If you are looking for a useful list of the best ethical hacking books, then you have come to the right place. Ethical hacking is a vast field with an array of diverse specializations. Ethical hackers assess the security of an organization’s entire network environment. There are many books available for those that want to learn how to hack into a specific type of target or conduct specialized activities (such as cryptanalysis or reverse engineering).
This list concentrates on a few of the best books for ethical hacking. Preference was granted to books offering a strong description of ethical hacking or concentrating on specific targets (like web applications or penetration testing).
The Hacker Playbook 2: Practical Guide to Penetration Testing
“The Hacker Playbook 2: Practical Guide to Penetration Testing” is written by Peter Kim and published by Safe Planet LLC. This ethical hacking book draws observations from a soccer game. The text provides a step-by-step method of interacting with different penetration testing principles. These principles include social engineering, intelligence collection, antivirus software evasion, vulnerabilities detection, and more. The book is appropriate for penetration testers and I.T. Security specialists.
The book is a perfect blend of useful tips and practical examples. Kim uses soccer-style “plays” to clarify some of the obstacles people face in penetration testing. This obstacles include targeting various networks, pivoting through security controls, and evading antivirus software.
The second edition of The Hacker Playbook keeps all the best information from the first edition. In addition, the second edition includes new tools, exploits, and learned lessons.
Hacking: The Art of Exploitation
“Hacking: The Art of Exploitation by Jon Erickson” is one of the most useful hacking books available for beginners. It includes everything from computer architecture to programming in conjunction with network communications. The book also discusses new hacking technologies. Erickson also explains how black hat hacking tactics work rather than simply showing readers how to execute existing exploits.
He shares how hacking is accessible to everyone by incorporating C programming fundamentals from a hacker’s perspective. The text also contains several sample code examples providing readers with opportunity for hands on learning.
The book also comes with a CD that provides a full Linux programming and debugging environment for readers. You can use the CD to debug code, attack network communications, overflow buffers, bypass defenses, and build your own exploits.
Advanced books on ethical hacking tend to dive deeply into a specific topic. Reading this book will teach you the necessary skills required to take full advantage of the more advanced books.
The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook: Discovering and Exploiting Security Flaws
Dafydd Stuttard and Marcus Pinto’s “The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook” is a great book to learn about web application hacking. Since most organizations use web applications, the chances of exposed personal information and fraudulent transactions are high. This book discusses new strategies to attack and defend the broad range of ever-evolving web applications.
This book includes the very principles that a web application penetration tester needs to learn in detail. The reader will learn how the HTTP protocol functions to understand communications between a web server and a visitor.
The book teaches you how to find the prevalent as well as uncommon security vulnerabilities in today’s web apps. The book also demonstrates how to use specific examples and code extracts to exploit them.
Indeed, this book is the web app hacking bible for those who want to learn how to hack web applications.
Gray Hat Hacking: The Ethical Hacker’s Handbook
Daniel Regalado and his colleagues wrote Gray Hat Hacking: The Ethical Hacker’s Handbook. The book offers proven techniques used by security professionals to help readers protect their network and mitigate digital catastrophe. The book details the skills and tactics used by hackers while offering field-tested solutions, case studies, and ready-to-use testing labs.
This book teaches readers how to gain entry, overtake network equipment, write and inject malicious code, and exploit Web apps. Equally important, the book includes android-based vulnerabilities, reverse engineering methods, and cyber law. Indeed, these methods should be learned by any experienced ethical hacker.
Hacking: Computer Hacking, Security Testing, Penetration Testing, and Basic Security
Level: Beginners and Advanced
Gary Hall and Erin Watson wrote “Hacking” to teach readers how to use hacking as a defense tool. Readers need to know how to hack in order to protect themselves from being hacked. Also, this book discusses the various types of hackers and the future of hacking.
Hall helps readers understand the advanced hacking methods that can be used to hack. Truly, the book is ideal for both beginners and experts. It uses simple terminology without removing any complicated hacking specifics that are crucial.
Read this book if you want to learn how to hack and defend your devices.
Hacking Exposed 7: Network Security Secrets and Solutions
Stuart McClure, Joel Scambray, and George Kurtz wrote “Hacking Exposed 7”. The book will demonstrate to you how to improve the security of your system to help you combat cyber-criminals’ tools and tactics. Case studies revealing the latest devious techniques used by hackers, as well as field-tested solutions and expert guidance from the world-renowned Hacking Exposed team, are included in the book.
“Hacking Exposed” is meant to provide cyber defenders with the hacker’s viewpoint. As a result, it offers a walkthrough of different methods of attack and demonstrates how to protect against SQL injection and other standard techniques of attack.
