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Hacking For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) [Paperback]

Kevin Beaver , Stuart McClure
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 30, 2004 076455784X 978-0764557842 1
While you’re reading this, a hacker could be prying and spying his way into your company’s IT systems, sabotaging your operations, stealing confidential information, shutting down your Web site, or wreaking havoc in other diabolical ways. Hackers For Dummies helps you hack into a hacker’s mindset and take security precautions to help you avoid a hack attack. It outlines computer hacker tricks and techniques you can use to assess the security of your own information systems, find security vulnerabilities, and fix them before malicious and criminal hackers can exploit them. It covers:
  • Hacking methodology and researching public information to see what a hacker can quickly learn about your operations
  • Social engineering (how hackers manipulate employees to gain information and access), physical security, and password vulnerabilities
  • Network infrastructure, including port scanners, SNMP scanning, banner grabbing, scanning, and wireless LAN vulnerabilities
  • Operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Novell NetWare
  • Application hacking, including malware (Trojan horses, viruses, worms, rootkits, logic bombs, and more), e-mail and instant messaging, and Web applications
  • Tests, tools (commercial, shareware, and freeware), and techniques that offer the most bang for your ethical hacking buck

With this guide you can develop and implement a comprehensive security assessment plan, get essential support from management, test your system for vulnerabilities, take countermeasures, and protect your network infrastructure. You discover how to beat hackers at their own game, with:

  • A hacking toolkit, including War dialing software, password cracking software, network scanning software, network vulnerability assessment software, a network analyzer, a Web application assessment tool, and more
  • All kinds of countermeasures and ways to plug security holes
  • A list of more than 100 security sites, tools, and resources

Ethical hacking helps you fight hacking with hacking, pinpoint security flaws within your systems, and implement countermeasures. Complete with tons of screen shots, step-by-step instructions for some countermeasures, and actual case studies from IT security professionals, this is an invaluable guide, whether you’re an Internet security professional, part of a penetration-testing team, or in charge of IT security for a large or small business.

Editorial Reviews


“…a good read…a price well-worth paying, because such works are invaluable…” (InfoSecurity News Magazine, August 2004)

“…an excellent aide…” (PC Home, August 2004)

“…should be of interest to both ethical and malicious hackers…” (Publishing News, 22nd March 2004)

From the Back Cover

Find out if your system is vulnerable to hack attacks!

"The coverage of security topics in this book can help you avoid a hack attack."
— Stuart McClure

"To catch a thief, think like a thief." Here’s the guide that will help you do just that! It shows you how to become a "white hat hacker," exploring your own system for vulnerabilities the unscrupulous hacker could exploit. And it’s loaded with tips, suggestions, and recommendations to help you plug any holes you find.

The Dummies Way

  • Explanations in plain English
  • "Get in, get out" information
  • Icons and other navigational aids
  • Tear-out cheat sheet
  • Top ten lists
  • A dash of humor and fun

Discover how to:

  • Recognize and counter common hack attacks
  • Gain support for your security plan
  • Test the security of Windows®, Linux®, NetWare®, and more
  • Report your finds to upper management
  • Protect your network infrastructure

Product Details

  • Series: For Dummies (Computer/Tech)
  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (April 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076455784X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764557842
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am an independent information security consultant, expert witness, author, and professional speaker with over 23 years of experience in IT - the last 17 of which I've dedicated to information security. Before starting Principle Logic in 2001, I served in various information technology and security roles for several healthcare, e-commerce, financial firms, educational institutions, and consulting organizations.

I have appeared on CNN television as an information security expert and have been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fortune Small Business, Women's Health and Inc. Magazine's technology site My work has also been referenced by the PCI Council in their Data Security Standard Wireless Guidelines. I have presented at seminars and conferences over 200 times and have been a top-rated information security speaker at shows for Gartner, TechTarget, RSA, CSI, SecureWorld Expo and The IIA. I focus my speaking services on information security seminars, panels and keynoting IT and information security-related shows. Additionally, I've performed over three dozen webcasts for TechTarget, Ziff-Davis and other publishers.

I am author/co-author of 10 information security books including Hacking For Dummies, Hacking Wireless Networks For Dummies, Securing the Mobile Enterprise For Dummies, and Laptop Encryption For Dummies (all by Wiley) as well as The Definitive Guide to Email Management and Security ( and The Practical Guide to HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance (Auerbach). In addition, I am technical editor of the book Network Security For Dummies (Wiley) as well as over a dozen books and whitepapers for

I have written 27 whitepapers and over 600 articles on information security. I am a regular contributor of information security content for,,, and Security Technology Executive magazine. I have also written articles for Information Security Magazine,, and In addition, I'm the creator and author of the Security On Wheels information security audio programs providing security learning for IT professionals on the go as well as its associated blog here at You can also view my videos on YouTube at, follow me on Twitter at and link to me on LinkedIn at

I earned my bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering Technology from Southern College of Technology and my master's degree in Management of Technology from Georgia Tech. I also hold the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification which I obtained in 2001.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Place to Get Started January 29, 2005
I used to wonder why anyone would want to break into my computer, there's not much there of any interest. Even I don't find it all that interesting. Then one day I was puzzled when my ISP asked why my machine was putting out millions of bytes of stuff to the point where it was bogging down their T1 line. I didn't know. We unpluged the machine from the network and it stopped sending. We plugged it back in and it wasn't sending. But the next day it was.

