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Gray Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Reverse Engineers 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
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ISBN-13: 978-1593271923
ISBN-10: 1593271921
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Justin Seitz is a Senior Security Researcher for Immunity, Inc., where he spends his time bug hunting, reverse engineering, writing exploits, and coding Python.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (May 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271921
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271923
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I was extremely disappointed in this book. I had been waiting almost a year for the book to be released and in that time had spent time looking at the different applications that were currently written in Python that could possible be included. With the time spent in writing this book and bringing it into publication the poor quality of the book does not compare to the higher standards that most No Starch Press books have achieved.

While there were a few merits in the book the majority of the book was a futile attempt to put outdated or useless information to paper. Many of my coworkers were very interested in the publication, but having read it and having spoken with my collegues that have read it we can all agree that it falls well short of anticipation.

The first five chapters were about Immunity Debugger. While reading them it seemed as if it were a sales pitch and then after reading that the author was employed by the same company that produces Immunity it was plainly obvious that he was influenced.

The author spent a chapter on hooking(6), DLL and code injection(7), fuzzing(8), Sulley(9), Fuzzing Windows Drivers(10), IDAPython(11), PyEMU(12) and obviously the Immunity Debugger chapters that were 1 through 5. But where was the rest? It was obviously lacking in many areas. There was very little mentioned on networks, packet reassembly or capture (pynids). No mention was made of Scapy, Pcapy, Impacket, Inguma, Volatility and so many more. Libraries that would be extremely helpful were never even brushed. IronPython, Win32, CryptoPy,

The examples given were poor to say the least. The author never mentioned which versions of python that the examples worked with and they were built using the older releases.
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Format: Paperback
I have to start off by saying that I've been looking forward to this book being published for months now. Since it initially popped up on the No Starch website I've been following it and nagging the publishers about it's release. I was fortunate enough to get a copy last Friday and I dove into it full force, even my final exam suffered because I was a little too focused on this book. I have mixed feelings about the book overall, there was definitely a few things I gained from it. On the other hand, there were many more things that could have been added. If you are new to Reverse Engineering then you will most likely obtain a leap of knowledge from the book. Packed with code examples on various open source tools and concepts to create your own, you'll be waste deep in python for a while. If you've been around for the last few years and have already checked out many of the open source tools discussed in the book you may only get a few things out of it.

Justin does a great job elaborating through the the code examples used throughout the book. The sheer scope of this book makes it difficult to cover everything but Justin definitely attempts to give you a taste for the more common scenarios you may find yourself in. Below I highlight a few chapters that I found interesting and useful. Overall the entire book is useful but a large portion covers open source tools that have a plethora of documentation and examples in existence.

Chapter 3 is just downright awesome. This chapter walks you through creating your own python based debugger that is similar to pydbg. Between the concepts and actual implementation you obtain a solid understanding of what is going on in a Windows based debugger.

Chapter 6 goes over Hooking in 5 pages.
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Format: Paperback
I've been eagerly awaiting the release of "Grey Hat Python" by Justin Seitz of Immunity. I think Python is a great language and it's used extensively in the security industry so I've been quite curious about the book. Overall, I'm happy with it. The book gives insight into some of the tips and tricks one of the best exploit development companies uses to quickly find and exploit bugs. I think most security professionals will find the book a useful addition to their shelves.

If the book has a fault, it's Justin's concise focus on using python as a tool to rapidly find and exploit bugs. As such the book is in a niche category. It doesn't really fulfill the subtitle "Python Programming for Hackers..." A more accurate subtitle might be "Python programming for expedited bug finding and exploitation". As such it lacks some things I would have expected from a more general book such as:

1. Using scapy or impacket for network tricks
2. Using python for phishing (this is a potential hot topic -- the Metasploit guys are working on a phishing addition for the framework so seeing something similar in python would be a plus).
3. Using python for generic security applications: web scraping, social network enumeration, gluing security tools, etc

All the above would have been nice additions to make the book more complete. As-is the book is very good, but you need to understand that it's not a general purpose python for hacking book. It is a great resource for debugging and automating dynamic analysis of executables.

Now for the super-hardcore exploit guys out there I would have liked to see more depth. I understand why the book didn't go into too much more detail -- the number of interested parties likely decreases exponentially.
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