“Hacking Exposed” offers a broader overview of hacking strategies than the other books on this list. Furthermore, the book addresses common ethical hacking targets (Windows/Linux computers, web apps, etc.). Equally important, the literature discusses hacking infrastructure and preventive measures to defend against these attacks.
Computer Hacking Beginners Guide: How to Hack Wireless Network, Basic Security and Penetration Testing, Kali Linux, Your First Hack
Alan T. Norman is the author of The “Computer Hacking Beginners Guide.” This is the ideal book for those who are starting in ethical hacking. Readers will learn everything they need to know about the discreet world of computer hacking.
Readers will learn how hacking works to defend themselves from common hacking attacks. Furthermore, they’ll learn how to hack and execute counter-hacks to remain a step ahead of cyber attackers.
Norman focuses on methods and tools that are used by both ethical and malicious attackers. These tools and strategies can provide readers with an understanding of how data security can be breached. Also, readers will learn how to detect a system attack and mitigate the harm caused by a system attack. Furthermore, the reader will learn how to stop an attack that is already underway.
The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing
“The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing” is published by Syngress and written by Patrick Engebretson. This ethical hacking book teaches how to use modern hacking techniques, such as Backtrack Linux, Metasploit, Netcat, Netbus, to execute penetration testing.
This book offers the steps you need to conduct a penetration test or an ethical hacking from start to end without any prior hacking experience. Readers can also develop a deeper understanding of offensive security by reading the book. The skills could benefit someone who has a career as a pentester.
It teaches the methodological approach to penetration testing and discusses each step at a time. In each step, you learn about the various concepts, tools, and techniques used in real-life tasks by any penetration tester.
There are seven chapters in this book describing main concepts, such as penetration testing, malware, scanning, exploitation, and more. This book uses the Backtrack Linux distribution system, which offers a modern way to learn ethical hacking. This book’s organized layout easily makes it one of the best ethical hacking books in the market.
Metasploit: The Penetration Tester’s Guide
Level: Beginners and Advanced
Metasploit is a framework for detecting and exploiting vulnerabilities of penetration testers. ‘Metasploit: The Penetration Tester’s Guide’ is a beginner’s book that helps readers understand the framework in detail.
The book covers “the essential methods and tools” of penetration testing. Readers who are new to the field will gain valuable information on how to begin. They will also learn why these steps are necessary and what they mean in the broader picture.
This book teaches readers the fundamentals of Metasploit and how to use the framework to the full. The purpose of the book is to provide the beginner with a useful tutorial and a reference for practitioners. Also, readers will learn how to start simulated attacks.
Equally important, this book includes modern techniques for penetration testing, network identification, writing post-exploitation scripts, and their integration with Nmap and Nessus.
Advanced Penetration Testing: Hacking the World’s Most Secure Networks
This ethical hacking book written by Will Allsopp will satisfy anyone who wishes to experiment with penetration testing. As a result. it has gained tremendous popularity in recent years in the pen testing domain.
Beyond the standard Kali Linux tools, you can learn about the function of advanced tools and how to write your custom tools from scratch. After reading this book, you will have an extra advantage over someone who only know the basics of ethical hacking.
In addition to pen testing, this book covers social engineering, highly protected networks, malware, the design and setup of C2 servers and C&C systems, and even advanced data exfiltration techniques. The author also discusses complex attack simulation and Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) modeling strategies, which go way beyond using vulnerability scanners and Metasploit. The level of detail this book goes into definitely makes it one of the best ethical hacking books.
Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking
“Hands-On Introduction to Pen-Testing” is a beginner-friendly book that allows you to learn all the basics of penetration testing. The book is written by Georgia Weidman.
It lets you create a virtual lab to run through different scenarios using Kali Linux & other machines. The book also includes some of the most powerful and widely used tools, such as NMap, BurpSuite, WireShark, etc.
You will also know about forcing and wordlists, vulnerability testing of web applications, social engineering attack automation, antivirus software bypass. You will learn how hackers can take total control of a company by having access to just one device.
The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware
The Hardware Hacker is an inspiring book written by a globally renowned hacker, Andrew “Bunnie” Huang. Huang shares his thoughts in manufacturing and open hardware, creating an insightful and convincing career retrospective.
In this book, the author takes you through the specifics of hardware development. The book includes a series of personal essays detailing his visits to Shenzhen’s electronics markets. The book also includes interviews on subjects like reverse engineering. With detailed passages on the details of manufacturing and open source hardware, The Hardware Hacker is indeed an essential resource for ambitious hackers and developers.
Ethical hacking is a fast-moving domain. In order to keep up with the latest exploits and threat actors; it is important to always keep learning. The best way to keep up with recent advances is by reading cybersecurity reports, joining talks, and digging into CVEs.
Indeed, ethical hacking requires knowledge of complex techniques and skills. Reading these best ethical hacking books is an excellent way to get an understanding of ethical hacking.