It wasn't until we got an e-mail telling us to stop sending out copyrighted movies that we realized what had happened. It wasn't anything in my computer they wanted, it was the bandwidth. Knowing what to look for it wasn't all that hard to stop. Google quickly provided links on this problem.

This book is aimed at people just like me. It gives an overall, if fairly light, view of the overall security problem. Like the other For Dummies books it has a writing style that doesn't (quite) put you to sleep. It has enough humor to enable you to get through it. It won't make you an expert, but it will point out the problem areas so that you can go deeper into those that are important to you. It's a good introduction.
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56 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to hacking for beginners September 3, 2004
The media often mistakenly characterize hackers as bored technical geniuses. In truth, most hackers, as the media use the term, are not geniuses; they are simply adept at downloading hacking tools that do all of the dirty work for them. These so-called script kiddies often do not know what they are doing until the damage is done.

From the perspective of the victimized company, however, it's not really important who is doing the attacking; all that matters is how organizations can protect themselves from myriad attacks and tools. Hacking for Dummies is written on the premise that to catch a hacker, you have to think and behave like one. This is a well-written and engrossing book that helps the reader understand how hackers compromise computer systems and networks. Its clear, easy-to-read style won't intimidate readers unfamiliar with abstruse security terms and concepts.

The 19 chapters progress from the basics of security to the hardening of an operating system and the hacking of Web applications. While the reader is not expected to have a deep technical background, the book does go into some detail, as it must to provide a hands-on approach. For a high-level theoretical approach to network defense, look elsewhere. This is a down-and-dirty tool for ensuring that the organization's systems and network are secure.
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95 of 117 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Limited January 5, 2005
Update (11/2008): My review below is based on the first (2004) edition. In a comment, the author calls the second, 2006 edition substantially different. So, I reviewed the 2006 edition table of contents, except, and index available on amazon. The excerpt and table of contents did not seem substantially different to me. The primary substantive change in the excerpt (Chapter 1) are the bits about the "rogue insider"; much of the writing is word-for-word identical to the 2004 edition. Maybe the other chapters are "substantially" reworked (the index suggests many changes) but the chapters' titles, order and lengths are not much different in the 2006 edition.

This book should be titled "penetration testing" with the subtitle "without any actual information on how to go about penetration testing, per se".

There are two schools of thought about disseminating detailed information on exploiting security vulnerabilities (that "it's a necessary evil" and "it's immoral"). So, the author is in good company to be in the later group.

Only, why then WRITE A BOOK entitled "Hacking"? The title seems close to fraudulent to me. Anyone hoping to find out how to crack from this book is going to be sorely disappointed. For example, while password cracking is passably well-covered, there isn't even a mention of how crackers get their hands on password files. The author spends only two paragraphs and a few bullets on rootkits--treating them like viruses or worms--despite the fact that they are critical cracker tools. There is a lot of discussion of portscanning without any discussion of how to penetrate the systems you've scanned.

So, you say, "Who cares about would-be criminals!?" Ok, but this book is not going to provide much real value to would-be white-hats either.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great easy-to-understand quick references July 9, 2006
This is a great, easy to read and use reference for both non-technical business leaders as well as IT professionals. It is also a great resource for home computer users, and small- to medium-sized businesses who often do not have the resources to hire dedicated security staff. The book covers the entire spectrum of ways in which computer systems can be compromised and attacked, an easy-to-understand description of how the exploits are executed, and, usually lacking in other reference books on this topic, step-by-step instructions for not only how to identify when the hacks occur, but also how to defend against them. Kevin Beaver also includes some very important warnings you need to keep in mind when performing your own vulnerability and hacking tests against your own network and systems to discover your own technical weaknesses.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Hacking is the wrong title
Helpful in acquiring an initial overview. Not exactly what I expected or wanted, but it is a guidepost for furthering the trip down the road to a deeper understanding.
Published 4 months ago by PS
3.0 out of 5 stars Hacking for Dummies
When the book came it was very musty smelling, like from a smoker. However, it was definitely what my son wanted and he was happy.
Published 23 months ago by grunlibelle
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference
I work in the developer and IT industry and purchased this book to get a mind set of the criminal mind when it comes to hacking. Read more
Published on December 13, 2009 by David Bradshaw
4.0 out of 5 stars hacking for dummies
Great book. Be very careful with the software links however. Many will damage your computer or network. Learn how to defend your computer without downloading hazardous programs. Read more
Published on April 27, 2009 by Steven Leroy
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind
I bought this book and i must say it was a very good investment. The book is totally understandable, detailed explanations together with screenshots, i would totally recommend this... Read more
Published on August 5, 2007 by Cody La Caille
This book is great for beginners, it talks about the ethical hacker and penetration tests. However it also gives out information that can be used for blackhat hacking. Read more
Published on July 5, 2006 by Nathan Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Real world information for Network Security
Hacking for Dummies sets a foundation for ethical hacking and should be used as more than the proverbial "how to". Read more
Published on June 27, 2006 by Swarthy Fizz
2.0 out of 5 stars Its a good book for people with no common sense at all
I think all the Dummies books are good specially for the people who are dummy in the field and dummy in life as well. Read more
Published on March 10, 2006 by Shazia Fahim
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for ALL LEVELS of Information Security Professionals
This book covers multiple domains of security. The best part of the book is that it not only shows the hacks, tools (freeware and commercial), and new methodologies for the more... Read more
Published on March 6, 2006 by H Bennett
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
it's a good book for have an overwiev in security and,of course, hacking but I don't like almost half of the book spent only for generic and common stories... Read more
Published on August 23, 2005 by Andrea Ranalli
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