2: Practical Guide to Penetration Testing

The Hacker Playbook provides them with their game plans. Written by Peter Kim. This ethical hacking book is a step-by-step guide that teaches you plenty of hacking features. It also offers hands-on examples and helpful advice from the top of the field.

This book includes the latest attacks, tools, and lessons learned. This certified ethical hacking guide further outlines building a lab. The book walks through test cases for attacks and provides more customized code.

6. Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started with Networking, Scripting, and Security in Kali

There is no way you will be a good penetration tester or ethical hacker without knowing how stuff in the fieldwork. For the beginner, sound knowledge and skills in Linux is key in this interesting journey and career. Therefore, using Kali Linux in this book, an advanced penetration testing distribution of Linux, you’ll learn the basics of using the Linux operating system and acquire the tools and techniques you’ll need to take control of a Linux environment.

Get to learn how to install Kali on a virtual machine and get an introduction to basic Linux concepts which is a fundamental component in the whole security picture. After that, you will tackle broader Linux topics like manipulating text, controlling file and directory permissions, and managing user environment variables. Once you are good with that, you will proceed to foundational hacking concepts like security and anonymity and learn scripting skills with bash and Python.

7. CEH v10 Certified Ethical Hacker Study Guide 1st Edition

Borrowing some knowledge from Ethical Hacker certification books is a good idea to broaden your scope of knowledge and sharpen your security acumen. You know that it takes effort, grit, determination, and time to have the qualities and skills that will set you apart from the crowd. The CEH v10 Certified Ethical Hacker Study Guide by Ric Messier offers a comprehensive overview of the CEH certification requirements using concise and easy-to-follow instruction. Chapters are organized by exam objective, with a handy section that maps each objective to its corresponding chapter, so you can keep track of your progress.

The text provides thorough coverage of all topics, along with challenging chapter review questions and Exam Essentials, a key feature that identifies critical study areas. Subjects include intrusion detection, DDoS attacks, buffer overflows, virus creation, and more. Armed with practical hands-on exercises, this resource makes sure vital skills are reinforced and examples of real-world scenarios that put what you’ve learned into the context of actual job roles.
This guide is an excellent resource for anyone who needs to understand the hacking process or anyone who wants to demonstrate their skills as a Certified Ethical Hacker.

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